A total of 335 student-athletes were awarded the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship today, with sport climbers and ice skaters represented in the under-18 high performance category for the first time since the inception of the Scholarship in 2010.
The latest batch of scholars also include a bumper crop of 49 recipients in the under-18 high performance category.
This makes it more than 2,000 scholarships that have been awarded to young Singaporean athletes since the inception of the Scholarship. In total, the 2,093 scholarships amount to almost $6 million.
Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence was at the award ceremony as guest of honour, presenting the scholarships to recipients in the tertiary category.
Into its seventh year, the Scholarship is the brainchild of Mr Peter Lim who remains the largest individual donor to a sports scholarship in Singapore. Mr Lim was also present at ITE College Central to join Mr Ng Ser Miang, chairman of the SOF, and special guest and Indian shooter Mr Abhinav Bindra to present the scholarships to the deserving student-athletes.
To qualify for the scholarship, recipients have to meet a set of criteria, including scoring consistent results in relevant sports competitions to be eligible. A majority of the recipients come from financially-challenged backgrounds and demonstrate potential to excel in the sports they play.
This year, the SOF received 1,103 applications from 45 sports representing 189 schools in four categories: Primary ($1,000), Secondary ($2,000), Tertiary ($3,000), and under-18 High Performance ($5,000). A total of 335 athletes – 43 Primary, 95 Secondary, 148 Tertiary students and 49 under-18 High Performance – qualified for the Scholarship.
The Scholarship also supports athletes who are under 18 years of age on a high performance pathway. Forty-nine outstanding young athletes qualified for the high performance (under-18) category, including first-time recipient 17-year-old sport climber Mark Chan who is eyeing a podium position in the upcoming Asian Youth Sport Climbing Championship in Singapore.
Said Mark, “I hope to be able to use the money from the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship to pay for more overseas competitions, sports medicine treatment like physiotherapy and climbing equipment. With the support, I hope to have more competition exposure and prevent and manage my injuries and become a better athlete. I would like to qualify for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and 2020 Olympic Games in the future.”
Special guest Abhinav Bindra also shared his inspiring journey towards becoming a world champion and Olympic champion. The 34-year-old five-time Olympian became India’s first individual Olympic gold medallist after winning the men’s 10m air rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Games. Bindra will also meet the national shooting team at the Singapore Sports Institute tomorrow to share some tips and advice on shooting and competing at the elite level.
National shooter and thrice scholarship recipient Mohamad Irwan Bin Abdul Rahman (17), who recently set a new national record in the men’s 10m air rifle event, is aiming to qualify for the 2017 SEA Games, said, “The SOF-Peter Lim scholarship has allowed me to attend two intensive shooting training camps in Germany conducted by Heinz Reinkemeier, Abhinav Bindra’s former trainer. I’m really excited to meet Abhinav and ask him for some mental training tips.”
The audience were treated to a special recorded message from 2012 SOF-Peter Lim scholarship recipient, Olympic champion Joseph Schooling who offered advice to the athletes, “The Scholarship helps a lot of kids. Use it wisely, don’t waste it, make every moment count and keep doing yourself, your parents, your country and your friends proud.”
“We are pleased to welcome athletes from sport-climbing and ice-skating to the under-18 high performance category for the first time. Over the last seven years, our Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim scholarship recipients such as Joseph Schooling, Shayna Ng and Lau Ywen have brought tremendous glory to Singapore excelling in their sports on the world stage. We hope with the continued support from Mr Peter Lim, we are able to support more young athletes to aspire and follow in the footsteps of Joseph, Shayna and Ywen,” said Mr Ng Ser Miang, Chairman of the SOF.