From this year, Sport Excellence scholars who are entering NS will remain on the scholarship programme as long as they continue to deliver and perform, he added.
Under the programme, scholars receive monthly allowances of up to around S$8,000, as well as support in education, sports science and nutrition.
The revision will see national swimmers Quah Zheng Wen, Darren Chua, and Jonathan Tan return to the programme.
They had relinquished their scholarships upon enlistment. Mr Tong highlighted Mr Zheng in particular, noting that he has been a Sports Excellence Scholarship recipient for nine years. He enlisted in NS in 2021 when his deferment period ended, Mr Tong noted.
COMMITMENT TO SPORTING ASPIRATIONS
Singapore Sports Institute chief Su Chun Wei said that the change signals Singapore’s commitment to both NS and the sporting aspirations of athletes.
“We can continue to monitor them, support them and the transition out of NS will be more seamless and they can continue to perform well at the kind of levels that we want them to be, at the Asia or the world level even after NS,” he said.
Athletes require a level of training to maintain a certain level of competitiveness, Mr Su noted.
“We will calibrate this according to what is minimally required and work with MINDEF (Ministry of Defence), Home Team … to make a plan that is both fulfilling the NS obligations and also their training and competition,” he said.
“It varies from sport to sport. Not all sports require the same amount of time or sessions,” he said, adding that such details will be calibrated based on the athlete’s performance profile and potential.
LARGEST COHORT OF RECIPIENTS
At the event, 105 athletes from 24 sports were unveiled as recipients of the scholarship, the largest cohort since the programme was launched in 2013.
The Singapore Sports Institute’s Mr Su said that this year’s athletes represent a combination of good performance potential.
“This represents an elevation of the overall performance levels of our athletes at Asia and at the world level,” he said.