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New measures unveiled to develop youth athletes

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A slew of measures have been introduced to help better develop and support young athletes in Singapore, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu announced on Monday.

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Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu speaking at the award ceremony. Photo: Sport Singapore

Speaking at the School Sports Star Award ceremony at Singapore Sports School (SSS), the minister revealed the recommendations put forth by the Singapore Sports School Review Committee.

The review committee was set up in response Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s challenge to “become a national sports academy of excellence 10 years from now”.

Among the host of initiatives to be introduced, was the establishment of the National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI), which will oversee the development of elite youth athletes with the help of the Singapore Sports Institute and the National Sports Associations.

“A new National Youth Sports Institute will be set up to provide specialised services and support to high-performing youth athletes in both mainstream and the Sports School,” she said.

“The NYSI will provide student-athletes like Dineshraj [Naidu] with greater opportunities to train with hockey players from the National Age-Group teams and other Singapore school sports teams.”

“It will also provide sports medicine and sports sciences services to these young athletes, including athletes’ education and career guidance.”

Another of the review committee’s key recommendations also allows young athletes greater flexibility in the academic front while giving them ample time and opportunity to pursue excellence in sports.

The SSS will work with the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organisation to offer students in its IB programme the option to complete it in up to four years as compared to the standard two years.

Team Singapore badminton player Yeo Jia Min was excited at the prospect of an extended IB programme as it offered her the freedom to focus on sports while still achieving the required academic qualifications for university admission.

“The post-secondary International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is rigorous and hence, my concern was that I may have to put my sport on the back burner in order to do well enough to make it to university,” said the 2015 SEA Games bronze medallist.

“I am therefore very relieved to know that the Sports School will now offer an extended IBDP of up to four years.”

“The extra two years will certainly help me better manage academic challenges, while balancing overseas competitions and trainings that bring me closer to fulfilling my sporting aspiration to represent Singapore in major games, including the World Junior Championships, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games.”

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