Constance Lien made history last year 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) yesterday.
The 20-year-old was among 17 first-time recipients of the scholarship, which is in its seventh year.
The Singapore Sport Institute (SSI) received 86 nominations and shortlisted 26 applicants.
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 SSI will also provide support in the areas of sports science and nutrition, among others.
"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."
Previously, the bulk of the cost of her training, competitions and equipment fell on her parents.
Competing at last May's world championships in Los Angeles set them back by about $10,000, while equipment such as the gi she wears can cost more than $200.
The scholarship also welcomed two new sport disciplines: ice skating (Trevor Tan) and triathlon (Emma Middleditch).
A total of 79 national athletes received the spexScholarships this year. Of this cohort, 11 are renewals from the previous batch, while the rest are ongoing recipients.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said athletes will continued to be supported, particularly as the coronavirus pandemic has affected their regimens.
"This is a very challenging period for our athletes as competitions and training plans are being disrupted," she said.
"But I believe in the resilience and tenacity of our spexScholars. They have shown the determination to work hard and excel amid adversity. We will continue to support them in their sporting journeys, and help them to fulfil their sporting potential."
Hurdler Marc Brian Louis, who is a first-time recipient, believes that the scholarship will help push him to the next level.
The ITE College Central student became Singapore's first gold medallist at the Asian Youth Athletics Championships when he clocked 55.09 seconds to win the boys' 400m hurdles in Hong Kong in March last year.
He also set a national boys' Under-18 record of 13.74sec to win the bronze medal in the 110m hurdles.
His ultimate goal is to make it to the Olympics and the funds and resources from the spexScholarship will help him. But this year, the 17-year-old wants to break the national men's Under-20 record of 14.03sec set by Chong Wei Guan at the IAAF World Under-20 Championships in 2018.
He said: "It has always been a struggle for me to try to meet the costs of training like transport to my training venue and for supplements to help me recover from training and staying healthy.
"My dream is to run at the Olympics and I will need a lot of support like finances and sports science during my preparation, and the spexScholarship will provide these much-needed resources."