Thursday, 12 May 2016

GetActive! Singapore: Sport week to be part of annual National Day bash

With elements of competition, fun and play, it aims to strengthen Singapore bond through sport
By May Chen, The Straits Times, 11 May 2016

In a bid to foster a stronger Singapore spirit and promote active lifestyles, all while riding the uniting force of the nation's birthday celebrations, the week before National Day will now be dedicated to sport.

The annual series of activities will stage its first edition from July 30 to Aug 7. GetActive! Singapore will incorporate the elements of nationwide "Competition", "Fun" for the community, and ground-up initiatives to encourage "Play" for an expected 300,000 people.

Competition will be in the form of the third Singapore National Games (SNG), expanded this year to include para-sports for the first time. There will also be four more sports than the last edition in 2014.

Sport festivals for children and families will be held across 15 centres islandwide over two weekends. People with disabilities will be included in the fun.

Sport Singapore (SportSG), in unveiling details yesterday, also urged the public and corporate organisations to be Active Enablers by playing a part in co-creating activities that tie in with the theme of sport and celebration.

SportSG will disburse grants funding up to 90 per cent of costs - up to $25,000 for projects and $50,000 for mass events - to successful applicants. Expertise in the form of coaches, officials and even venue space can also be offered.

There are already 10 Active Enablers on board, most of them corporate organisations such as FedEx Express Singapore, ComfortDelGro and Gardens by the Bay.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who helped launch the scheme yesterday after a workout with FedEx Express staff in Changi, hopes the activities will be driven from the ground up.

"Sport is a tremendous way of bringing people across all walks of life together. We'd like to think that it's not limited to government-organised events. We want to see corporates, schools, old schoolmates... communities, neighbourhoods... coming together," she said.

"Whether you're a novice or at the elite level, you'll have different ways to get into some sporting activities," she added, picking out the SNG archery competition held on the Marina Bay floating platform as a personal favourite.

The idea for GetActive! Singapore was largely the aftereffect of last year's home SEA Games and Asean Para Games, which enjoyed record crowds. It is also part of the next step in Vision 2030, the blueprint launched in 2011 to chart the course of Singapore sport.

Both its timing and objective were deliberate, SportSG chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin said.

"We wanted to continue to advance the idea that One Team Singapore works together... and there were a lot of suggestions for events that could rally everyone," he added.

"You come to the conclusion that the only thing as significant (in a non-major Games setting) is National Day."

The hope for the initiative in the long run is that its unique platform for celebration will lead to a stronger Singapore bond.

Mr Lim said: "Through sport, we will build a healthy and resilient society."

Ms Fu said: "Ultimately we'd like to see it culminating as one event where Singaporeans will come together, celebrate National Day in a physical and happy way... through sport, bond as a people and celebrate Singapore's achievements."

Activities galore

Singapore National Games

When: July 30-Aug 7

What: 16 sports for the able-bodied; five para-sports for people with disabilities.

Register from June 3 at any ActiveSG sports centre or

Children and Families Sports Festivals

When: July 30-31, Aug 6-7

What: Activities for children to develop movement skills and activities to promote family bonding.

Active Enabler Programme

What: Community and corporate partners to co-create activities. Interested applicants have until June 30 to submit proposals.

For more information, visit

Para-sport included in National Games
Move, which will see five sports contested at the SNG, aims to promote greater inclusion
By May Chen, The Straits Times, 11 May 2016

In another move signalling greater backing of disability sport, this year's Singapore National Games (SNG) will feature para-sports for the first time.

Five sports (archery, boccia, tenpin bowling, swimming, table tennis) will be contested at the July 30 to Aug 7 SNG, with the possibility of more included in future.

This comes on the back of a successful Asean Para Games (APG), which Singapore hosted for the first time last December and finished with a historic haul of 63 medals.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, speaking yesterday before details of the GetActive! Singapore initiative were unveiled, said the APG showed sports can play an integral role in promoting an inclusive society.

She said: "After the APG, we realised that sport is a great way for people with special needs to be involved in society.

"It's a great way for them to realise their potential. They don't have disabilities, they just have abilities of different levels.

"We're glad to have some sports we can incorporate, and we'd like to see even more in the future if we can get take-up."

This also follows a conscious push by authorities to give people with disabilities greater access to sporting facilities.

It was announced last December that five ActiveSG sports centres, starting with one each in Jurong West and Toa Payoh, would become Centres of Expertise in disability sport.

Sport Singapore chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin said: "The big legacy from the APG was the disability sports masterplan, that aims to reach out to people with disabilities.

"To encourage them to use sport to enrich their lives, to build confidence and esteem, and enhance (the) quality of their lives.

"Sport is a great way to enable a social network of support so, as part of that support, we've introduced disability sport into GetActive! Singapore at different levels."

Besides the SNG, activities catering to people with disabilities will also be offered at the Children and Families Festivals held across 15 sports centres islandwide.

Swimmer Theresa Goh, Singapore's most bemedalled athlete at the APG, welcomed the move as another way for the public to get better acquainted with disability sport.

Said the 29-year-old, who is slated to compete at the Paralympics in September: "It's a good chance to allow the public to see more para-sports, para-athletes and see what we do.

"Inclusion is what we aim for and this definitely bodes well for Singapore sport. I hope I'll be in Singapore during the event, as I want to be there to show my support as a spectator, if not as a participant."

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