Boost for twin gymnasts Phebe and Michele
At least 16 Kuala Lumpur-bound student-athletes receive SOF-Peter Lim Scholarship
The journey of an elite athlete is an arduous one.
Besides spending hours every day honing their skills, athletes also have to invest in equipment, training and overseas trips, among other things.
For rhythmic gymnast Phebe Lau, for example, a leotard suit can cost about $800, while the ball that she uses for her routine can cost some $180.
For the 16-year-old's parents, the cost is doubled as her twin sister Michele is also a competitive rhythmic gymnast.
Fortunately for them, a timely boost came yesterday.
The sisters, both Singapore Sports School students, received the Singapore Olympic Foundation (SOF)-Peter Lim Scholarship at ITE College Central yesterday.
The $5,000 award that each received will help defray costs of preparing for their South-east Asia (SEA) Games debuts in Kuala Lumpur in August.
"The scholarship definitely helps us to pay for the equipment, and also for training camps and competitions overseas," said Phebe, who is a minute younger than Michele.
The Lau sisters are among 49 recipients in this year's U-18 high-performance category, which includes at least 16 SEA Games-bound athletes such as sabre fencer Lau Ywen, 420 sailor Jodie Lai and swimmer Gan Ching Hwee, who made headlines at the Singapore National Age-Group Swimming Championships in March.
"I am quite excited about August already," said Ching Hwee, who turns 14 in July.
"I will be competing in the National Swimming Championships next month in preparation for the SEA Games, and the scholarship will help to cut my costs of training."
For the first time since its inception in 2010, high-performance scholarships were also given to athletes from sport climbing (Mark Chan and Emmanuel Ryan Paul) and ice skating (Cheyenne Goh).
In total, 335 student-athletes received $922,000 in cash scholarships yesterday in four categories - Primary ($1,000), Secondary ($2,000), Tertiary ($3,000) and U-18 High Performance ($5,000).
More than 2,000 scholarships, worth almost $6 million, have been given out since 2010.
The 90-minute ceremony was graced by Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung, Indian Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, Singapore's International Olympic Committee member Ng Ser Miang and tycoon Peter Lim.
Ng, also the SOF chairman, said: "Over the last seven years, our SOF-Peter Lim Scholarship recipients such as Joseph Schooling (swimmer), Shayna Ng (bowler) and Lau Ywen (fencer) 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."