National sailor Olivia Chen's bid to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics received a boost with yesterday's announcement that she will receive financial support from the Chiam See Tong Sports Foundation.
The 22-year-old was a former goal shooter and goal attack in the national 21-and-under netball team, but late last year switched to sailing. She now partners Griselda Khng, who represented Singapore at the Rio Olympics, in the 49erFX class.
Chen will get $3,000 this year and qualifies for another $3,000 in January. The fund was launched in March to help aspiring local athletes achieve their sporting dreams.
Both Chen and helmsman Khng are trying to qualify for next year's Asian Games in Indonesia and the 2020 Olympics. Khng, 26, is a former Optimist world champion and a 2012 bronze medallist at the 420 World Championships.
The self-funded duo even turned to crowdfunding for their recent training stints in Europe and Australia. They leave for Perth today to resume their training.
It is estimated that they will need about $200,000 to fund their training campaign over the next two years.
Chen thanked the foundation "for understanding our battles, and for giving us a bit of support to help us along".
She added: "The journey of an athlete is sometimes a lonely one, and it is important for us to get help as we embark on our journey towards achieving success.
"We do hope that we will have other sponsors who will come forward to support our journey."
Ang Peng Siong, chairman of the foundation's board, added: "Sports is one way to rally a nation together under one flag, regardless of our backgrounds. Our athletes need to be supported, to help them reach their goals and targets."