SINGAPORE - Local tycoon Peter Lim has pledged to continue supporting young local athletes for another 10 years from 2021 to 2030 by donating another $10 million to the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship.
The 66-year-old billionaire will also commit a separate $20 million to start a new community project focused on helping children from less privileged backgrounds, to help them reach their potential. Details of this project will be announced at a later date.
These are in addition to the $10 million he first contributed when the scholarship was established in 2010.
A total of 280 student-athletes in 44 sports from 83 schools will receive $781,000 in SOF-Peter Lim Scholarship awards this year, with SEA Games aspirants among the recipients.
Since the inception of the scholarship nine years ago, 2,642 student-athletes have received scholarships amounting to $7.2 million.
The latest batch of recipients includes 53 recipients in the Under-18 high performance category - the highest number of recipients in this category.
One of them is 16-year-old Mas Ridzwan Mohamad Ali, the first cyclist to receive this award. He said: "Sport has taught me many things, including the importance of good nutrition, time management and responsibility.
"When I do well in my sport, I try to be a good example to young children and encourage them to take up cycling.
"I am very thankful to the SOF-Peter Lim Scholarship for supporting my passion in BMX cycling. One day I hope I can make it to the Olympic Games."
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat was the guest of honour. He was joined by International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board member and Singapore Olympic Foundation chairman Ng Ser Miang, as well as Speaker of Parliament and president of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) Tan Chuan-Jin.
DPM Heng was invited by Ng to present the IOC Trophy, themed "Olympism in Action" in 2018, to Lim. The trophy was conferred to Lim by the IOC and SNOC for his contributions to Singapore sport and the community.
In his speech, Mr Heng hailed Lim's contributions, noting that his "generous donations" have " benefited and played a part in the successes of many of our Team Singapore athletes who have made Singapore proud".
He also noted: "This ecosystem of support required to bring the best out of Team Singapore athletes cannot be undertaken by Government alone. Every stakeholder has a part to play.
"When I spoke about how we would build our future Singapore together two weeks ago, I highlighted how the Government needs to work better with you. We will need to shift from a government that focuses primarily on working for you, to one that also works with you.
"This is no different in the area of sports development. Working together will allow us to better draw on the diversity of passions and expertise among us.
"We will need to better bring together the many stakeholders - including the SNOC, Singapore National Paralympic Council, the NSAs, officials, healthcare professionals, sports scientists, coaches, parents, athletes, corporates, as well as the wider community."
World champion and four-time Olympic swimming champion Libby Trickett and Valencia president Anil Murthy were also special guests at the awards ceremony.
Into its ninth year, the scholarship is the brainchild of Lim, who presented some of the awards to the student-athletes. He remains the largest individual donor to a sports scholarship in Singapore.
There are four categories of varying cash amounts: Primary ($1,000), Secondary ($2,000), Junior College/Integrated Programme/Tertiary ($3,000) and Under-18 High Performance ($5,000).
Recipients will also benefit from a partnership with Thomson Medical to access sports medical services at Thomson Wellth's Musculoskeletal Clinic, and receive an exclusive lifetime membership to Thomson Medical's Celebrating Life Loyalty Programme, granting them access to a comprehensive range of health and wellness services from the group for life.
Recipients have to meet criteria such as scoring consistent results in relevant sports competitions to be eligible.
The majority of previous recipients have come from financially challenged backgrounds who demonstrated the potential to excel in the sports they play.
Last year, 269 student-athletes received $771,000 cash in scholarships, which also saw a record high of 1,243 applications.