SINGAPORE - Beach volleyball and cycling have been added to this year's Singapore Youth Olympic Festival (SYOF) for the first time.
The annual multi-sport festival will take place from June 30-August 13, and now boasts a 12-sport line up for participants aged 18 and below to participate in.
Chairman of the Singapore Olympic Foundation Ng Ser Miang said: "The two NSAs (national sports associations) involved (beach volleyball and cycling) are very enthusiastic to promote these events and we are happy to support them in their efforts.
"The increase in participation in recent editions has been very encouraging too, we hope this is a sign of continuing interest in sports among the youth in Singapore."
With the inclusion of cycling in this edition of the SYOF, St Patrick's School student Shawn Mun was enticed to take part in his first competition. The 14-year-old will be participating in the mountain bike category.
He said: "I started to cycle more often two years ago when my parents bought me a mountain bike.
"I cycle with my friends to many places that I have not explored before, like on the park connector network, Gardens by the Bay and Sentosa. I hope the mileage I have clocked will help prepare me for the competition.
"I hope to learn more about cycling, make new friends and get to know the cycling community at the Singapore Youth Olympic Festival."
At the opening ceremony held on Friday (June 30) at the OCBC Arena, the fencing competition was underway, where 14-year-old Denyse Chan said: "The competition pushes me to work harder to qualify for the 2018 World and Asian championships."
The Raffles Girls' School student, who is competing in the foil category added: "Perhaps with a little luck and more hard work, even qualify for the Youth Olympic Games. Like any athlete, my biggest dream would be to fence at the Olympics. But really, I just want to be able to represent Singapore proudly and have fun while fencing."
The SYOF debuted in 2011 after Singapore hosted the inaugural 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Last year, the event attracted a record high of 2,809 participants across the different sports. With registration for this year's SYOF still open, organisers are expecting a turnout similar to last year's.
Interested participants can still register for all sports except fencing, sailing, shooting, table tennis and taekwondo via the SYOF website at www.syof.sg. Entry fees vary from sport to sport.