School sports: Youth facility spurs student-athletes

Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin (right) at the performance lab of the new NYSI @ Sports School facility.
Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin (right) at the performance lab of the new NYSI @ Sports School facility. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI), a new facility at the Singapore Sports School (SSP), officially opened its doors yesterday and plans are afoot to open at least two more similar facilities in the coming months to better support student-athletes.

The 500 sq m facility at the SSP was opened by Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin and features a performance lab armed with physiological and bio-mechanical testing as well as research capabilities.

There is also a physiotherapy clinic that supports injury prevention and rehabilitation work so as to enable student-athletes to better take care of their bodies.

Former national sailor Tan Wearn Haw, who heads NYSI, said: "The idea of multiple locations around the island is to help increase the outreach and impact of the support to youth athletes.

"We are targeting at another one or two locations."

The NYSI was first created last November after a year-long review that aimed to strengthen the local youth sporting excellence system in Singapore and level the playing field among students from different schools.

The facility in the SSP will help over 800 youngsters across a variety of sports which includes SSP's students, student-athletes who train at SSP, and all carded athletes aged between 12 and 18.

It will also extend support to student-athletes competing in the upcoming National School Games as well as the 2016 Asean Schools Games in July in Thailand.

Said Dr Low Chee Yong, NYSI's head of sport science: "Singapore has made significant progress in the area of youth athlete support over the years. We are also seeing more experts and experienced Singaporeans in the high-performance sports support system, and definitely more sport scientists.

"Leveraging on the learnings, experiences and network of Singapore Sports School, Singapore Sports Institute, and the wider sporting community, we are confident that these can be translated to benefit a larger group of athletes and build the pipeline of sporting talents for the future."

Tan Li Wen, a 17-year-old basketball player from Hwa Chong Institution who is temporarily carded, is keen to learn more about injury prevention from NYSI's labs.

She said: "The new facility would definitely be beneficial because we now have a platform to learn about injury prevention and muscle strengthening... and that will improve our performance."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 29, 2016, with the headline 'Youth facility spurs student-athletes'. Print Edition | Subscribe