SOF-Peter Lim Scholarship to give out 'encouraging awards' in pandemic year

SINGAPORE – With Covid-19 bringing international and local events – including the National School Games – to a halt last year, the Singapore Olympic Foundation (SOF)-Peter Lim Scholarship will be giving out “encouraging awards” this year instead of scholarships.

The SOF said in a press statement on Saturday (Jan 9) that the disruption caused by the pandemic has affected the scholarship’s selection criteria, as achievements at these competitions would usually determine the eligibility of the applicants.

As a result, the foundation’s “encouraging awards” will look at alternative qualification criteria in its effort to continue to support aspiring student-athletes and to benefit those from financially challenged backgrounds.

The qualification criteria will be largely based on the applicant’s household income and a nominal activity in his or her sport. This means “good performance at inter-school (minimal zonal level) or equivalent competition(s)” for those in the primary, secondary , junior college/integrated programme/tertiary categories, said the statement.

Ng Ser Miang, chairman of the SOF said: “The values we hold in sport will tide us through these challenging times and continue to help us to forge ahead as we fight against the pandemic and poise for recovery.

“It is the desire of the SOF and Mr Peter Lim to continue to encourage and support young student-athletes, especially those from challenged backgrounds. With the revised criteria this year, we hope to reach as many eligible student-athletes as possible, and at the same time, continue to support their sporting aspirations.”

The amount of money awarded to each athlete will be reduced so that more recipients can qualify, said the statement. A total of $825,000 was disbursed to 289 student-athletes in 2020 across the four categories: primary ($1,000), secondary ($2,000), junior college/integrated programme/tertiary ($3,000) and high performance Under-18 ($5,000). That quantum has dipped by between 50 and 75 per cent this year to $250, $500, $1,000 and $2,500 respectively.

Established in June 2010, the scholarship has since handed out $8 million to 2,930 awardees from 54 sports. In July 2019, Singaporean billionaire businessman Lim pledged another $10 million to fund the scholarship until 2030.

Previous beneficiaries of the scholarship include Olympic champion Joseph Schooling (swimming), Shayna Ng (bowling), Martina Veloso (shooting), Shanti Pereira (athletics) and Adam Swandi (football).

Ng added: “We are grateful to Peter for his unwavering support and contribution of an additional $10 million to extend the scholarship till 2030, and to all in the sporting community for doing their best to continue to invest, care and develop the potential of our sporting talents. Their resilience will no doubt inspire many Singaporeans and encourage future generations of youth to play sport.”

Interested applicants can apply for the award at the Singapore Olympic Foundation’s website from Monday (Jan 11) till Feb 10, 4pm.

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