Are we supporting aspiring athletes enough for them to reach the podium at the next Olympics?
Aug 13 marks the day of Joseph Schooling’s historic win at the Rio Olympics. Since then, Singaporeans have been quick in showing their support for the golden boy, with many taking to the Internet to leave words of admiration, or lining the streets to catch a glimpse of him during his victory parade.
Beyond inspiring celebrations, the ripple effect of Joseph’s victory is felt most by aspiring young athletes who are beginning to consider going into sports more seriously.
What’s going on?
With Joseph bagging Singapore’s first-ever gold Olympic medal, many young sportsmen and sportswomen are now inspired to become the next big professional athlete to bring glory to the nation.
One example would be Sashen Jeremiah Murali, a 9-year-old boy dreaming of becoming a sprinter. Seeing his determination, his mother now has plans on enrolling him in a private athletics coaching school to pursue this dream, despite it costing $100 per month.
Many Singaporeans believe Joseph paved the way for many local Olympics champions to come, as his victory has given many aspiring athletes hope.
However, some remain skeptical about more Singaporeans taking up sports as a career, hoping to become the next Olympics champion. One major reason for this concern is the fact that most do not have access to the resources that Joseph had.
22-year-old National University of Singapore (NUS) student, Tan Ming Jian, said: “I think amidst all the excitement, many should keep in mind that Joseph Schooling is an exception – his family had the resources to support him, and it is something that not all Singaporeans can afford.”
Indeed, Joseph’s parents had spent nearly S$1.4 million (US$1 million) on his expenses during his training in the United States.
Not all athletes have access to such resources. Fellow Olympian and SEA games gold medallist Sayidah Aisyah had to make use of crowd-funding campaigns to pay for her trainings for the Rio Olympics games.
Even though she wasn’t able to advance to the semi-finals in the games, many Singaporeans expressed their admiration for her determination, and urged more support to be given to Singapore’s first-ever Olympic rower.
What’s your take?
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