News @ AsiaOne

Present training, future perfect?

Future athletes can now train in newly set-up youth sports academies. -TNP

Sat, Jul 31, 2010
The New Paper

By Melanie Chu

THE Youth Olympic Games (YOG) hasn't even started, but it has already inspired some teens to want to win medals for Singapore.

Kelly Tan, 13, is too young for this YOG as only those aged between 14 and 18 can take part.

But she hopes, with the help of youth sports academies (YSAs), to represent Singapore in badminton at the next YOG, which will be held in Nanjing, China, in 2014.

The YSAs provide more training at a secondary level for students.

Three of these academies - one each for badminton, table tennis and wushu - were opened last Friday.

They function as an extension of the 21 junior sports academies, which offer training at the primary level.

The YSA for badminton is at Bedok View Secondary School.

The one for wushu is at Meridian Junior College (MJC) and the one for table tennis is at the Co-curricular Activities Branch located at Evans Road.

Said badminton player Kelly, who is from Raffles Girls Secondary School: "If you want to represent Singapore, you must start training from young to get the fundamentals right.

"All my training will pay off if I play at the national level. It'll be worth the effort."

Aside from sessions with her school teammates three times a week, Kelly also trains twice a week at the badminton YSA.

Kelly said the YSA helped identify her weakness and coached her towards improving it.

"My stamina is not that strong, so I'm better at doubles. At the YSAs, they will have me play singles so I can work on my foot(work) and stamina."

Wayne Tay, 13, also looks forward to representing Singapore in the future.

Although wushu isn't a YOG sport, the Secondary 1 student from Anderson Secondary School is setting his sights on representing Singapore in wushu in competitions such as the South-east Asian Games.

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Wayne Tay, a Secondary 1 student from Anderson Secondary School, hopes to represent Singapore in wushu for competitions such as the South-east Asian Games. The 13-year-old currently trains six times a week, with each session averaging up to two hours.

His inspiration? The current national wushu team.

He said: "When there are better people around me, like the national team, it makes me want to improve myself."

Wayne trains six times a week, with each session averaging up to two hours.

This includes his weekly Saturday sessions at the YSA at MJC, which he has been keeping up since mid-April.

Mr Lau Wing Cheok, 46, a badminton coach at the badminton YSA is confident some students from the academies will participate in the next YOG.

But he will not pressure them to come back with medals, he said.

"To coaches, success is determined by the amount of effort put in. Medals are a bonus."

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This article was first published in The New Paper.

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