Sports help define a nation's identity. Sports bring people together in ways that go beyond race, culture, gender or socio-economic status. Therein lies the underlying purpose and vision for the Participation pillar at the SSC.
Sports should be a way of life for everyone, not just the athletically gifted. At the SSC, we know that it's better for Singapore as a society, and it's better for our sporting fraternity. The bigger our pool of young entry-level athletes, the greater are our chances of developing a world champion in the future.
Starting early, with the kids, may be our best opportunity to expand Singapore's participation in sports. But it's not our only one. At the SSC's Sports & Recreation Centres, we offer Learn-To-Play schemes for the general public of all ages.
However, the SSC's participation team doesn't rely solely on the sports facilities to reach out to Singaporeans. They pursue different population segments through targeted lifestyle marketing, sports-friendly infrastructure and collaborative partnerships with other government agencies and private sector service providers.
Our efforts are showing results. In 2002, only 38% of Singaporeans participated in sports. The National Sports Participation Survey in 2005 shows a vast improvement in trends, with almost 50% of all Singaporeans doing some form of sports once a week.
We were able to turn the trend by understanding the link between lifestyle choices and sports participation. People take up sports with different goals in mind. Thus, we have customised our sports awareness programs for different segments to expand our reach. We have sports programs specifically for women, children, youth and working adults.
We also make sure that we have a calendar of events that can be enjoyed by everyone. Not only is participation rising at events such as the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon and the OSIM Singapore Triathlon, spectatorship is rising sharply, too! Whether it's the Barclays Singapore Open for golf, the AVIVA Singapore Open for badminton or the Singapore Slingers for basketball, Singapore's sports fans simply have to be there for the action.
When promoting sports to a multicultural, multigenerational market, we know that one size does not fit all.