Para sports need more support
SDSC hopes role models such as Yip can encourage more corporations to come forward
Sports need icons and Singapore's para-sports fraternity have role models in the likes of Paralympic champion Yip Pin Xiu, her fellow swimmer and Paralympian Theresa Goh and gritty table tennis player Jason Chee.
And it is through the exploits of such athletes that the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) hopes to leverage on and encourage more corporations to come forward.
In March, SDSC president Kevin Wong launched an ambitious $20 million, four-year blueprint.
The goal was to not only increase participation rates in sports among people with disabilities, but also beef up the support and development framework for the athletes.
Wong, who is also the chairman of the Singapore National Paralympic Council, said: "We have not reached the $5 million that we want every year but, definitely, we will push even harder next year.
"Companies see value in what athletes stand for, values like determination, courage and fighting spirit.
"Companies are looking for icons, athletes people look up to and feel inspired (by).
"And we hope to fill that need that companies have by providing opportunities to be part of the athlete programme."
The SDSC currently receives $1.4 million a year in annual funding from the Government, with an additional $1 million raised via sponsorships and donations.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu praised the grit of her audience in her speech at last night's Athletes' Achievement Awards for participants of the Kuala Lumpur Asean Para Games.
Singapore won 10 gold, 18 silver and 24 bronze medals last month.
Ms Fu said: "The journey wasn't an easy one, it was arduous and punishing, but to see you flying the Singapore flag so high at the Games brought chills to my spine."
The ceremony at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre saw gold medallists awarded $2,000 and $3,000 for each individual and team title respectively.
A total of $19,000, sponsored by Tote Board and NTUC, was presented to nine medallists.
Twenty per cent ($3,800) of the total quantum would be channelled back to the SDSC for training and development support.
Yip, who will be the country's chef de mission at December's Asian Youth Para Games (AYPG) in Dubai, received the Singapore flag from Ms Fu last night.
The 25-year-old and triple Paralympic champion said: "I hope the athletes can train hard, recover well and do the best that they can.
"As long as they put in their best effort, I will be happy with the results."
Making her AYPG debut will be swimmer Danielle Moy, who bagged a gold (women's 200m freestyle S14) and two silvers (100m free S14 and 50m free S14) in KL. The 18-year-old will compete in three events (200m free S14, 100m butterfly S14 and 200 individual medley SM14) at the Dec 10-14 APYG meet.
She said: "I've been training hard. My targets are to break my personal bests and get into the finals."