Olympics: S’pore Gearing Up To Send Gymnastics Team To 2016 Games

SINGAPORE: Even as Singapore embarks on its Olympic quest in China, it is already looking ahead to the 2016 Games.

Singapore plans to win an Olympic medal for gymnastics in 2020. To prepare for that, it is planning to send gymnasts to the 2016 Olympic Games with the help of a top consultant from China.

Singapore gymnasts won four gold medals at the 2007 Korat Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, after winning three silver medals at the 2003 Games and two gold medals in 2005.

To help raise standards, a renowned consultant has been recruited. She is 65-year-old Madam Tian Ju Ping, who helped Australia raise its world ranking from 23rd to 6th in six years.

Madam Tian said: “Singapore has so many opportunities for gymnasts, so many good kids, the facilities are beautiful, you have so many Chinese coaches here, have some good techniques, but now you need the system.”

The Singapore blueprint covers budding gymnasts from ages 5 till 16. The consultant has been assured of support from the other stakeholders to make the 2020 goal achievable.

They include the Singapore Sports Council, Singapore Gymnastics and the Ministry of Education, as most of the athletes involved in this sport are of school-going age.

The blueprint has highlighted the need for facilities to be upgraded, while requesting for more manpower like coaches. But for now, the National Sports Association, or NSA, does not have a fixed budget to fund the programme.

Singapore Sports Council CEO Oon Jin Teik said: “Our initial kick-start of the support for the NSA is through the grant to the NSA to hire a world class consultant that can help us move the sport forward. How this sport eventually progresses, I think, we will review the funding and work with the NSA.”

The consultant is confident that if the Singapore blueprint has been put in place, Singapore will be within the top 12 teams by 2016.

– CNA/ir

Channel News Asia

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