1. Good morning. On behalf of the Singapore Sports Council and the Singapore sporting fraternity, it gives me great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to our international delegates to the 2013 Singapore Sports Institute Annual Symposium.
2. I would like to begin by thanking all our delegates and speakers for being here to share your knowledge and expertise with us.
3. Forums like these are important because we bring together the "Team" surrounding the athlete, comprising scientists, technologists, clinicians, coaches, and administrators to exchange ideas and knowledge on the programmes and support systems at our various elite sports institutes. In conjunction with the concept of "building a village around the athlete," we have designed the programme for this year's symposium on the theme of integrating Science, Medicine and Technology with Coaching.
4. Last year, we signed several MOUs with various partners during the symposium to further develop the capability of SSI and I'm delighted to welcome all of you back again. I would like to thank our fellow institutes for your spirit of collaboration as we continue to build on our close partnerships.
5. We started the Singapore Sports Institute, or SSI for short, in 2011 with the endeavour to play a leading role in developing the capability to nurture Singapore's sporting talents into champions, and to transform athletic potential into podium-ready performances.
6. Today, the SSI employs 70 full-time staff across various fields and expertise to serve more than 1,000 athletes from different sports in all areas of their development as well-rounded individuals, not just as athletes.
7. In the sporting arena, we are always looking at how we can utilise science and technology to give our athletes a sharper competitive edge. We all know that the difference between gold and silver at the pinnacle of sport can be down to milliseconds or millimetres, which is the space where Science and Technology can make a difference in to help our athletes make that quantum leap onto the podium.
8. For SSI, this support system was most evident in our journey leading to the London Olympics last year. For the first time in our sporting history, SSI operated a pre-Olympics Training Camp at the University of Surrey so that Team Singapore Olympians can acclimatise to the conditions in London as they embarked on their final preparation for the Games. During the Games, SSI operated the Singapore Recovery House out of the University of East London, where our athletes could get additional support, including local food prepared by our own chef and nutritionists, relaxation aides, and performance analyses. In the entire Games cycle, from when we started preparing for the Games to the end of the Games, the SSI team of Sports Scientists and Clinicians were there supporting our coaches and athletes with their expertise. Based on our experience in London, we are improving our support system as we prepare for Rio 2016.
9. The Government has invested in SSI as a strategic capability for High Performance Sports in Singapore. To play its role well, the institute must evolve and renew itself continuously so that our coaches and athletes can benefit from good Science, Technology and Medicine. This would involve close partnership with well-established Sports Institutes in the region, like those represented in this symposium, to harness the collective strength and expertise in these domains of practices in Asia. In this regard, we will exploit the existing MOU arrangements with the respective Sports Institutes to develop collaborative programmes that will mutually benefit coaches and athletes in both parties.
10. SSI achieved another milestone recently, with the launch of the Singapore Sports Excellence Scholarship, to fund full-time athletes in Team Singapore. This scholarship will not only fund medal-ready athletes, but will also support the development of the sport talent pipeline to provide Team Singapore with a sustained sport talent depth. The SSI selection process is ongoing and we expect to announce the first list of about 60 athlete scholars later this year.
11. I am also happy to note that the SSI will be launching an academic scholarship as well as a grant to fund research and development projects later this year.
12. Details on the academic scholarship and the research grant are still being finalised and will be announced later this year when they are ready, It is obvious from these new initiatives that SSI is positioned to play a pivotal role in shaping the High Performance Sports Landscape in Singapore.
13. The next couple of years will be really exciting for the Singapore sports fraternity. We are looking forward to the opening of the Sports Hub next year, which will also be the home of the new Singapore Sports Institute.
14. It will be my pleasure to welcome all of you back next year for its launch and a tour of the new home of High Performance Sport in Singapore.
15. The following year will see Singapore playing host to the 28th edition of the South-East Asian Games where we can expect more than 5,000 athletes from across the region competing in over 30 sports.
16. In closing I would like to offer my deepest gratitude to everyone for taking your time to share your knowledge and experience. To the organising committee, thank you for your hard work to make this event possible.
17. Have a great symposium and enjoy the rest of your stay in Singapore.