SINGAPORE - Seventeen athletes received the Sports Excellence Scholarship (spexScholarship) for the first time on Tuesday (March 20) evening from Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, with a total of 78 athletes from 24 sports in the programme this year.
Among them are wushu's Jowen Lim and Ho Lin Ying, as well as squash's Sneha Sivakumar; it is the first time athletes from both sports are represented in the programme.
Said Sneha, who turns 17 in April: "I am honoured and grateful to have received the spexScholarship. With more structured support from Sport Singapore I hope that I will be able to improve exponentially and have some major breakthroughs."
Cyclists Calvin Sim and Luo Yiwei, as well as canoeist Soh Sze Ying, were also awarded the scholarship, while sailor Ryan Lo and silat exponent Muhammad Iqbal also returned to the full-time programme after completing their national service.
Also returning to the high-performance programme is para-bowler Ismail Hussain, who took a two-year break after completing his previous spexScholarship programme with doubles partner Thomas Yong.
Ismail said: "This time round, as a singles player, I have to be more disciplined. I will be working closely with my coach and with good communication and teamwork to be even more determined, driven and focused on achieving better results from previous tournaments.
"I aim to be one of the best bowlers in the world for my respective category of TPB3."
SpexScholarship Selection Committee chairman Richard Seow said they received more applications from athletes under 20 years, for the fifth year of the programme. The Singapore Sports Institute received 91 nominations from 22 sports in total, and shortlisted 37 applicants from 15 sports.
"This is very encouraging and essential for developing our pipeline of future champions. It's a positive indicator of advances in our high-performance system and how with the support of coaches, officials and scientists working in tandem with the athletes and families we can ensure a steady flow of future champions for Singapore," said Seow, who is also the Sport Singapore chairman.
"We are committed to nurture and support our best talents to maximise their potential to do us proud at Asian, Olympic and world levels."
Also, 19 organisations have joined the spexBusiness and spexEducation network in 2018, bringing the total number to 57 in 2018.