The first round of the National School Games kicked off at the Singapore Sports Hub earlier today. Photo: Sport Singapore
784 student athletes played their first round of National School Games (NSG) matches at the Singapore Sports Hub at the NSG opening Ceremony today (28 Jan 2016). This marked the start of the annual inter-school games, where the Guest-of-Honour was Dr Janil Puthucheary, Minister of State, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Communications and Information.
Dr Janil Puthucheary said: "Sports can build character and imbue values. Behind the solid show of sportsmanship are teachers, coaches, parents, mentors and seniors who role-modeled those values on a daily basis, who patiently coached, corrected and shaped character."
This year was the first time that five NSG competitions, namely badminton, basketball, netball, table tennis and volleyball, were held simultaneously immediately after the ceremonial launch. Student athletes from fencing, gymnastics and taekwondo also showcased their diverse skills and talent at the opening ceremony.
The NSG, which runs from 6 Jan to 31 Aug 2016, is the largest and most extensive annual youth sports event in Singapore. The number of students participating in the games today has increased by nearly three-fold since its inception 30 years ago, from 20,000 student athletes (4% of the student population) in 1986 to an estimated 55,000 students (12% of the student population) across 29 sports this year.
The annual NSG signifies the commitment by the Singapore Primary Schools Sports Council (SPSSC) and the Singapore Schools Sports Council (SSSC) to provide opportunities for students to participate in the inter-school competition undergirded by the Council’s motto – Character in Sporting Excellence. This year, to acknowledge the important role of spectators in the competitions, the Council also launched a Spectators’ Creed focusing on values related to students being a “Respectful Supporter”, “Caring Motivator” and “Responsible Spectator”.
Schools will conduct their own symbolic ceremony in Feb 2016 to provide students with the opportunity to celebrate the opening of the NSG and allow them to better appreciate the value of sports participation. Students will be listening to the NSG message from Dr Janil Pithucheary and viewing excerpts of the Opening Ceremony on the MOE YouTube channel.