Some came with questions, others wanted to have an exchange of ideas and opinions, while others simply wanted to let off some steam.
But which ever you look at it, the public dialogue session at *SCAPE Warehouse on Wednesday night was a generally fruitful affair for the steering committee of Vision 2030 as they sought to fine tune the 19 preliminary recommendations unveiled in February as part of Vision 2030′s mapping out of a blueprint for Singapore’s sporting landscape for the next two decades.
Chaired by Vision 2030 steering committee chairman and Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing, together with fellow steering committee members in Singapore Sports Council (SSC) chairman Richard Seow and SSC CEO Lim Teck Yin, the two-and-a-half hour session was frank and candid.
Issues such as National Service, governance of National Sports Associations, making sports a viable career, athlete and coaching pathways, creating a sports industry, sports volunteerism, attracting more women to sports and changing mindsets, particularly of parents towards their children doing sports, were discussed.
No surprise in that, but the bottom line was that the session showed people still cared about sports here, in spite of the usual, almost daily criticism of the state of Singapore’s sports scene and how it is being run.
We all know what needs to be done, and one of these key things is getting more corporations involved in local sports, not as a form of corporate social responsibility, but as a real business investment, a branding exercise where they see sports and athletes as an asset that deserves to be leveraged on to bring more publicity and profile for their own products and businesses, and to see the hiring of athletes not as a liability but an asset to their companies.
Singapore has excelled in areas such as the aviation, maritime, financial, petrochemical and education sectors, evident in its world-class airport, education system and port facilities, and that is largely because there was a commitment to make it work, and a commitment to create the suitable conditions to make it happen.
The same can and should apply to sports. But there must be a collective will and desire from all involved, from athletes, coaches, parents and NSAs to inter-government agencies and corporations and other stakeholders to want to make it happen, be it producing top athletes who excel at international competitions, to being a vibrant research and development hub for sporting brands and making sports a natural part of everyday life.
We have the desire. The key now is the will to implement what needs to be done.
We have to be all in on this. After all, we are Team Singapore.