Dear friends of the media
1 Thank you for taking time to celebrate the Lunar New Year with us. The year of the Dragon symbolises a great period of ambition and dominance. For the sporting fraternity, we are looking forward to another exciting year, one that is inspired by our commitment to further develop our shared aspirations for Sporting Singapore.
2 2011 signalled a new beginning of sorts for myself and SSC. As a former national sportsman, I have experienced very personally the power that sport has to enrich lives and ignite a love for country. So, I was deeply honoured and pleased to be appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Sports Council last year.
3 I would like to thank you for your support in my first year. Speaking plainly, the previous few years were stressful ones for the sporting community. Hosting major events and navigating change can bring out the best and the worst in people. I am under no illusions that it is your job to cover both. As uncomfortable as our relationship may be at times, I want to thank you for bringing to life some of our finest moments last year.
4 2011 was another vibrant year for Sporting Singapore and as advocators of sport. You were there when we hosted three world championships: the World Netball Championships, ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships, and the ITTF Volkswagen Women?s World Cup. These events were a huge undertaking for Team SSC and the NSAs. There's always room for improvement but I thank you for your support along the way.
5 At the OCBC Cycle Singapore, Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore Triathlon and of course, the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore, you captured the moments that brought families and communities closer together.
6 And through your stories at the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia, Singaporeans were introduced to the next generation of sporting icons - Joseph Schooling, Sasha Christian and Fu Mingtian, to name just a few.
7 Clearly, there is a natural synergy between sport and the media. Sport is driven by passionate believers, die-hard fans who depend heavily on authentic and inspiring news stories. As the appetite for sport grows, so does the demand for more intriguing stories, refreshing angles and regular updates. With more events and partnerships, we can inspire more positive and encouraging sports stories for the media.
8 Looking ahead in 2012, there are plenty of reasons to cheer as we look toward another great sporting year for Singapore. I want thank you for your support in generating feedback for Vision 2030 with your extensive reports and articles. We urge you keep the conversation going as we continue to formulate the recommendations. Through your articulation of our findings, you play an important role in highlighting areas where sport can serve a greater purpose in our society. Many of you here have spent decades covering the sports beat. You aren't writers because you need the jobs. You write because you love the game. I would like to encourage you to keep your feedback coming.
9 With Vision 2030, we want to see more in Singapore living fuller, healthier lives; we want to see the values of sport embedded in our daily actions. We knew that the changing demographics in our society would require a change in the way we did things, the way we develop sport. The recent results from National Participation survey suggest this. We have seen an increase in the participation among seniors, but as our youth enter the workforce, we are seeing the traditional drop in participation. Therefore, the work that we have done for Vision 2030 could not have come at a better time.
10 Based on our recommendations from Vision 2030, we are working on the possible formation of Corporate Sports Leagues. We want to see the workplace as a facilitator for sport. During our last V2030 media engagement, some of you here participated in the friendly football match against the team comprising Members of Parliament. We came together, regardless of news agency or political affiliation to play sport. For most of us, the opportunity to put aside our work, to play sport for a few hours provided a refreshing break from our daily routine. And judging from the overwhelming feedback, I know that many of you are itching for another match. So I challenge you to take the lead ? form your teams and take on other corporate teams. Team SSC will be there. (Anyone here play water polo?)
13 Sporting Singapore has certainly made good progress in the past decade. You only have to count the number of local sporting events and participants in these events, together with the number of corporate organisations who have put their brand in support of these events, to see how well sports culture is growing in Singapore. Again: we still have room to grow but I want to acknowledge the achievement.
14 But our success would not have been possible if not for the invaluable contributions of all our stakeholders. As members of the media, you have played the crucial role of unfolding our sporting journey.
15 At SSC, we believe that sport can provide Singaporeans with more opportunities to live better, more meaningful lives. For our youth, sport instills leadership qualities and encourages teamwork. Sport brings families and communities closer together. You know these truths as well as I do. But there's more: sport generates loyalty. Not just among fans but among clients and employees. Corporates already use sports to build brand product loyalty. They can use sports to generate loyalty among employees. Sport can also keep our seniors active. None of us are getting any younger: playing sport can keep us in the peak of health and better equipped for our future challenges.
16 Your stories can unite and ignite Singapore, and together we can show the world the resilience and tenacity of the Singapore Spirit, through sport. When you narrate our defining moments, you can inspire the next generation of sporting heroes or encourage more sponsors to be a part of our aspirations.
17 I would like to thank you once again for your unwavering support. We look forward to working closely together as we bring to life our shared vision for Sporting Singapore.