More sports at National School Games if virus stays contained
Education Minister Wong says more National School Games sports could resume
More sports may be included in the National School Games (NSG) later this year if the Covid-19 situation remains under control and with more people in Singapore getting vaccinated, Education Minister Lawrence Wong said yesterday.
At the NSG opening ceremony at Our Tampines Hub, he said organisers will continue to review the situation and it may also be possible to consider easing some safety management measures.
This year's Games, which started on Monday and end on May 27, feature only 12 of 29 sports - badminton, bowling, golf, gymnastics, rope skipping, sepak takraw, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo (poomsae), tennis, 3v3 volleyball and wushu - across the A, B and senior divisions.
It will see about 12,000 student-athletes competing, compared with the 60,000 usually involved in the three divisions plus the C and junior ones.
The C and junior divisions will kick off in Term 3, which starts on June 28.
The list of sports will be announced later.
Said Mr Wong: ''While we are resuming the Games, we are not doing it in the same fashion as before.
''We are adapting, we are putting in place precautions and many additional modifications.
''And that's because even though the infection is currently under control in Singapore, we are still not out of the woods.''
Safe management measures include limits on venue capacity and the absence of fans at the NSG.
Mr Wong recounted how when Singapore saw an increase in local cases earlier this year, the Games had to be deferred and ''there was a very real risk'' that it could be suspended again.
The NSG was halted twice last year, before it was eventually cancelled for the first time since it started in 1959.
Mr Wong, who is co-chair of the Covid-19 multi-ministry task force, said: ''Fortunately, thereafter we tightened up measures, we were able to bring down local transmission and keep it under control.
''After the Chinese New Year festivities, we have not seen any uptick in cases.
''At the same time, we have also started ramping up on vacci nation across the entire population and also among teachers to protect our educators as well as the students and school community.
''All that has given us confidence. I'm glad today we're able to finally proceed with the NSG.''
Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary) volleyball player Yap Sze Xuen, 16, was disappointed she would not get a chance to compete in a national championship - selected sports will feature only at the zonal level because of the large number of participating schools and shorter competition period - but understood the need for such restrictions.
Mr Wong also said that ''sporting excellence is not defined solely by achievements in the NSG; it has to go beyond that''.
He added: ''Cherish the bonds you have formed with your fellow teammates, your coaches and teachers, and even your parents, who have journeyed with you, and continue to give your best and keep striving for excellence in everything.''