SINGAPORE - More than one million Singaporeans and permanent residents have signed up with ActiveSG, the national movement for sports, and more will be done to encourage the country to pursue a healthy sporting lifestyle.
The profile of Singapore sport was also greatly raised last year thanks to the successful hosting of the SEA Games and Asean Para Games, and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) will look to build on this legacy of a physically active and inclusive society, Minister Grace Fu said on Thursday (April 14).
Speaking during the debate on her ministry's budget, Ms Fu said: "Sports is a great way to rally the nation and has the potential to build national pride. Members have spoken about how Singaporeans rallied behind the athletes every step of the way at the SEA Games and Asean Para Games.
"But I would like to emphasise that sports excellence means far more when Team Singapore athletes give back to the community," she added, citing para swimmer Yip Pin Xiu, the Republic's first and only Paralympic gold medallist, as an inspiration.
Sport, Ms Fu added, is a great way to bring diverse communities together.
To that end, a Disability Sports Master Plan has been launched which will expand access and opportunities for participation by the disabled community.
Sport Singapore will launch five Centres of Expertise, where sports programmes and facilities will cater to persons with disabilities, within the next five years. This will start with Queenstown Stadium for those with cerebral palsy, and Sengkang Sports Centre for swimmers with disabilities.
This will be complemented by the Sports Facilities Master Plan, a $1.5 billion scheme announced in March 2014 which aims to provide Singaporeans with a venue to play and exercise at within 10 minutes of their home by 2030.
Public sports facilities also welcomed more than 15 million visitors last year.
The Dual-Use Scheme, where indoor sports halls and fields in schools are made available to the public out of school hours, saw more than 200,000 bookings last year.
Close to 80 halls and about 140 fields - comprising about half of all Government primary and secondary schools - are now available with the remaining half to be opened up by around 2020.
A Ministry of Communications and Information survey also found that 76 per cent are satisfied with the Government's efforts in creating a vibrant sports scene in Singapore.