Singapore will double its investment in public sports facilities and inject over $250 million into local sports programmes in a bid to build a strong sports culture.
Speaking in Parliament on Friday, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong announced a Sports Facilities Masterplan to spearhead the construction of new sports facilities as well as the upgrading of current ones over the next 20 years.
Five Regional Sports Centres (RSCs) will be built by 2030, providing focal sports activity hubs armed with enhanced features like larger seating capacities and LED screens. Tampines Town Hub has been lined up as the first location for an RSC.
Four additional initiatives have been planned at the neighbourhood level. Town Sports and Recreation Centres in HDB areas will be constructed, sporting spaces at constituency level will be established, more sports facilities in schools for public use will be opened, and standalone venues like old swimming complexes will be reworked.
Wong gave assurance that “sports facilities will remain affordable to the public… some, especially those in the neighbourhood, will be free-to-play.”
A sporting lifestyle for all
The debate also touched on the importance of funding sports programmes tailored for Singaporeans.
The concept of 'Super Sports Clubs' was mooted, to help Singaporeans sustain interest and participation in sports through avenues such as linking up with nearby schools. These Sports Clubs will be hosted by the aforementioned RSCs.
Additionally, a High Performance System (HPS) scheme, due to be set up this year, will seek to assist national athletes in the fields of education, career and personal development, for them to make a smooth transition to a second career after their competitive days.
An important component of the HPS is the Sports Excellence scholarship, which will provide living allowances for “high potential” athletes, drawn from a $40 million fund over five years.
“All athletes – able-bodied and disabled – will be eligible for nomination by their national sports association, and selection will be based on merit and potential,” said Wong.