There are Singaporean athletes representing the country across various sports who are only receiving $600 a year (or $50 a month on average) as training assistance grants (spexTAG) from government agency Sport Singapore under its High Performance Sports policy.
The $600 grant is paid in two disbursements of $300 every six months.
$50 a month on average for our national athletes in training grants is grossly inadequate, insulting and disrespectful.
Two taxi rides in one day may well wipe that measly $50 grant dry.
Our athletes need supplements, proper nutrition, equipment and for some of them, there is a need to rush from school or camp to training in the evenings or vice versa in the mornings. There are also athletes who have to pay part or all of the costs of their overseas stints when they represent the country.
Under Sport Singapore’s current funding mechanism for athletes under its High Performance Sports policy, there are five levels of carding for our national athletes – L1 to L4P. (See image)
Athletes under L1 are those who can excel at the world stage and those under L4 and L4P are the ones who show potential at regional and national levels.
Athletes in L4 receive $600 a year while those in L4P receive no cash disbursements under spexTAG. See full details here:
A Singaporean national athlete who was a Gold medalist at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, one of those receiving $600 a year tells me, “It is high time that Sport Singapore change their mentality towards supporting athletes who intend to make sports our career and bring glory to the country.”
I agree with him.
As a result of the gross under-resourcing of our national athletes, senior coaches have informed me of how their charges are thinking of quitting their respective sports at a very young age.
From a sports funding policy perspective, this is unacceptable. Sport should never be just for people who have the financial means to pursue their passion and desire to represent the country.
After Singapore successfully hosted the 2015 SEA Games, then Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) Lawrence Wong asked: “How can we strengthen our high performance sports system to provide good support, good research, good sports science, good coaching and good resources in sports where we have the potential to do well?”
Current MCCY Minister Grace Fu announced an additional $10 million a year to support elite sports in during the Committee of Supply debates in March, but unfortunately, it certainly looks like there are athletes who need the support who don’t appear to be getting the necessary help.
Don’t keep lamenting about limited resources, but let’s look into effective allocation of limited resources to help make every Singaporean national athlete a winner.
By: Jose Raymond
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