Disability sports: Certis donates $30k to boost participation, support goalball team

(From left) Mr Tan Toi Chia, Certis Chief Corporate and Human Resources Officer, Mr Paul Chong, Certis President & Group CEO, Mr Teo-Koh Sock Miang, President of the Singapore Disability Sports Council, Ms Christina Aw, national goalball athlete, and Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth. At Sports Hub Auditorium on Feb 23, 2022. ST PHOTO: SAMUEL ANG

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Disability Sports Council's (SDSC) bid to get more persons with disabilities (PWDs) to play sport and lead active lifestyles received a boost on Wednesday (Feb 23) with a $30,000 donation from Certis.

Funds from the security firm will be used to start a programme, Dare to Dream, to get PWDs involved in sport and it will also support the national women's goalball team as they prepare for the July 23-30 Asean Para Games in Indonesia.

Goalball is a sport for the visually impaired and is played in teams of three, with points scored by rolling a ball into the opponent's net.

Certis and SDSC will work on a component of the programme called the Certis Superheroes Challenge - the company's employees will be trained as para sports facilitators - to identify new talent and groom the next generation of para-athletes.

Roadshows will be held later in the year to talent spot PWDs by measuring their fitness, endurance, flexibility, speed and strength. A questionnaire on each participant's lifestyle, personality and interests will help match them with suitable sports using physical and mental profiling.

SDSC president Teo-Koh Sock Miang said at the launch of the programme: "The Covid-19 health pandemic has been challenging for everyone. But our athletes have always shown resilience, strength and commitment to the sport they chose, so we are very grateful they continue to do what they do.

"Participation in sports is for everyone, regardless of potential and disability... I hope to see more partners follow in Certis' footsteps and take a leap of faith to contribute to disability sports in Singapore and together, we can make a difference."

Certis president and group chief executive officer Paul Chong said: "Certis believes in providing disadvantaged groups with equal opportunities to success. We are excited to collaborate and I look forward to Certis employees being fully engaged in the activities and supporting this purposeful programme."

In 2018, 51 per cent of PWDs in Singapore participated in sport at any level, according to estimates provided by the Ministry of Social and Family Development and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

This was a huge increase compared to 28 per cent in 2015 but SDSC hopes to build on this through community engagement.

National goalball player Joan Hung, 25, said sports and exercise can strengthen PWDs physically and mentally.

"We need these fundamental movement skills to be able to function, especially when we get older because without sight, you're at a higher risk of falling over or needing to catch yourself in case you miss a step," said Hung.

"Goalball teaches us to focus on what we can control, instead of being constantly fearful of and frustrated by what we cannot."

Mr Alvin Tan, guest-of-honour at the event and Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, said the Government will continue to facilitate partnerships and conversations to further develop disability sports.

Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Alvin Tan, trying his hand at Goalball on Feb 23, 2022. ST PHOTO: SAMUEL ANG

He added: "Our disability sports ecosystem has grown from strength to strength over the years. This is because our athletes, sporting fraternity, government and corporate (partners) have worked closely together to increase awareness and participation.

"We will discover and groom more sporting talents as we continue to build an inclusive sporting culture where PWDs have even more opportunities to experience sports."

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