SINGAPORE - Less than 24 hours after setting a new national record, Singapore swimmer Lionel Khoo received yet another boost when he was awarded the Sports Excellence Scholarship (spexScholarship) on Friday (March 17).
Khoo, who rewrote the national 200m breaststroke record on Thursday, joined 14 other Team Singapore athletes as first-time recipients of the scholarship. These were presented at a ceremony at National Youth Sports Institute in Kallang Theatre.
In all, 67 national athletes were awarded spexScholarships this year. Aside from the 15 new athletes, the scholarship, entering its fourth year, also welcomes four new sport disciplines - diving, canoe paddle, para-archery and para-athletics.
Other scholarship holders include Olympic champion Joseph Schooling, Paralympic champion Yip Pin Xiu and Feng Tianwei, Singapore's top-ranked table tennis player.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who attended the ceremony, said: "Our spexScholars have inspired Singaporeans with their breakthrough achievements. Since the start in 2013, the spexScholarship Programme has seen good outcomes in a wide range of sports. We are very proud of them, and will continue to support them in their sporting journey."
Pointing to the recent Budget, where the Government pledged an additional $50 million for the High Performance Sports (HPS) system over the next five years, Ms Fu added: "With the increase in funding for the HPS system, we will help the athletes and the sports raise their game even more."
The spexScholarships, launched in 2013, offers support for athletes who are deemed to have the potential to excel on the Asian and world stage.
There is financial support which comes in the form of monthly stipends. It ranges between $1,200 and $8,400. The Singapore Sports Institute will also provide support in the areas of sports science and nutrition, among others.