IN FOCUS: Sport for people with disabilities and the pursuit of excellence and equality in Singapore

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This sentiment was echoed by Ang Kee Meng, who is the able-bodied rider of cyclist Steve Tee. Ang and Tee competed in Tokyo, winning two personal bests in one of the events.

“Especially in Singapore, corporate sponsors don’t see the ROI (return on investment) because… in Singapore the culture of sports sponsorship is not there,” he noted.

“Our culture is such that it is very merit-based. So you have to have some merit before people actually start to recognize you. Even go to a large At games like (the) Olympics and Paralympics, people might just see, “Oh, these guys are just participating”. But getting on the podium is another different ball game.

However, Ang hopes that will change after Tokyo 2020.

“The main reason is that they can’t commit because it’s hard for them to see a return on their investment or whatever, is that there is too little traction in the parasport this and that. But I think with Tokyo and with COVID-19 because people can’t travel, they’re all glued to screens, ”he explained.

“It’s a good thing because that’s how the coverage of the Tokyo Olympics was so good that a lot of people actually knew the Singapore parasport was there and doing great. So I think it’s a good lever for me to also talk to the sponsors.

THE PRESS FOR EQUALITY

The integration of sports for people with disabilities into traditional national sports associations (NSAs) is another initiative that the SDSC is considering in the future.

To date, two NSAs – Fencing Singapore and the Equestrian Federation of Singapore – are members of the SDSC and are committed to including disabled sports in their agenda, Ms. Fan noted.

“Right now you can see NSAs really evolving, saying that they are more and more educated and saying that mainstreaming is something that they are ready to consider,” she said.

“It still takes time for the system to change, but we see it as a long-term plan that also shows that Singapore is improving, evolving.”

At the same time, it must be a process that is started with care, she noted.

This integration is an initiative that Yip also defended. However, she too urged caution.

“It’s not as simple as it looks, because at the end of the day of course there is the dream scenario where they play disabled sports and treat disabled sports the way they treat them. all other sports under their arm. This is the dream scenario, but I think it is important that they are guided at first so that we… protect the interests of disabled sports, ”she said.

“Finally, when we know that they are ready, that they are ready and that they see an importance in it, then they can take it fully. They must be able and they must be willing… They must also want to do it. , and we hope that day will come as soon as possible.

Discussions of equality between the two have also been all over the online sphere lately – particularly the disparity between Major Games Award Program (MAP) cash rewards for able-bodied athletes and the AAA for para. -athletes.

Speaking in parliament earlier this week, Culture, Community and Youth Minister Edwin Tong revealed efforts are being made to increase cash rewards for para-athletes in major games.

Mr. Tong explained that since the establishment of MAP and AAA, the awards have been fully funded by private sponsors. The difference between the cash prizes does not reflect the value the government places on able-bodied athletes and para-athletes, he said.


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