Singapore Sports Council



The Singapore Sports Council was established on 1 October 1973 following the merger of the National Sports Promotion Board and the National Stadium Corporation.1 The council aimed to promote sports to the masses as well as to nurture and develop sports talents. It was also the service provider of public sports facilities.2 On 1 April 2014, the Singapore Sports Council was renamed Sport Singapore to give the organisation a fresher and more vibrant image.3

Background
Following Singapore’s independence in 1965, the government began using sports as a tool not only to build a rugged and robust society, but also to encourage nation-building and foster racial harmony. To stimulate interest and participation in sports, it set up a sports division in 1966 under the then Ministry of Social Affairs. Subsequently, the government also requested communal clubs to accept users from all races, embarked on the plan to construct a national stadium, started physical education in schools and began building sports facilities in housing estates.4 To allow the ministry’s sports division to expand its role and enable it to better promote sports, the government reconstituted it as a statutory board known as the National Sports Promotion Board (NSPB) on 1 February 1971.5

The NSPB comprised representatives from various sports and government entities involved in sports promotion such as the Ministry of Education and the People’s Association, and was chaired by then Minister for Social Affairs Othman Wok. The board’s chief objective was to promote sports in Singapore for competition or recreational ends. One of its key roles was to work with various sports associations to organise competitions. Events that the board was involved in included the Singapore Grand Prix, Pesta Sukan (“Sport Festival” in Malay), inter-constituency games — which it had kick-started in 1972 — and the Southeast Asian Peninsular Games. The board also provided research support in sports and physical education, managed national sports facilities and trained sports instructors.6 In 1973, however, the NSPB was criticised in parliament for not doing enough in the promotion of sports.7


In 1973, after the NSPB and the NSC were merged to form the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), which was officially established on 1 October 1973, the National Stadium project came under the SSC’s purview. The National Stadium was previously run by the National Stadium Corporation.The SSC centralised all functions pertaining to the organisation and promotion of sports in Singapore.9

“Sports for All”
Since its inception, the direction and activities of the national sports body has been guided by a number of policies. The first was the promotion of sports to the masses – a plan mooted by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at the official opening of the National Stadium on 21 July 1973.10 Subsequently known as the “Sports for All” policy, it aimed to encourage the whole nation to keep fit and healthy by exercising and engaging in sports. The SSC set out to achieve this by creating awareness about the value of exercising, improving accessibility to sports facilities and promoting sports participation. In line with the “Sports for All” programme, many of the council’s early activities were mass sports events such as mass cycling, walking, jogging and swimming.11 It also introduced the “Learn-to-Play” scheme and the National Aerobic Fitness Award (NAFA) in 1976. Under the “Learn-to-Play” scheme, the public could attend courses to learn the basics of popular sports such as tennis, squash and swimming, while NAFA enabled the public to test and evaluate their physical fitness.12

Other than organising sporting and recreational activities, the SSC collaborated with other government agencies such as the Housing and Development Board, Urban Redevelopment Authority and Public Utilities Board to build more sports facilities for public use.13 This was carried out under the Master Plan on Sports Facilities, which comprised two phases covering the period from 1976 to 1990.14 With accessibility being a key consideration, public sports amenities were located within 3 km of housing estates and public transportation.15 Some facilities built under this masterplan include the nation’s first fitness park at MacRitchie Reservoir (1977), the Singapore Indoor Stadium (1989), Kallang Squash and Tennis Centre (1978) and East Coast Lagoon (1976).16


Besides constructing and managing sports facilities, the SSC continued its predecessor’s role in helping sports associations organise sports events.17 In recent years, the council has been involved in large-scale events such as the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, Asian Youth Games and the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010.18

“Sports for Life”
In September 1996, then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong launched the “Sports for Life” programme. Its main objective was to encourage Singaporeans – especially senior citizens, housewives and working adults – to maintain an active lifestyle throughout their lifetime by participating in sports.19 In line with the new impetus, one of the SSC’s strategies was to integrate and upgrade existing and new sports facilities into regional sports and fitness centres. In addition, the council continued its efforts to promote sports at all community levels through means such as mass sports events, inter-constituency games and various sports schemes.20

“Sporting Singapore”
In July 2001, the SSC adopted “Sporting Singapore” as its new strategic blueprint for the first decade of the new millennium. Mapped out by the Committee on Sporting Singapore, its objective was to turn Singapore into one of Asia’s top 10 sporting nations by 2010.21 The blueprint also aimed to bring sports development in Singapore to a greater level, such that the nation would have a higher sports participation rate, more talented sportsmen and sportswomen as well as a vibrant sports industry.22 The committee’s recommendations to achieve this vision include organising more sports activities for the masses, the expansion of the “Sports Excellence” programme and a sports industry that would be worth S$1.4 billion by 2010.23

Under the “Sporting Singapore” direction, the SSC carried out a number of large-scale projects and initiatives. For example, the Singapore Sports School was established in 2004 to enable students to pursue both academic and sports excellence. Team Singapore was formed in 2001 to unite and foster cooperation among Singapore athletes and stakeholders of Singapore sports such as national sports associations, employers, parents and the media.24 The SSC also unveiled the plan to redevelop the National Stadium into a multipurpose sports hub in 2005 as an impetus to inject growth into the sports industry. The resultant Singapore Sports Hub was completed in 2014.25


Sports excellence
In addition to promoting sports to the masses, another focus of the SSC was to nurture and develop sports talents. This focus was initially supported through a handful of schemes that provided financial support to aspiring athletes. Some of the schemes were the Special Training Assistance Programme (1983), Sports Excellence Assistance Programme (1987), Compensation for Loss of Income (1992) and Sports Excellence Assistance Programme for Schools (1992).26 In December 1993, the SSC went a step further in promoting sports excellence by introducing a comprehensive talent development scheme known as the Sports Excellence 2000 (SPEX 2000) programme.27


Under SPEX 2000, the council offered larger grants and subsidies to encourage athletes to consider sports as a fulltime career. Monetary rewards for athletes who performed well in international competitions were increased, while the nation’s coaching programme was also enhanced.28 The outcomes of SPEX 2000 were judged based on athletes’ achievements in major regional and international sporting competitions. In January 2000, SPEX 2000 was renamed SPEX 21.29

Today, the sports excellence programme is implemented under the High Performance Sports (HPS) system. Introduced in February 2013, the HPS system provides the pathway and support for Singapore athletes to achieve sporting success at major games. This is achieved through means such as financial support schemes and scholarships, as well as through structural support in the areas of training, competition, coaching, sports medicine and sports science.30 The system is managed by the Singapore Sports Institute, a unit set up in 2011 under the SSC.31

Vision 2030
The latest masterplan of the SSC is Vision 2030. It was adopted in 2012 to guide the council for the next two decades.32 In general, the aims of Vision 2030 are a continuation of the directions set by “Sporting Singapore”. It calls for the usage of sports to develop a healthy and resilient population, forge stronger ties among communities, ensure adequate access to sports for all and to create stronger partnerships among the various stakeholders of Singapore sports. These aspirations were summarised in Vision 2030 under four themes: “Future Ready through Sport”, “Sport without Boundaries”, “Sport as a National Language” and “Organising for Success”.33

Some of the initial programmes of Vision 2030 include the launch of the ActiveSG movement in April 2014 to encourage Singaporeans of all age groups to participate in sport, and SportCares in August 2012 to improve lives through sports charity programmes.34 The SSC released the Sports Facilities Master Plan in March 2013, which is aimed at rejuvenating existing sports facilities and building a new generation of sports and recreational facilities so as to enable wider participation in sports.35 Some upcoming projects include the Jurong Spring Community Play Field, which will feature sheltered playing areas and multiuse courts catered to users of all ages; and the regional sports centre in Punggol, which will be integrated with the Punggol Waterway Park and SAFRA clubhouse. This is to enable the sports centre to conduct a wider range of sports activities and events.36


Rebranding
On 1 April 2014, the SSC was renamed Sport Singapore to give the organisation a fresher and more vibrant image, as well as to align it more closely with its new slogan, “Live Better through Sports”.37




Author

Lim Tin Seng



References
1. Republic of Singapore. Government gazette. Acts supplement. (1973, September 21). The Singapore Sports Council Act 1973 (Act 44 of 1973). Singapore: [s.n.], p. 643. (Call no.: RSING 348.5957 SGGAS)
2. Singapore Sports Council. (1974). Annual report 1973 [Microfilm: NL 24055]. Singapore: Singapore Sports Council, p. 12.
3. De Cotta, I. (2014, March 18). Singapore Sports Council to undergo name change. Today. Retrieved from Factiva.
4. National Sports Promotion Board. (1972). Annual report 1971. Singapore: National Sports Promotion Board, p. 6. (Call no.: RCLOS 354.5957093 NSPBSA); More sports facilities. (1971, July 6). New Nation, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Parliament. Parliamentary debates: Official report. (1969, October 15). Second reading of the National Sports Promotion Board Bill (Vol. 29). Singapore: [s.n.], cols. 120–133. (Call no.: RSING 328.5957 SIN); Republic of Singapore. Government gazette. Subsidiary legislation supplement. (1971, January 9). The National Sports Promotion Board Act (Commencement) Notification 1972 (S 18/1971). Singapore: [s.n.], p. 358. (Call no.: RCLOS 348.5957 SGGSLS); National Sports Promotion Board. (1972). Annual report 1971. Singapore: National Sports Promotion Board, p. 1. (Call no.: RCLOS 354.5957093 NSPBSA)
6. Singapore Sports Council. (1974). Annual report 1973 [Microfilm: NL 24055]. Singapore: Singapore Sports Council, p. 7; Parliament. Parliamentary debates: Official report. (1969, October 15). Second reading of the National Sports Promotion Board Bill (Vol. 29). Singapore: [s.n.], cols. 120–133. (Call no.: RSING 328.5957 SIN)
7. Parliament. Parliamentary debates: Official report. (1973, March 14). Main and development estimates of Singapore for the financial year 1st April, 1973 to 31st March, 1974 (Vol. 32). Singapore: [s.n.], cols. 814–841. (Call no.: RSING 328.5957 SIN)
8. National Sports Promotion Board. (1973). Annual report 1972. Singapore: National Sports Promotion Board, p. 2. (Call no.: RCLOS 354.5957093 NSPBSA); Singapore Sports Council. (1974). Annual report 1973 [Microfilm: NL 24055]. Singapore: Singapore Sports Council, p. 5.
9. Parliament. Parliamentary debates: Official report. (1973, July 25). Second reading of the Singapore Sports Council Bill (Vol. 32). Singapore: [s.n.], cols. 1191–1195. (Call no.: RSING 328.5957 SIN); Republic of Singapore. Government gazette. Acts supplement. (1973, September 21). The Singapore Sports Council Act 1973 (Act 44 of 1973). Singapore: [s.n.], p. 643. (Call no.: RSING 348.5957 SGGAS)
10. Singapore Sports Council. (1983). Singapore Sports Council: The first ten years. Singapore: Singapore Sports Council, p. 16. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN); Government of Singapore. (1973, July 21). Speech by the prime minister at the official opening of the National Stadium. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
11. Singapore Sports Council. (1983). Singapore Sports Council: The first ten years. Singapore: Singapore Sports Council, pp. 16–17. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN); Accent will be on constituency games in new sports policy. (1973, July 26). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Singapore Sports Council. (1983). Singapore Sports Council: The first ten years. Singapore: Singapore Sports Council, pp. 17, 58. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
13. Singapore Sports Council. (1983). Singapore Sports Council: The first ten years. Singapore: Singapore Sports Council, p. 75. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
14. Priority for top sports. (1984, January 6). Singapore Monitor, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Sport Singapore. (2015). The national record, p. 22. Retrieved from Sport Singapore website: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/~/media/corporate/files/about/annual%20reports/sportsg%20%20annual%20report%2020132014.pdf; Tan, E. L. (1976, August 9). Plan for sports to reach out to masses. The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Singapore Sports Council. (1983). Singapore Sports Council: The first ten years. Singapore: Singapore Sports Council, pp. 75–79. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN); Planning for new era of sports. (1976, January 16). New Nation, p. 8; New centre opened. (1978, March 5). New Nation, p. 34; 7,700 at opening of East Coast Lagoon. (1976, June 2). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Singapore Sports Council. (1983). Singapore Sports Council: The first ten years. Singapore: Singapore Sports Council, p. 11. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN).
18. Singapore Sports Council. (2010). Annual report 2008/2009: The year we made front-page news. Again and again, p. 28. Retrieved from Sport Singapore website: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/~/media/corporate/files/about/annual%20reports/ssc%20ar%200809.pdf; Singapore Sports Council. (2011). Building a great sporting nation: Singapore Sports Council annual report 2009/2010, p. 33. Retrieved from Sport Singapore website: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/~/media/corporate/files/about/annual%20reports/ssc_annual_report_0910.pdf; Singapore Sports Council. (2012). Real people true sports: A year in the life of Sporting Singapore, p. 28. Retrieved from Sport Singapore website: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/~/media/corporate/files/about/annual%20reports/1011.pdf
19. Sreenivasan, V. (1996, September 30). $315 boost over 5 years for the sporting life. The Business Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan, D. (1996, September 30). Sports for all near every home. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Sport Singapore. (2015). The national record, p. 32. Retrieved from Sport Singapore website: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/~/media/corporate/files/about/annual%20reports/sportsg%20%20annual%20report%2020132014.pdf
21. Report of the Committee on Sporting Singapore. (2001). Singapore: Ministry of Community Development and Sports, p. 26. (Call no.: RSING 796.095957 REP)
22. Report of the Committee on Sporting Singapore. (2001). Singapore: Ministry of Community Development and Sports, pp. 24-25. (Call no.: RSING 796.095957 REP)
23. Report of the Committee on Sporting Singapore. (2001). Singapore: Ministry of Community Development and Sports, pp. 25–27. (Call no.: RSING 796.095957 REP)
24. Chan, T. C. (2001, October 23). School gets under way. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Wong, G. (2001, April 21). Team S’pore way to sports glory. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Report of the Committee on Sporting Singapore. (2001). Singapore: Ministry of Community Development and Sports, p. 80. (Call no.: RSING 796.095957 REP); Tay, C. K. (2005, April 5). 55,000-seat stadium for new sports city. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Boh, S. (2015, July 26). PM marks Youth Day, opens Sports Hub in front of 50,000 crowd. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
26. Sport Singapore. (2015). The national record, p. 24. Retrieved from Sport Singapore website: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/~/media/corporate/files/about/annual%20reports/sportsg%20%20annual%20report%2020132014.pdf
27. Ministry of Community Development and Singapore Sports Council. (1993). Sports Excellence 2000. Singapore: Singapore Sports Council, pp. 7–8. (Call no.: RSING 796.095957 SPO); Tay, C. K. (1993, December 7). SSC launches $10m Excellence scheme. The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
28. Ministry of Community Development and Singapore Sports Council. (1993). Sports Excellence 2000. Singapore: Singapore Sports Council, pp. 12–13. (Call no.: RSING 796.095957 SPO)
29. Singh, S. (2000, January 16). It’s official: Olympic gold or bust, Singapore. The Straits Times, p. 46. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30. 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
31. 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
32. Singapore Sports Council. (2012). Annual report 2012/2013, p. 2. Retrieved from Sport Singapore website: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/~/media/corporate/files/about/annual%20reports/ssc%20annual%20report%201213.pdf
33. Singapore Sports Council. (2012). Vision 2030: Live better through sports, pp. 4–6. Retrieved from Sport Singapore website: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/~/media/corporate/files/about/vision%202030/livebetterthroughsportsv2030steeringcommitteereport2012.pdf
34. Sport Singapore. (2015). The national record, pp. 44–45. Retrieved from Sport Singapore website: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/~/media/corporate/files/about/annual%20reports/sportsg%20%20annual%20report%2020132014.pdf; Sport Singapore. (n.d.). SportCares. Retrieved from Sport Singapore website: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/about-us/sportcares
35. Ministry of Culture, Community and Sports. (2013, March 15). MCCY COS 2013: Building a shared culture & engaged community [Press release]. Retrieved from Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth website: https://www.mccy.gov.sg/~/media/Files/Factsheet%20%20SFMP%2015%20Mar.ashx
36. Sport Singapore. (n.d.). Facilities Master Plan. Retrieved from Sport Singapore website: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/about-us/vision-2030/facilities-master-plan
37. De Cotta, I. (2014, March 18). Singapore Sports Council to undergo name change. Today. Retrieved from Factiva.



Further resources
Accent will be on constituency games in new sports policy. (1973, July 26). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.


Chua, C. J. (1998). A nation at play: 25 years of the Singapore Sports Council. Singapore: Times Edition.
(Call no.: RSING 796.095957 NAT)

Frida, E. (1971, January 19). Big move into sports HQ begins. The Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Going into the sports business. (1973, July 16). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Jalleh Jr., K. (1980, February 24). Sports facilities are so easily available in the Republic. The Straits Times, p. 27. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

New era for sports in Singapore. (1973, July 17). New Nation, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

On their toes. (1972, October 28). The Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Seneviratne, P. (1975, August 3). Sports – and it’s tremendous plus qualities [sic]. The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Yeo, W. (1982, August 9). Top three sports that keep us fighting fit. The Straits Times, pp. 48–49. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 18 October 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. 

Subject
Law and government>>Culture and community>>Sports policies
Sports and games
Recreation>>Sports
Streets and Places
Public institutions--Singapore
Sports, recreation and travel>>Sports
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
Sports and Recreation
Sports facilities--Singapore
Physical education and training--Singapore

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