First Centre of Expertise for Disability Sports Launched
31 May 2016
The first Centre of Expertise for Disability Sports was launched at the ActiveSG Sengkang Sports Centre today by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu. This marked the start of the government’s plans to strengthen the disability sports ecosystem in Singapore.
In conjunction with the launch, Sport Singapore will be introducing the “Yes! I Can” Swim Programme for persons with disabilities at the ActiveSG Sengkang Swimming Complex. There will be three public programmes and one programme for special education schools from June onwards. Participants will learn aquatic movement skills through engaging and fun activities, and benefit from more personalised attention in a small class size.
Mr Lim Teck Yin, CEO of Sport Singapore shared that this is part of the roadmap towards realising Vision 2030 in creating opportunities for everyone to Live Better through Sport. “Swimming is a great sport that is suited for people of different abilities. It is invigorating and develops a good sense of water confidence. The launch of this first Centre of Expertise at the ActiveSG Sengkang Sports Centre will be the first of more initiatives to come for para sports. In the coming months, selected ActiveSG Sports Centres and gyms will be retrofitted to be more inclusive. We will also be introducing more para-sports, such as Badminton, Boccia, Football and Goalball at different ActiveSG Sports Centres. We intend for inclusive sports programming to be the norm.”
Disability Sports Master Plan
The Centres of Expertise are part of a list of 18 recommendations by the Committee for Disability Sports, under the Disability Sports Master Plan. At the Committee of Supply (COS) debate last month, Senior Minister of State Sim Ann announced that MCCY has accepted these recommendations, and will implement them in phases over the next 5-6 years. The Master Plan builds on the success of the 8th ASEAN Para Games last year, and aims to ensure a sustainable legacy for disability sports beyond the Games.
Under the Master Plan, persons with disabilities can now look forward to improved access and opportunities for sports participation. This would include new programmes offered at several pilot Centres of Expertise for disability sports, such as the one launched today. Targeted support will also be provided to selected schools to offer sports programmes for students with disabilities, to encourage them to pick up a sporting habit from young.
Greater emphasis will also be placed on developing professional capabilities in disability sports, and expanding partnerships within the sports industry to support persons with disabilities. Through Team Nila, SportSG will also be expanding the volunteer base for disability sports, with opportunities for volunteers to take on the role of ‘sports buddies’ to assist coaches and serve as training partners in the disability sports programmes. There will also be sustained efforts to publicise the benefits of disability sports and profile Team Singapore para-athletes, so as to raise awareness and build affinity with Singapore’s disability sports scene.
Said Minister Grace Fu, “Sport has the ability to raise self-esteem and to inspire. Never have we felt its potential greater than at the ASEAN Para Games when we were inspired by the achievements of the athletes. 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. Today’s launch is an important first step for us. In time to come, Singapore will become a more inclusive society, where persons of all abilities can enjoy sports together.”
A copy of the Disability Sports Master Plan can be found at www.mccy.gov.sg.