Gymnastics hope for monetary boost

In 2010, the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) approved a three-year funding plan for Singapore Gymnastics (SG) worth between $500,000 and $1 million per annum.

The national sports association (NSA) will find out in the coming weeks just how much they will receive for the next cycle.

Speaking to The New Paper on the sidelines of the 5th Singapore Gymnastics National Championships at the Bishan Sports Hall on Saturday, SG president Philip Chan said: "The specifics for funding have yet to be ironed out.

"SG have been very fortunate to receive generous support from SSC in recent years. However, as they say, money is never enough and, like all NSAs, SG have submitted to SSC their request for FY 2013 annual grant and we are waiting for good news."

The NSA will meet with SSC officials on Thursday to find out what kind of impact initiatives like the Singapore Sports Institute Scholarship will have on a multi-year funding plan.

Said Chan: "The multi-year funding plan concept was mooted a few years ago but, since then, there have been some changes on SSC's side.

"While each discipline has different targets, one target for the women's artistic gymnastics side that we have been planning for is the 2016 Olympics, which we are on track for.

"We are not clear as to how the changes impact multi-year funding and we will need to discuss this with SSC for better direction."

Gymnastics was on the programme at the 2011 South-east Asia Games, which was jointly held in Jakarta and Palembang, in Indonesia.

This year's Games will be held in Naypidaw, Myanmar, from Dec 11 to 22 and the hosts have left the sport out of the programme.

That means SG will have to look to develop and blood athletes for the 2015 Games, which Singapore will host for the first time since 1993.

The 2015 SEA Games will have extra significance for the Republic as it will be the 50th year of independence.

Chan says the challenge is to keep a healthy pool of talent and keep the gymnasts in the sport.

He said: "Four years (from the 2011 SEA Games to 2015) is a long time in the sport. We will see a few new faces around by 2015 but, for now, we will have to keep them around long enough to see them compete in the future."

The pool of female athletes for rhythmic gymnastics is growing.

It is a relatively new discipline here, and, for the first time, the national championships - which will end next Sunday - have more female gymnasts taking part in rhythmic events compared to the artistic categories (125 to 114).

In 2011, Phaan Yilin and Ann Sim became the first rhythmic gymnasts to represent the Republic at a SEA Games, finishing fourth and fifth in the all-around, respectively.

SG have been working to grow the numbers and hope to have gymnasts ready for battle in a group competition in 2015.

If successful, it would be the first time there will be a group event in rhythmic gymnastics at the SEA Games.

Choy Kah Kin, who is co-head of SG's sub-committee for rhythmic gymnastics, said: "We are planning towards the 2015 SEA Games, where we hope to have a group event.

"Over the years, the standard has improved and we are seeing results from the programmes we have implemented.

"To have 125 participants at this year's national championships is quite a record."

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