First Center of Expertise for Disability Sports launched
Asia-Pacific, June 7 2016
SINGAPORE: The first Center of Expertise for Disability Sports was launched at the ActiveSG Sengkang Sports Centre on Tuesday (May 31), as part of plans to increase sports participation among people with disabilities.
It is the first of five centres, which will be set up by 2021, and will provide inclusive sports facilities and programmes for people with disabilities. The centres’ locations have been chosen strategically in five regions, to make them accessible to the people with disabilities across the nation. They will be located in Sengkang, Queenstown, Toa Payoh, Delta and Jurong West.
The centers will have disability sports programs and facilities like inclusive gyms that are accessible to people with disabilities.
The Sengkang centre will introduce the “Yes! I Can” Swim Programme for people with disabilities to learn aquatic movement skills. There will be three public programmes and one program for accessible education schools from June onwards.
Sport Singapore CEO Lim Teck Yin said: “The launch of this first Centre of Expertise at the ActiveSG Sengkang Sports Centre will be the first of more initiatives to come for para sports. In the coming months, selected ActiveSG Sports Centres and gyms will be retrofitted to be more inclusive.”
More para sports such as badminton, boccia, football and goalball will be introduced at different ActiveSG Sports Centres, Mr Lim said.
The Centres of Expertise are one of 18 recommendations by the Committee for Disability Sports, under the Disability Sports Master Plan. The Government announced during the Committee of Supply debate in April that it has accepted these recommendations, and will implement them in phases over the next five to six years.
The recommendations fall under three outcomes – expanding access and opportunities for persons with disabilities, developing organisation and professional capabilities, and building awareness within the community.
Besides improving access to sports facilities for people with disabilities, the master plan also includes support for selected schools to offer sports programmes for students with disabilities.
More emphasis will be placed on developing professional capabilities in disability sports. The volunteer base for disability sports will also be expanded, with opportunities for volunteers to take on the role of “sports buddies” to assist coaches and serve as training partners in the disability sports programs.
Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu, who launched the Sengkang Centre on Tuesday, said: “Through the Disability Sports Master Plan, we want to harness the potential of sport further by making it easier for those with disabilities to lead an active lifestyle. In time to come, Singapore will become a more inclusive society, where people of all abilities can enjoy sports together.”