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Putting Sport First

Shirley Tan-Oehler
Senior Manager, Strategic Communications

Posted: 6 March 2015

(From left) Olympians Tao Li, Calvin Kang Li Loong, Mylene Ong Chui Bin and Dipna Lim Prasad, and bowler Jazreel Tan Shi Hua.

Review Of Singapore Sports School

Bowling alumnus Jazreel Tan Shi Hua and national swimmer Joseph Isaac Schooling are at the top of their sports because their schools put sports first while wrapping their academic needs around them.
The success of Jazreel, and others such as Olympian swimmers Tao Li and Mylene Ong Chui Bin and athletes Calvin Kang Li Loong and Dipna Lim Prasad, is testament to what Singapore Sports School has been doing right in the past 10 years and should continue to do. Joseph, who studied at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), went to The Bolles School, then to University of Texas at Austin where he is currently studying.
Mr Lawrence Wong, Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth, speaking on the side lines of The Straits Times Athlete of the Year presentation on 5 March 2015, said: “If you look at Jazreel and Joseph, they went through a system whereby they had a lot of focus in sports. Their studies were wrapped around a programme that allowed them to focus on their sports training.”
Joseph was named The Straits Times Athlete of the Year for his swimming achievements in 2014.
At the Sports School, Jazreel was on a through-train programme leading to the Auckland University of Technology Diploma – as were Calvin, Dipna, Mylene and Tao Li. Dipna graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Science and Management from Nanyang Technological University in 2014; Calvin is pursuing the same degree and he is in his final year. Mylene and Tao Li are both pursuing the Business Management degree from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University via SIM University. Jazreel went to Wichita State University and graduated magna cum laude in May 2013.
Mr Wong added that the Sports School will be exploring tie-ups with more polytechnics for through-train programmes that are uninterrupted by national examinations so as to allow student-athletes to fully develop their sports.
“The idea is to have more six-year through-train programmes in the Sports School. It can be an IB programme, it can be a through-train programme that is linked up with a local polytechnic or local institution, so that they have assurance that they can go through six years of studies and they don’t have to worry about having to sit through a national exam, no need to worry about admissions to the next level. But, that would be wrapped around a programme that will allow them to train hard and focus on their sports.
“Beyond this six-year through-train programmes in the Sports School, we are looking at also having more linkages with local and overseas universities. If the student-athletes are good, they may even be able to get into overseas universities on sports scholarships. That will also again give them wider exposure, more opportunities to develop their sporting aspirations. So that is something we are working on through the Sports School Review. It is part of wanting to leave behind a legacy for high performance sports development after Singapore 2015 Sea Games.”
Mr Yip Ren Kai, Chairperson of the Singapore National Olympic Council Athletes’ Commission, said the Athletes’ Commission has similar objectives to the strategies shared by Mr Wong, which includes helping athletes to plan better and stay in sports longer.
“Often, athletes think they can compete for an unlimited period of time. We all know this is not possible. The extended pathway will really help them to plan for the future. The partnerships with Institutes of Higher Learning can help them plan which route they want to take and prepare them for the workforce. We need to equip our athletes with life-skills and prepare them for life after sports,” said Mr Yip, a former national water polo player.