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New Year Resolution for 2008: Swim faster, Run longer, maybe return to cycling.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Singapore's Bid for the Youth Olympics - A Make or Break Situation

Singapore's bidding to host the inaugural Youth Olympics in 2010. First question to ask: Can we do it?

Off the cuff, it's a yes. We have the physical infrastructure (provided the Sports Hub is ready by then) and we certainly have the manpower resources (schoolchildren and NSFs will make the bulk of it).

But are we ready for it as a sporting nation? Before I answer this, let's look at several factors that might affect our chances of hosting.

1. Quality of athletes. We have athletes from many different sports. Are they good enough even for a sliver of hope within their specialities? Perhaps it's possible within the Asian context. It's a different ballgame altogether if pitted against the rest of the world. Maybe some 'sports' like bowling and snooker might make the cut, but how about traditional sports?

2. Support for athletes. It's so difficult to get funding and justification at the NSAs. There's so much politics. Sometimes you even wonder if the Sports Council is doing anything at all to facilitate (or are they just 'there' as a phantom authority of sorts)?

3. Community spirit. Lack of hype and exposure are perhaps the main cause for the lack of community spirit. Maybe it's how Singaporeans prioritise. Paper chase achievements are far more important than sporting achievements. That sucks because it only means personal pride rather than national pride.

4. Media priority and blackouts. Sure. Let's just concentrate on the English Premier League and David Backham's paltry performance with LA Galaxy. Forget about covering sports right in our backyard.

Honestly, we are a boring sporting nation. Check out how much pride we have? The best is perhaps a full turnout at the National Stadium during the Malaysia Cup days. But the Grand Old Dame will be torn down. Compare that with the Singapore Slingers of the basketball league. Did you even know that Singapore has a basketball team represented in the Aussie League? If you didn't, it's okay, coz you didn't miss much.

I'm sure there are many more reasons why Singapore might not be ready to host. The SSC has to go for a major overhaul. Staging the F1 is not going to cut it. Where's the oomph factor? Remember that the host country usually brings back alot of glory for the country in terms of medals and personal bests.

Can we do it? Honestly.

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