More relief measures on the way for Covid-hit sports sector, says MCCY minister Edwin Tong; details to be released later

More relief measures on the way for Covid-hit sports sector, says MCCY minister Edwin Tong; details to be released later

SINGAPORE – Recognising how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the local sporting fraternity, Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), has revealed that his team is working on more relief measures for the sports sector.

Speaking at the Chiam See Tong Sports Fund “Live For Sports” virtual fundraising dinner, which collected more than the targeted $125,000 for under-resourced athletes on Friday (Oct 2), Mr Tong, who was the guest of honour, said: “Over the next few weeks, we will work on some further measures and a package to help preserve the core sporting capabilities and protect livelihoods.”

While more details will be announced later this month, this new package will be on top of Sport Singapore’s package of measures worth about $23 million announced in June, which included the Enterprise Innovation & Capability Grant, Active Enabler Programme, creation of temporary jobs, ActiveSG Circle and other digital content initiatives and training opportunities.

Since taking over the MCCY portfolio in July, Mr Tong, who is also Second Minister for Law, has gathered feedback from coaches, instructors and others who rely on sports for a living. He also assured national sports associations (NSAs) of the ministry’s commitment to support athletes and sporting excellence.

He added: “The most important thing we can do, is to chart a path towards a safe resumption of activities. This is the best way to support livelihoods, and allow our athletes to do what they do best – train and compete.

“Together with SportSG, we have also had discussions on how to bring back many of our favourite sporting experiences, but in a safe way. We have made some moves, and will continue to do so.”

He took encouragement from being able to work from a strong base in terms of youth development and high performance. In terms of youth development, the National Youth Sports Institute identifies primary school students for the Junior Sports Academy programmes, while there are also the Singapore Sports School and academies run by ActiveSG, NSAs and private clubs that widen the talent pool and catchment area.

Meanwhile, the Government invests about $70 million annually in the High Performance Sports system – which includes the spexScholarship – to support the development of national athletes and NSAs.

Mr Tong reiterated his ministry’s backing for local sports and said: “For Singapore to achieve our sporting goals, we need a longer term vision. We will also require bold targets, relentless training, some patience, and of course, the confidence and resilience to weather setbacks.

“We know that funding alone cannot be enough – and we must, as a sports community, work together, be cohesive, united, and forward-looking. The bonds and synergy between schools, clubs, NSAs, our athletes, our stakeholders and SportSG have to be singular, aligned and strong. My ministry will support them.”