SINGAPORE - Constance Lien made history by becoming Singapore's first female Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion and the country's first Asian Games medallist in the sport at the 2018 Games.
Lien, who is also a SEA Games champion, achieved another first for jiu-jitsu as she was awarded the Sports Excellence Scholarship (spexScholarship) on Wednesday (April 1).
The 20-year-old was among 17 first-time recipients of the scholarship, which is in its seventh year.
"The scholarship will help me greatly in raising my current standard with increased quality training and competitions," said Lien, who was named The Straits Times Athlete of the Year in February.
"It is a great motivation to know that the nation is behind me in raising the Singapore flag high."
Apart from jiu-jitsu, the scholarship also welcomed two new sport disciplines: ice skating (Trevor Tan) and triathlon (Emma Middleditch).
A total of 79 national athletes were awarded spexScholarships this year. Of this current cohort, 11 are renewals from the previous batch.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said: "This is a very challenging period for our athletes as competitions and training plans are being disrupted.
"But I believe in the resilience and tenacity of our spexScholars. They have shown the determination to work hard and excel amidst adversity. We will continue to support them in their sporting journeys, and help them to fulfil their sporting potential."
The spexScholarship offers support for athletes who are deemed to have the potential to excel on the continental and world stage.
There is financial support which comes in the form of monthly stipends of between $1,200 and $8,400. The Singapore Sports Institute will also provide support in the areas of sports science and nutrition, among others.