SSC lacklustre commitment to groom local talents

By Irene Choo

The recent string of bad press about Singapore Sports Council (SSC)’s nonchalant attitude towards our home grown elite athletes may be just the tip of “indifference iceberg”, and a glimpse of their lacklustre commitment to groom and nurture local talents. There could be more unreported negligence than what we know now.

Take the example of the sport of figure skating in Singapore. Figure skaters are forced to buy “Exclusive Ice” at $54/hour, which is 9 times of what public skaters are paying to train in our National Sporting Facilities, namely, The Rink at JCube, developed under the Community/Sports Facilities Scheme (CSFS), a non-profit operating model that “seeks to reach out to the whole skating community from the beginner to high level skater”. Such prohibitive admission fees imposed on figure skaters is extraordinary, if not rare in the rest of the world; and poses a major barrier to entry, threatens efforts to build a sustainable pool of local talents, and betrays the trust we have in our commitment to “open meritocracy” and “guard against elitism”.

But does SSC care? NO.

Senior representatives of SSC suggested to participants to “choose a cheaper sport”, “sell away their house” or “leave Singapore for a cheaper country” to train if affordability is an issue during a dialogue on Oct 9th, 2013 co-chaired by SSC and SISA (Singapore Ice Skating Association).

SSC remains silence on our requests for a copy of the voice record and minutes of the above said meeting.

How could we ask our youth to quit and abandon our home country so thoughtlessly? Is this in-line with the policy to “keep all paths upwards open to all” and “foster a fair and inclusive society” as promised by our PM Lee during the 2013 National Day rally?

If SSC truly intends to achieve the goal of “inspiring Singaporean” and “uniting communities through sports” and build a “deep and sustainable sporting culture”, it must step up effort “to create access, opportunities and capabilities for individuals to live better through sports” and stay true to its commitment to help “talented and committed Singaporeans meet their sporting aspirations”.

[spacer style=”1" icon=”none”]

Irene has also included changes of the rates of the rink made since the dialogue with SSC.

1. The Rink (JCube) now provides private 1-1 lesson on segregated 1/3 portion of the ice on certain ice session.
  • Coach Fees – $30/15mins
  • Admission – same as public $12/hour for students

The arrangement is only suitable for beginners or elementary and below students.

2. SISA now provides a few Private Ice session on regular opening hours. But the rate is still $54/hour and special competition practice price at $85/hour.

SSC & SISA charges are based on “cost recovery” policy but could not verify their claim as there is no concrete data on the rental cost, unlike SIHA (Singapore Ice Hockey Assoc) whose financial statement printed clearly the expenditure of ice rental ($321,225) vs ice income ($133,512).  From there, it can inferred that ice hockey players received a subsidy of approx. $187,713 for the year 2013.