30 June 2011

customised training programme for selected Singapore Sports School athletes

Target: World's Top 100@straits times

A SELECT group of student-athletes at the Singapore Sports School (SSP) will be put on a customised training programme aimed at moulding them into being among the world's best.

For these athletes, just donning national colours will not be enough.

'This project hopes to see its student-athletes reach top-100 world ranking standards from 2015,' said SSP principal Deborah Tan yesterday when announcing the School Within A School programme.

'While we continue to be a major pipeline for the Singapore national team... our school has yet to produce players that can achieve significant breakthroughs in the open category on the international stage.'

For now, SSP's tie-up is with the Singapore Badminton Association, Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) and the Singapore Golf Association.

Eighteen students from these three National Sports Associations are on the programme.

'We're going with a modest start for now,' said Tan. 'If the programme holds up very well, there's no reason not to include more talented student-athletes into it.'

She added that the SSP is also looking at introducing other sports to the programme.

Funding for the programme will come from the $35 million EW Barker Endowment awarded to the SSP last year.

Training for this elite group will last longer than usual and will take place in the day, with schoolwork at night.

They will also get a team of coaches, sparring partners and teachers. There will just be three to five students in a class. The usual class size in the SSP is about 25.

These athletes' academic and sporting performances will be key to their continued stay in the programme.

For shuttler Fiona Seah, the biggest adjustment will not be the training but the night classes.

Said the 16-year-old: 'Training will probably be tougher, but it's going for lessons at night that I will have to get used to.'

Echoing this view, paddler Darren Loy said: 'It'll be tough to go for lessons after a whole day of intensive training.'

The 13-year-old has the full backing of parents Loy Soo Han and Jing Junhong - both former national paddlers.

Jing, who is also deputy head coach for the national women's table tennis team, said: 'As a parent, I also have my concerns about academics. But it's about quality, not quantity.

'It's even better now as you have a teacher to concentrate on just a few students.'

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