Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Grace Fu, launched the first of five Centres of Expertise for Disability Sports at Seng Kang Sports Centre on Tuesday.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu (back row, centre) and CEO of Sport Singapore Lim Teck Yin (back row, third from left) at the launch of the Centre of Expertise for Disability Sports at the Seng Kang Sports Centre. Photo: Sport Singapore
As one of the 18 recommendations by the Committee for Disability Sports under the Disability Sports Master Plan, these centres will provide more disability friendly programmes and facilities with the aim of increasing sports participation among people with disabilities.
The other four centres will be rolled out over the next five years, and will be conveniently located in Delta, Queestown, Toa Payoh and Jurong West.
“Our first objective is to allow people with disabilities to come forward and live better through sport,” CEO of Sport Singapore Lim Teck Yin said.
"As you see in the pool at Seng Kang, they have appropriate ramps, appropriate pools that are shallow, and there's access as well to the gyms from the roadside kerb.
"These facilities have been around for some time, the software now needs to come in to promote sport and to get people out here to learn a new skill through sport and build their confidence.”
Minister for Community, Culture and Youth, Grace Fu, said the ASEAN Para Games had shown how sport has the ability to inspire people and improve confidence, and the launch was a first step towards a more inclusive society.
Minister Grace Fu interacting with Teo Choon Khang in the pool. Photo: Sport Singapore
“Through the Disability Sports Master Plan, we want to harness the potential of sport further by making it easier for those with disabilities to lead an active lifestyle,” she said.
“In time to come, Singapore will become a more inclusive society, where people of all abilities can enjoy sports together.”
Team Singapore swimmer and Paralympian Yip Pin Xiu, who recently set two world records in 50m and 100m backstroke (S2), also hailed the Disability Sports Master Plan.
"This will go a long way in shaping the mindset of Singaporeans towards persons with disabilities, especially after a very successful ASEAN Para Games last year," the 24-year-old said. "It will also help more people with disabilities lead a more holistic life."
Tan Whee Boon, who lost all his limbs to a Group B Streptococcus infection last year, was one of 25 people participating in the “Yes! I can” swim programme for persons with disabilities on Tuesday.
Minister Grace Fu helping Tan Whee Boon into the pool. Photo: Sport Singapore
The 51-year-old has always loved to swim and he hopes he “can get better and qualify for the ASEAN Para Games in future.”
The programme is the first disability sports programme to be introduced at Seng Kang Sports Centre and will allow participants to learn aquatic movement skills through engaging and fun activities.
Three public programmes and one programme for special education schools will be available from June onwards.