Calling out Straits Times for the “Team Singapore Report Card” published in their print newspaper, Facebook user Sharmaine Chan asked “Is this how we repay our athletes who dedicate their blood, sweat and tears to the sport they love?”
Ms Chan shared a couple of images on her Facebook page yesterday (12 December) of the so-called ‘report card’ that ST published in which they graded each sporting discipline in Singapore from A to F.
Pointing out that the single grading system across all sports – “A for excellent effort (aka you got a gold medal and hence you did our nation proud), F for poor performance (aka no medal and as such being a let down to the country)” – Ms Chan notes that ST seems to omit the fact that some of these athletes have to train for a competition at this level “with little to no support from organisation”.
She added that some of them even have to take time off work and dig into their savings to fund their own training.
Ms Chan continued: “This might not matter to some of you. Some of you might say – ya this is the system, we’ve been like that so long why bother to fight for it? But someone has to. And someone out of the sports circle has to – because these struggling athletes don’t get heard as much as they should.”
Ms Chan went on to criticise and question whose idea it was to come up with a report card for athletes, saying “If this is how you want to deter our future potential rising athletes from pursuing what they love because all they will get is a report card, then you’re doing one bloody good job guys.”
Similarly calling out the lack of support for athletes, Singapore People’s Party’s (SPP’s) Jose Raymond published a post on Facebook yesterday as well on the matter.
Mr Raymond who was a former sports journalist, said, “We label our National Sports Associations as having lost their innovation, or their desire, but then do we wonder whether more could have been done to provide them with the support they need to excel.”
He went on to talk about how additional funding is provided only for sports which have gold medal potential, leaving other athletes to pay for their own training, coaches and overseas stints to prepare for international events.
On the athlete grading system, he said: We come up with grading from As to Fs to illustrate how good or bad our athletes were, even without even stepping into their battle gear for a minute, to understand what they face.”
Mr Raymond went on to assert that “our athletes deserve our support, and regardless of how they performed, they are all we have”, adding that they are Singapore’s national talents.
“They sacrifice, they toil, at the expense of their jobs, their families, their lives. They need an eco-system which helps them develop,” he emphasised.
“They need a family of supporters around them. We are their family. The Singaporean family.”
Netizens call out ST for bad taste
Comments on Ms Chan’s Facebook post were mostly criticial of ST for the concept of the scorecard and lack of support given to athletes, saying it is done in bad taste:
Some suggested grading ST and their journalists on the same scale for the quality of their work in media:
Other’s reiterated Ms Chan’s point about the hard work that national athletes put in and how it is degrading for a national media outlet to criticise them in such a discouraging manner:
A couple of people pointed out the ‘unhealthy obsession’ Singapore has with grades:
However, there were a few people who felt that grading athletes is not a big deal and is even normal in sports, pointing out how other major sporting fields like football and Formula 1 have a similar process: