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Singapore Sports School officially opens 2nd Apr 2004

Construction of the Singapore Sports School began in November 2002 and after 14 months, the S$75-million school complex[1] was officially opened on 2 April 2004 by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.[2] Located in Woodlands, the Singapore Sports School is an independent institution that offers an integrated and flexible four-year secondary education and sports training curriculum,[3] providing athletically talented young individuals with an opportunity to realise their sporting dreams and potential.

The idea of setting up a specially designed school to nurture gifted sporting youths was initiated by the Committee on Sporting Singapore (CoSS) in 2000. The school focuses on developing talents in eight sports disciplines: badminton, bowling, football, netball, sailing, swimming, table tennis, and track and field.[4]

The sports school embarked on a hiring exercise 11 months before its opening to recruit coaches and sports scientists to fill positions in its eight academies and sports science division.[5] This was in addition to the 12 academic staff already employed by the school.[6] In an effort to publicise and promote the quality of its educational and training programmes, the sports school held a presentation, The Making of Champions, at the Singapore Expo on 2 August 2003. The presentation, which was targeted at parents of Primary 4 to Secondary 1 students,[7] drew a large crowd of 3,000.[8]

Competition for the sports school was keen, which saw over 1,200 students signing up for the inaugural selection trials that were held in August 2003 to vie for 150 secondary one and two places.[9] The trials comprised “technical, psychological, physical and anthropometrical” tests, as well as an interview and a medical examination.[10]

On 5 January 2004, the pioneer batch of 140 students (109 in Secondary 1 and 31 in Secondary 2) started their first day at Singapore’s first specialised sports school.[11] Students stay in a boarding house and pay an all-inclusive monthly fee of between S$250 and S$500 that finances their tuition, accommodation, food and coaching.[12] Students receive five hours of academic instruction daily, fitted around training sessions, with lessons taught in discrete modules. Classes are also deliberately kept small with a maximum of 25 students per class so as to facilitate creative teaching and one-to-one coaching.[13]

1. Tan, Y. (2004, January 6). Sports school looks ahead. Today, p. 46. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. (2004, April 2). Speech by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong at the official opening of the Sports School on Friday, 2 April 2004 at 4.25 pm at the Singapore Sports School, 1 Champions Way. Retrieved June 3, 2014, from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline
3. Singapore Sports School. (2011). Our school overview. Retrieved March 21, 2014, from http://www.sportsschool.edu.sg/GeneralPageDetails.aspx?id=51
4. Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. (2002, March 18). Speech by Mr Abdullah Tarmugi, Minister for Community Development and Sports at the unveiling of the Sports School model on Monday, 18 March 2002, at 10.30 am at the Woodlands Civic Centre. Retrieved June 3, 2014, from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline
5. Sports school launches recruitment drive. (2003, February 14). The Business Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Quek, T. (2003, August 3). Sports School adopts creative teaching style. The Straits Times, p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Sports school to unveil plans for students. (2003, July 19). The Straits Times, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Sivakkumaran, G. (2003, August 3). Sports school off to a flying start. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Tan, W. B. (2003, September 20). Best friends make the leap into the sports school together. Today, p. 50. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Tan, Y. (2003, August 7). Sports school trials under way. Today, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. The Straits Times, 6 Jan 2004, p. 46.
12. The Straits Times, 3 Aug 2003, p. 1.
13. The Straits Times, 3 Aug 2003, p. 24.


The information in this article is valid as at 2014 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.

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