Parliament: Elite sports get additional $50 million funding; separate matching grant for Team Singapore athletes

Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling and Paralympic gold medallist Yip Pin Xiu.
Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling and Paralympic gold medallist Yip Pin Xiu.PHOTOS: ST FILE, SPORT SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Enhancements will be made to Singapore's High Performance Sports (HPS) system to help the nation's sporting best continue to achieve success in international competitions.

An additional $50 million - first announced by Minister of Finance Heng Swee Keat during his Budget speech last month - will be channelled over the next five years.

It is expected to put a targeted focus on building support capability and giving top athletes more opportunities to train in an environment more conducive for their sporting pursuits.

Separately, a new "One Team Singapore matching grant" will also separately see the government match dollar-for-dollar donations from the community, in a bid to grow the resource pool that elite athletes can draw from.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu spoke about the enhancements in Parliament on Thursday (March 9), noting that the hope is for Singapore to have sustained success in the sporting arena.

The additional $50 million comes on top of the existing funds already invested into the HPS system to support both able-bodied athletes as well as those with disabilities.

Sport Singapore currently spends about $60 million a year on the HPS, a sum that includes annual grants to National Sports Associations as well as the Sports Excellence (spex) Scholarship and other support to athletes.

The extra funding will increase annual spending to about $70 million a year.

Ms Fu emphasised efficiency in utilising resources, and said funds will be disbursed based on factors such as past medal performance, track record and a long-term plan in place.

"Podium success at world championships and the Olympics requires a focused and sustained effort at all levels," she said. "Growing our pipeline of talent and grooming them for podium success requires long-term athlete development plans and the resources and technical expertise to create a high performance training and competition environment."

In rolling out the matching grant, the authorities hope it will encourage the corporate sector and the public to be more involved in contributing to the success of Team Singapore athletes. The funds will go towards supporting the HPS system, and will be directed by the HPS steering committee which Ms Fu chairs.

She said: "Being a small country without a large population base, we must ensure that resources are used effectively for sustained performance."