Local tycoon Peter Lim has pledged to continue supporting young local athletes for another 10 years from 2021 to 2030 by donating another $10 million to the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship.
The 66-year-old billionaire will also commit a separate $20 million to start a new community project focused on helping children from less privileged backgrounds, to help them reach their potential. Details of this project will be announced at a later date.
These are in addition to the $10 million he first contributed when the scholarship was established in 2010. Since its inception nine years ago, 2,642 student-athletes have received $7.2 million.
A total of 280 student-athletes in 44 sports from 83 schools received $781,000 in scholarship awards this year, with SEA Games aspirants among the recipients.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, the guest of honour at the awards ceremony yesterday, hailed Lim's contributions, noting that his "generous donations" have "benefited and played a part in the successes of many of our Team Singapore athletes who have made Singapore proud".
Mr Heng, who is also the Finance Minister, noted: "This ecosystem of support required to bring the best out of Team Singapore athletes cannot be undertaken by government alone. Every stakeholder has a part to play.
"When I spoke about how we would build our future Singapore together two weeks ago, I highlighted how the Government needs to work better with you. We will need to shift from a government that focuses primarily on working for you, to one that also works with you.
About the scholarship
Now into its ninth year, the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship is the brainchild of the Singapore tycoon it is named after.
Lim, 66, the owner of Spanish La Liga club Valencia, remains the largest individual donor to a sports scholarship in Singapore.
The scholarship's four categories are: primary ($1,000), secondary ($2,000), junior college/integrated programme/tertiary ($3,000) and Under-18 high performance ($5,000). Recipients will also benefit from a partnership with Thomson Medical to access sports medical services at the Thomson Wellth Musculoskeletal Clinic, and receive a lifetime membership to Thomson Medical's Celebrating Life loyalty programme featuring a comprehensive range of health and wellness services.
The majority of recipients have come from financially challenged backgrounds who demonstrated the potential to excel. They have to meet criteria including scoring consistent results in relevant competitions. Last year, 269 student-athletes received $771,000 in scholarships which also saw a record high of 1,243 applications.
Peter Lim's donations
• $10 million: Sport (2010-2020)
• $10 million: Sport (2021-2030)
• $20 million: Community project for less privileged children
"This is no different in the area of sports development. Working together will allow us to better draw on the diversity of passions and expertise among us.
"We will need to better bring together the many stakeholders - including the SNOC, Singapore National Paralympic Council, the NSAs (national sports associations), officials, healthcare professionals, sports scientists, coaches, parents, athletes, corporates, as well as the wider community."
The Olympic movement also recognised Lim for his contributions to Singapore sport and the community. At the ceremony, he was conferred the IOC Trophy, themed "Olympism in Action" in 2018, by Mr Heng.
The other guests present were International Olympic Committee executive board member and SOF chairman Ng Ser Miang, Speaker of Parliament and president of the Singapore National Olympic Council Tan Chuan-Jin, four-gold Olympic swimming champion Libby Trickett of Australia and Valencia president Anil Murthy.
The latest batch of recipients includes 53 in the Under-18 high performance category - the highest number in this segment.
One of them is 16-year-old Mas Ridzwan Mohamad Ali, the first cyclist to receive this award.
He said: "Sport has taught me many things, including the importance of good nutrition, time management and responsibility.
"When I do well in my sport, I try to be a good example to young children and encourage them to take up cycling.
"I am very thankful to the SOF-Peter Lim Scholarship for supporting my passion in BMX cycling. One day I hope I can make it to the Olympic Games."