In the hope of continuing to attract the best sports talent, the Singapore Sports School (SSP) launched the EW Barker Scholarship yesterday.
Announced by guest of honour and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the SSP's 15th Anniversary Celebrations Cum Awards Night, the EW Barker Scholarship will be awarded every year to as many as 24 student-athletes with exemplary conduct, outstanding sport results and the potential to become high-performing athletes.
Mr Tharman, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, said the late Mr Barker was "the champion for sports in Cabinet for many years" and drove the construction of the old National Stadium.
The former law minister was also a talented sportsman, and helmed the Singapore National Olympic Council from 1970 to 1990.
Mr Tharman added: "I look forward to the recipients of the scholarship being inspired by the life of Eddie Barker, to develop yourself to the fullest, and do your best for Singapore."
Up to five student-athletes per secondary school level and up to two per International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme level will receive the scholarship.
The EW Barker Scholarship stems from the $35 million EW Barker Endowment, which has been supported by Temasek Foundation Nurtures since 2011.
While the quantum was not disclosed, Temasek Foundation Nurtures will provide full subsidy of school fees over the EW Barker Scholarship tenure of up to two years. EW Barker Scholars are expected to contribute back to society by planning and performing community service work.
THE SKY'S THE LIMIT
The Singapore Sports School aimed high from the start, gave its students the courage to dream big, and has achieved more than we could have expected in 15 years. If so much was achieved in 15 years, just imagine what more we can do in the future.
DPM THARMAN SHANMUGARATNAM, addressing SSP students.
The SSP has identified 18 prospective recipients for the scholarship this year, including Raeka Ee, a national Under-17 netballer, and national shooter Shirlene Hew.
The 16-year-old Raeka said: "Mr Barker was instrumental in the development of Singapore sports... To even be a prospect of this scholarship makes me feel very honoured as it is one of high prestige, and it pushes me to want to do better on and off the netball court."
Shirlene, also 16, said: "Knowing that Mr Barker excelled in both his sports and studies and contributed a great deal to what Singapore is today, I am even more motivated each day to achieve my targets.
"I am aiming for the SEA Games this year and in 2021, as well as the 2022 Commonwealth and Asian Games. In giving back to society, I will be volunteering at a local soup kitchen whenever I can."
Last night, Mr Tharman also presented sports achievement awards to alumni who continue to win medals for Singapore, and launched a commemorative book titled The Champion's Way.
Alumni who received the Outstanding Sports Achievement Award (Alumni) included silat world champions Sheik Farhan and Sheik Ferdous Sheik Alau'ddin, Asiad gold medallist sailor Cecilia Low, and Commonwealth Games double gold shooter Martina Veloso.
Also, four students - Koen Pang, Siti Khadijah, Muhammad Jaris Goh and Crystal Wong - received the Moo Soon Chong Outstanding Student-Athlete Award.