The Sports Excellence 2000 (SPEX 2000) programme was launched in 1993 by the then Singapore Sports Council (SSC, which was renamed Sport Singapore in 2014) to raise the overall standards of sports in Singapore as well as the competitiveness of Singapore athletes. As a talent development scheme, SPEX 2000 mapped out the strategic plan and direction to nurture and produce high-performance sports talents to compete in international competitions and games.
Prior to the introduction of SPEX 2000, there were a handful of schemes that provided financial support to aspiring athletes so as to develop and nurture sports talents for Singapore. Some of these schemes included the Special Training Assistance Programme in 1983, Sports Excellence Assistance Programme in 1987, Compensation for Loss of Income in 1992, and the Sports Excellence Assistance Programme for Schools in 1992. In addition, the SSC offered various awards such as the Sportsboy and Sportsgirl Awards, Certificates of Commendation, and the Overall Champion Constituency Award to athletes, coaches, constituency clubs and officials each year to recognise their achievements and dedication in sports.
SPEX 2000 aimed to raise the standard and competitiveness of Singapore athletes in seven core and seven merit sports that included swimming, water polo, table tennis and bowling. The SSC set up a talent identification programme to identify potential talents for each of the 14 sports. It also improved training facilities and recruited foreign talents to help raise standards in these sports. The SSC also revamped its various financial schemes with bigger grants and subsidies to encourage athletes to consider sports as a full-time career. Monetary rewards for athletes who performed well in international competitions were increased and improvements were made to the nation’s coaching programme to further raise the standard and quality of coaches. To measure the outcome of SPEX 2000, a target of a minimum of 25 gold medals at the SEA Games, four to eight medals with at least one gold at the Asian Games, and at least a medal each from the Commonwealth and Olympic Games was set.
In January 2000, SPEX 2000 was renamed SPEX 21. While the minimum medal count set by SPEX 21 for Singapore athletes in major games remained unchanged, more targets, such as qualifying for the FIFA World Cup by 2010, were included.
Today, the sports excellence programme is part of the High Performance Sports (HPS) system, managed by the SSC’s Singapore Sports Institute. Introduced in February 2013, the HPS system provides support for Singapore athletes through financial support schemes such as the Sports Excellence Scholarship, Sports Excellence Career Scheme and Sports Excellence Education Scheme. The HPS system also provides support in the areas of training, competition, coaching, sports medicine and sports science. The Singapore Sports Institute was set up in 2011 under the SSC with the objective of supporting and nurturing Singapore’s athletes through science and technology, providing access to information, nutrition and performance analyses that athletes could use to boost their training and performance.
1. Ministry of Community Development and Singapore Sports Council. (1993). Sports Excellence 2000 (pp. 7–8). Singapore: The Council. RSING 796.095957 SPO; Tay, C. K. (1993, December 7). SSC launches $10m Excellence scheme. The Straits Times, p. 30; Sahari, S. (1993, December 7). Wanted: $10m a year for Sports Excellence 2000 plan. The Business Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; De Cotta, I. (2014, March 18). Singapore Sports Council to undergo name change. Retrieved November 23, 2015, from Today Online website: http://www.todayonline.com/sports/singapore-sports-council-undergo-name-change
2. The Straits Times, 7 Dec 1993, p. 30; Spex 2000 scheme launched. (1993, December 7). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Sport Singapore (2015). Annual report 2013/2014 (p. 24). Singapore: Sport Singapore. Retrieved from Sport Singapore website: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/~/media/corporate/files/about/annual%20reports/sportsg%20%20annual%20report%2020132014.pdf
4. Chua, C. J. (1994). On track: 21 years of the Singapore Sports Council (p. 96) Singapore: Times Edition. Call no.: RSING 796.42 CHU.
5. Ministry of Community Development and Singapore Sports Council, 1993, pp. 9–11; Singh, S. (2000, January 17). Only yachting exceeds targets. The Straits Times, p. 39. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Ministry of Community Development and Singapore Sports Council, 1993, pp. 14–16.
7. Ministry of Community Development and Singapore Sports Council, 1993, pp. 12–13.
8. Singh, S. (2000, January 16). It's official: Olympic gold or bust, Singapore. The Straits Times, p. 46. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. The Straits Times, 16 Jan 2000, p. 46.
10. Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. (2013, February 26). Singapore High Performance Sports Steering Committee [Press release]. Retrieved from Sport Singapore website: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/newsroom/media-releases/2013/2/singapore-high-performance-sports-steering-committee
11. Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, 26 Feb 2013.
12. Sport Singapore. (2013, July 11). Opening Remarks By Mr Richard Seow, Chairman, Singapore Sports Council, At The Launch Of The 2013 Singapore Sports Institute Annual Symposium. Retrieved from Sport Singapore website: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/newsroom/speeches/2013/7/opening-remarks-by-mr-richard-seow-at-the-launch-of-the-2013-ssi-annual-symposium; Sport Singapore. (2015). Singapore Sports Institute. Retrieved on November 25, 2015, from Sport Singapore website: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/athletes-coaches/singapore-sports-institute
The information in this article is valid as at Nov 2015 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.