Olympic Beach Volley ball stadium on Copacabana beach at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Sports official voices out against the lack of live Olympic games telecast and Sport Singapore’s message to keep “neutral”

Mr Jose Raymond, a former journalist and press secretary to Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan spoke out yesterday on his Facebook account on the lack of live telecast for the Rio Olympics 2016.

In regards to comments made by Minister of Culture, Community, and Youth (MCCY) Grace Fu on Sunday, that the decision not to telecast the Olympics live from Rio was a ‘commercial one’, Mr Raymond wrote that the public, the sports fans and the sports fraternity does not in any way dispute that it is a commercial decision by the broadcasters not to telecast the Games live as it is up to the broadcasters, and in this case, MediaCorp to decide if it makes business sense.

jose raymond
Jose Raymond

However, as Mr Raymond pointed out, the government should still explain why it does not think that the live broadcast of Olympics will benefit Singapore sports, “in developing a sports culture, and in inspiring people to embrace sports as a way of life.”

He wrote, “The Government, through Sport Singapore and other national agencies like Singapore Tourism Board already support many other commercial events financially, especially if they are in line with achieving national objectives in some way. Just two such examples are the Formula 1 and the WTA Finals in Singapore.”

Mr Raymond also shared that he and along with few of other sports officials had received messages from Sports Singapore officials since the announcement of no live telecast, asking them to be neutral about the lack of live telecast.

He wrote, “One Sport Singapore official also told me that “this was ur PM’s decision” and asked me not to “play play”. As an elected member of the Singapore Swimming Association, representing the swimming fraternity, it is almost impossible for me to be neutral on this matter. Especially when Joseph Schooling’s finals for the 100m fly and 100m freestyle are at 9am and 10am respectively. Different time zone yes, but not at a time when Singaporeans are asleep. In fact, this would have been perfect for students in school, people at work and the community to gather and let the world pass by and watch history being made. Together.”

Mr Raymond further wrote, “With so much having been invested in sports development, sports infrastructure, in having our athletes prepare for the Olympics, and in trying to inspire a sporting culture in Singapore, perhaps the public should be told why the Government isn’t willing to invest in live broadcast for the Olympics, especially when this would have been a time for a nation to unite, for bonds to be built within communities, and for a sports culture to be further enhanced.”

Friends of Jose largely agreed with his views on the matter.

Jacqueline Chia wrote on the post,

If these sports officials truly and sincerely supports the live telecast “Our PM would have made a positive decision” so much have been spent in building the sports hub and improving sporting infrastructure into promoting. Unless from a business point of view, it made no “CENTS” for these for sponsors and broadcaster. I’m in utterly disappointed and in disbelieve that this is happening.

My children age from 8 to 18. All 5 of them were looking forward to supporting Joseph and watching him LIVE from RIO. Im ready o take them off school. I have been a swim parent for the 11 years and I have seen how the sporting scene in Singapore have evolved and people who have been working tirelessly and endlessly in trying to make that change and give our young sporting talents an opportunity to learn and compete at world class level. With volunteers who holds full-time jobs and are the driving force behind a better sporting Singapore.

Volunteers who are passionate and dedicated to their sport. Parents and children alike who have made sacrifices to follow their dream and making things happen for Singapore!

How can one stay neutral when the whole sports fraternity work their butts off and athletes who have put their heart n soul into representing Singapore and making our nation proud! The athletes who have come a long way and at this point of time I feel whoever’s responsible for making that decision of a late telecast is doing injustice to all sporting athletes and their fraternity and most of all to the parents and sporting fans who would have been proud to watch their children/ athletes competing at world class level come win or lose… Because they deserve every second of it. Period.

Another, James Lim wrote,

“Jose, I am with you on this. It’s not alright for SportSG to ask you to be neutral on such a matter that has wide public interest, and also your position as a direct stakeholder in swimming matters.

Joseph Schooling’s achievement is probably a miracle that may not happen again. Singapore has dominated swimming meets at the regional level but never at the Olympics level.

I agree that there are commercial considerations and I don’t even disagree with the decision not to pay the ransom or highway robbery.

Sports officials and the public should be encouraged to share their thoughts and perhaps achieve some national consensus or shared ideas on the issue

If SportSG has indeed gagged the NSA officials, it is a disservice to the conversations we are having on SGfuture. Or am I mistaken that the conversation is supposed to be one way with the public not encouraged to speak up?”