Choice of sports SportSG supports baffling

The iconic Kallang Theatre and its adjoining areas will be redeveloped into an integrated sport, entertainment and lifestyle centre.
The iconic Kallang Theatre and its adjoining areas will be redeveloped into an integrated sport, entertainment and lifestyle centre.PHOTO: SPORT SINGAPORE

Sport Singapore's (SportSG) Kallang Alive project aims to revitalise the area, but the organisation appears to show a preference for certain sports over others (Plan to transform Kallang into vibrant precinct by 2025, Aug 7).

Cyclists have been rewarded for their 2017 SEA Games medals with plans for a new velodrome.

There will be a football hub, even though the sport already has plenty of facilities in Singapore. There is also no shortage of running and walking tracks.

It seems puzzling to include e-sport in the plans - sitting at computers is hardly "active", nor does it improve cardiovascular health.

Meanwhile, squash, archery and cricket athletes, who have won medals for Singapore, have not been rewarded with improved facilities in the new Kallang development plans.

The squash centre is one of the most "alive" parts of Kallang today. Junior players are often seen training hard alongside senior athletes. It is hard to find an unused squash court there.

The sport is growing globally, with a 32.6 per cent increase in participation in the United States alone in the last three years. Singapore squash players marvel at great facilities in New York, Chicago, London, Doha, Shanghai and Hong Kong but despair when they look at the crumbling facilities in Singapore.

It seems puzzling to include e-sport in the plans - sitting at computers is hardly "active", nor does it improve cardiovascular health. Meanwhile, squash, archery and cricket athletes, who have won medals for Singapore, have not been rewarded with improved facilities in the new Kallang development plans.

SEA Games 2017 gold medallist Pang Ka Hoe has publicly noted "the lack of facilities" in Singapore, while his teammate, Vivian Rhamanan, has been hoping for "more financial support", neither of which have appeared.

Singapore is clearly not short of funds - it spent $1.33 billion to build the Singapore Sports Hub, comprising the National Stadium, Singapore Indoor Stadium and OCBC Aquatic Centre.

Why aren't all successful Singapore athletes being rewarded with international standard facilities they can be proud of?

A new squash facility in Kallang is very overdue.

If SportSG does not recognise and reward the successes of all athletes, it should not be surprised when they question why they should strive to win medals for Singapore.

Ashley Nicholas

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2019, with the headline 'Choice of sports SportSG supports baffling'. Print Edition | Subscribe