Private investor and principal donor Peter Lim has pledged to continue supporting young Singapore athletes for another 10 years from 2021 to 2030 by donating a further SGD$10 million (£5.9 million/$7.4 million/€6.5 million) to the Singapore Olympic Foundation (SOF)-Peter Lim Scholarship.
Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat made the announcement during his speech at an awards presentation ceremony, where he was the guest of honour.
Lim will donate a separate SGD$20 million (£11.7 million/$14.7 million/€13.1 million) to start a new community project focused on helping children from less privileged backgrounds, to help them reach their potential.
Details of the project are due to be announced in the near future.
The new community project and the additional donation to the SOF-Peter Lim Scholarship will amount to a total commitment of SGD$30 million (£17.6 million/$22.1 million/€19.6 million).
In 2010, Lim donated SGD$10 million to the SOF to start a sport scholarship.
Since then, 2,642 scholarships worth SGD$7.2 million (£4.2 million/$5.3 million/€4.7 million) have been disbursed in four categories – SGD$1,000 (£590/$740/€650) in primary, SGD$2,000 (£1,200/$1,500/€1,300) in secondary, SGD$3,000 (£1,800/$2,200/€2,000) in tertiary and SGD$5,000 (£2,900/$3,700/€3,300) in high-performance under-18.
Recipients can use the monies to pay for their competition expenses, buy sport equipment as well as to cover school-related expenses.
To qualify for the scholarship, recipients have to meet a set of criteria, including posting consistent results in relevant sports competitions.
A majority of the recipients come from financially-challenged backgrounds and have demonstrated a potential to excel in their respective sports.
This year, 1,013 applications from 186 schools were received.
Out of these applications, 280 student athletes in 44 sports from 83 schools will receive scholarships to the tune of SGD$781,000 (£458,000/$575,000/€511,000).
A record number of 53 student athletes will receive the high-performance under-18 scholarships, including a figure skater, Pagiel Sng – the first in his sport as a SOF-Peter Lim scholarship recipient.
Recipients also include Southeast Asian Games aspirants as well as 2018 Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Youth Olympic Games athletes, such as table tennis player Koen Pang, swimmer Christie Chue and high jumper Kampton Kam.
They will benefit from a partnership with Thomson Medical to access sports medical services at Thomson Wellth’s Musculoskeletal Clinic, giving them quicker access to sports medical care and treatment that will help relieve pain, accelerate healing and prevent the recurrences of sports injuries.
On top of this, recipients will receive an exclusive lifetime membership to Thomson Medical’s Celebrating Life Loyalty Programme, granting them access to a comprehensive range of health and wellness services from Thomson Medical Group for life.
NorthLight School’s Mas Ridzwan Bin Mohamad Ali, a two-times secondary category recipient in 2016 and 2018 and the first cyclist to receive the high-performance under-18 award, said: "Sport has taught me many things including the importance of good nutrition, time management and responsibility.
"When I do well in my sport, I try to be a good example to young children and encourage them to take up cycling.
"I am very thankful to the SOF-Peter Lim Scholarship for supporting my passion in BMX cycling.
"One day I hope I can make it to the Olympic Games."
Another notable impact of the Peter Lim Scholarship includes the development of artistic swimming and fencing athletes in Singapore over the past nine years.
Athletes from these sports have been recipients since 2011.
In recent years, they have achieved significant milestones in their sport, including artistic swimmers' qualification for their first Asian Games in 2018 and Singapore’s fencers' international success on the cadet and junior stage.
Every year, a notable athlete or sport leader will attend the awards presentation ceremony as a special guest to share their journey and advice to the audience.
Swimming world champion and four-time Olympic gold medallist Libby Trickett of Australia answered questions from the recipients and shared her anecdotes from her career.
She also presented awards to athletes in the tertiary category.
Joining her on stage were Tan Chuan-Jin, Speaker of Parliament and President of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and Lim, who presented the awards in the primary and secondary categories.
After presenting the scholarships to those in the high-performance under-18 category, Heng was invited by Ng Ser Miang, chairman of the SOF and Executive Board member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), to present the IOC Trophy to Lim.
The IOC Trophy, themed "Olympism in Action" in 2018, was conferred to Lim by the IOC and the SNOC for his contribution to Singapore sport and the community.