SINGAPORE - When national badminton youth squad player Feles Low picks up an injury in training or competition, she often seeks traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatment.
The 16-year-old is a carded athlete, but does not go to the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) - where national athletes can undergo rehabilitation - because of the long and inflexible waiting times.
However, going to TCM practitioners means she has to pay out of her own pocket.
"For TCM treatments, usually it takes time before you see improvement, so I always have to make several visits," said Feles, whose mum is a drinks vendor and father is a badminton coach. "So I spent quite a bit and financially, it was quite a burden on my mum and dad."
On Wednesday (Jan 17), the Singapore Chinese Girls' School student and other budding athletes received a boost when Thomson Medical signed a collaboration agreement to support recipients of the Singapore Olympic Foundation (SOF)-Peter Lim Scholarship.
The scholarship was set up by billionaire Lim in 2010 to help needy but talented athletes achieve their sporting dreams.
The agreement with Thomson Medical is for three years, and will see around 1,000 young athletes benefit from sports medicine services provided by Thomson Wellth Musculoskeletal Clinic. The athletes only having to pay a nominal fee for consultation or various treatments.
Under the collaboration, SOF-Peter Lim Scholarship recipients will also receive lifetime membership to Thomson Medical's "Celebrating Life" loyalty programme.
This will give them access to a comprehensive range of health and wellness services the Thomson Medical Group offers, beyond their competitive sporting years.
Gymnast Lincoln Liqht Man, a 17-year-old Singapore Sports School student, said: "I feel very privileged. Being able to come here for consultation or second opinions... is a great option for athletes, especially those who are not carded and cannot go to the SSI.
"Knowing there is this arrangement in place allows me to go all out in training and competition, and to push myself even further."
At the Thomson Wellth Musculoskeletal Clinic, athletes will be treated by its consultant sports medicine physician, Dr Chiam Tut Fu.
The clinic boasts of sports medicine treatments like low level laser treatment and platelet rich plasma therapy, which have been used by athletes like golfer Tiger Woods, and at top European football clubs.
Dr Chiam, who was a cross country runner in school, said: "We asked ourselves: What more can we do for the sports community?
"We then realised there is a need by people who are not served by the SSI, who we can provide expedient, responsive, effective medical services to."