30 June 10 The Straits Times by Wang Meng Meng
PROMISING athletes who struggle to achieve their sporting dreams have been given a boost.
A $10 million scholarship has been set up under the Singapore Olympic Foundation (SOF) to help fund the training and education costs of Singapore athletes.
The major sum, the first cash injection into the three-month old SOF, was donated by former remisier Peter Lim and is the biggest pledge by a single donor.
Known as the Peter Lim Scholarship, the fund was announced yesterday at a ceremony held at Raffles City attended by Deputy Prime Minister and president of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) Teo Chee Hean.
Also present at the ceremony were the SOF's board of directors - International Olympic Committee vice-president Ng Ser Miang, MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Michael Palmer, former Nominated MP Jessie Phua, SNOC secretary-general Chris Chan, KPMG managing partner Danny Teoh, Lim and Chan Lay Hoon, who sits on the board of several companies.
Lim, 57, said: 'I feel that if you're talented in sports, you should not be stopped from pursuing your dreams because of a lack of money. It is not easy to go into sports full time in Singapore.
'Among the existing sports scholarships, many are given out on a performance basis. You don't get the money if you don't win first.
'Hopefully, this funding will help create more awareness to fund sports talent.'
The donation has helped the SOF hit its target of raising $5 million to $10 million in its first year.
Mr Teo said: 'We hope that many successful Singaporeans will share Mr Lim's philanthropic drive and support for sports in Singapore.
'Mr Lim recognises the challenges faced by our young sportsmen and sportswomen, particularly those from low-income families. These athletes have to face the challenges and demands of academic studies with the rigours of intensive training. This scholarship aims to help these young athletes in their quest.'
Unlike other funding programmes such as the Olympic Pathway Programme, which caters specifically to help elite Singapore athletes win medals at the Olympic Games, the Peter Lim Scholarship is also open to aspiring sportsmen. Details of the scholarship will be finalised over the next few months but it is expected that student-athletes can expect to benefit most from it.
Ng said that the money may be used to train local athletes for major multi- sport events like the Olympics, Asian Games and future Youth Olympic Games and help fund their education, training and competition costs.
Out of the $10 million pledged to the SOF, Lim has already given $2 million. The remaining $8 million will be dispensed in annual payments of $800,000 over 10 years.
The SOF was launched in March by the SNOC to raise, manage, invest and distribute funds to promote the ideals of the Olympic Movement.
'I feel that if you're talented in sports, you should not be stopped from pursuing your dreams because of a lack of money. It is not easy to go into sports full time in Singapore.'
PETER LIM, explaining his $10 million donation to the SOF