Indoor sports for youth aged 18 and below suspended; outdoor 1-1 activity can go on: SportSG

The latest ruling has been introduced to "safeguard the well-being of children and youth", said SportSG.
The latest ruling has been introduced to "safeguard the well-being of children and youth", said SportSG.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE – All indoor sports and physical activity classes and programmes for youth aged 18 and below will be suspended and moved online from Wednesday (May 19) to June 13 as part of heightened measures amid a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases in the community, Sport Singapore (SportSG) announced on Tuesday (May 18).

All outdoor sports and physical activity will be limited to one coach and one student, while those in this age group can continue exercising in groups of two.

The national agency’s latest ruling has been introduced to “safeguard the well-being of children and youth” after a number of schoolchildren tested positive for the coronavirus.

Over the past few days, the Ministry of Education has announced several measures, including compulsory home-based learning from today until May 28 for all primary, secondary and junior college students, as well as those from Millennia Institute and special education schools.

But prior to Tuesday’s announcement, some sports academies and facilities had decided to halt their programmes after stricter measures for Phase 2 (heightened alert) were announced last Friday.

Optimum Badminton Academy owner Jeron Wong felt it was the best option given the dynamic nature of the Covid-19 situation.

The 32-year-old shifted all training sessions online using pre-recorded videos and live coaching over video conferencing platforms.

He said: “It’s a disastrous thing for academies like us because everything is face-to-face. But you never know in a couple of days, there may be tightening of measures.”

Academy student Krishen Sathis Kumar, seven, will be participating in the e-learning sessions to stay active during this period.

But the Alexandra Primary School pupil said: “I’ll miss playing badminton and my friends too.”

Bubbles Gymnastics, which caters for children and youth aged one to 13, closed its indoor gym at the Turf Club on Monday. 

Acknowledging it was a big loss, gymnastics coach Foo Seck Ying, 40, said: “We look at the number of cases and it involves a lot children from different schools. We’ve got kids from many different schools and we don’t want them to intermingle and we don’t want to form a cluster.”

While other facilities like New Century Table Tennis Academy at Katong Shopping Centre are staying open, it is expecting revenue to be badly impacted.

About 80 per cent of their revenue comes from training programmes for children and the earlier measures had impacted business as their adult customers found it hard to play with their masks on. 

Owner and head coach Zhu Mu, 37, said: “We are hoping that it’s something similar to last year where we can stop all these children’s lesson for safety but at the same time, we’re still hoping that rental relief will be given so that even without profits, the loss won’t be so great.”