Wheelchair tennis to get big push
Minister Fu sees new SportCares project key to a more inclusive society
A 10-week wheelchair tennis pilot project will be launched in December to engender a spirit of inclusiveness as well as providing an opportunity for more people to live better through sport.
A recurring programme could also provide an opportunity to scout for talents with the potential to be groomed as national athletes.
Organised by SportCares Foundation, the wheelchairs for this pilot project will be purchased through funds donated by the US Embassy in Singapore.
Costs related to coaching, transportation and other programme support will be covered through a donation from Porsche Asia Pacific.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said: "This new undertaking by SportCares demonstrates its commitment to serving society.
"Through social initiatives like the SportCares movement, we hope to have a more inclusive society where everyone has the chance to experience and even excel in sport.
"This new initiative by SportCares will reach out to even more Singaporeans with disabilities and inspire them to live better through sport.
Fu was speaking at a tennis clinic organised by SportCares for underprivileged girls in the community in conjunction with the appearance of star players from the WTA Finals at the OCBC Arena yesterday.
For the past year, SportCares has been running the Love Singapore programme for girls, in which participants learnt how to play tennis and become active contributors to the sporting community.
With support from SportCares, they volunteered at the South-east Asia Games in June and will serve as young ambassadors for Singapore at the Nila suite for athletes at the upcoming Asean Para Games.
Following up on that, the SportCares wheelchair tennis pilot will see six to 10 youths and adults with disabilities learning the foundation of wheelchair tennis from coach Sjaiful Sjahrin.
SportCares will work closely with the Singapore Disability Sports Council, schools, special needs groups and voluntary welfare organisations to develop this programme on a sustained basis.
"The average person may not expect that someone with disabilities would want to play sport," said 59 year-old Derek Yzelman, who has had polio since he was two.
"But I have refused to stay down. Playing wheelchair tennis and doing wheelchair racing have given me an immense amount of satisfaction, self-esteem and fitness over the years."