Photo credits: http://sng.myactivesg.com/games-info/logo-n-mascot
Held bi-annually since 2012, the Singapore National Games (SNG) was conceived with the objective of encouraging sporting talents to compete at the national level, as well as to nurture school athletes, thus promoting sports in Singapore.
Open to Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and Foreigners, there are 12 sports available in 3 categories – Junior, Open and Masters. The age range for the various categories depends on the individual sports. Each sport also has its own set of rules and regulations. Athletics, Basketball, Badminton, Bowling, Futsal, Hockey, Netball, Sepaktakraw and Volleyball...these are just some of the sports that one can choose to compete in.
With more than 6,000 participants taking part in the SNG this year, it is no mean feat for the organisers of the event. Competitions are spread across different venues, ranging from the Sports Hub at Kallang, to Orchid Country Club (Bowling) as well as the Water Sports Centre (Dragon Boating).
It costs a flat rate of $10 per person per event, regardless of whether you are registering for an individual or team event. There is no restriction on the number of sports that one can compete in. It is also not necessary to represent a club, community, school or company, but each participant has to be registered under any of the following 5 zones: North, West, East, Central or Northeast.
Photo credits: http://sng.myactivesg.com/gallery/photos
So does the National Games really serve it's purpose? We speak to two athletes from different sports to hear about their experience at the SNG 2014 and to get their views on how it helps to promote sports in Singapore.
1.Alvin Lin, Engineer
Photo credits: http://sng.myactivesg.com/gallery/photos
Events: Long Jump (Bronze), Triple Jump (Gold) - Open Category
Q: What motivated you to take part in the SNG this year?
A: The money! I signed up on the last day of registration after reading the news on how cash prizes will be offered this time. But it was offered to those competing in the Juniors category ultimately.
Q: You seldom see people still so involved in competitive sports above the age of 30.
A: No but there are actually people around my age or older who are also competitive in track. 2 of them even went to the SEA Games last year.
Q: Do you think it's a good way of getting Singaporeans interested/involved in sports outside of the professional arena?
A: Well firstly I have only taken part in athletics, and have not participated in the SNG for other sports. For athletics, the publicity 2 years back was actually quite poor. While my friends and I were actually quite excited and were considering forming a relays team to compete, a spanner was thrown in the works due to the zonal separation.
This year, you get to choose which zone to represent which is much better for relays, though my friends have lost some of their initial enthusiasm.
I would think it is a good platform to encourage past athletes or even very late bloomers to compete and have their family members come and support their mums, dads or even grandparents. It has a rather carnival-like atmosphere to it, though perhaps more can be done to make it even more like a carnival, like say stalls and more shelter, etc.
Q: I heard that they tried to make it more competitive this year.
A: I know there is an A Division and a B Division for the Open category, as well as the Masters category. I think it helps to group people of similar athletics standards together to compete, win and get that feeling of stepping up on the podium.
Q: How would you say this year’s SNG compares with the inaugural one back in 2012?
A: This year it was quite alright cause you get to "hide" behind the board till they call your event and then you suddenly appear by the podium. Short walk, snappy medal presentation. 2 years ago I took part in the triple jump as well. Only 2 people including myself signed up and the other guy did not even turn up. So it was a walkover. And the medal presentation was as though it was the Olympics with 1 person per medalist to dish your medal to the Guest of Honour, plus a long walk from the waiting area to the podium. It was comparatively more "grand" but it sure felt awkward!
Oh but this year I missed out on 2nd placing in the Long Jump by 1cm, and won Triple by 1cm. So it was rather exciting in a way.
2.Vincent Lim, Coach
Event: Bowling, Team (Gold) - Open Category
Q: You've had success at the highest level of the sport having won the prestigious Singapore International Open title this year beating our several world class bowlers in the process. What motivated you to take part in the SNG?
A: I was participating as part of the U Sports Team under U Bowling. SNG is an all nation game and as I am very involved in the sports of tenpin bowling, I find every opportunity to participate. It’s more of motivated through passion.
Q: I understand that despite your age and career, you are still bowling competitively and even had a recall into the National Bowling Team recently. What is the level of competitiveness at the SNG compared to other tournaments you have competed in, such as the Singapore International Bowling Open?
A: Tenpin bowling is the first fully signed up and over-whelmed sports in this year’s edition of SNG. There were even bowlers who were not able to participate. You can imagine the level of competitiveness in this year edition, it’s one of the highest by far since the games started, but to be compared to the Singapore Open that is definitely of a different standard as overseas national bowlers and even pro bowlers from the States participated in it. I do think it is a very good initiative as it gives everyone a chance to take part and is very affordable.
Photo credits: Vincent Lim
Q: Do you think that the SNG will help to raise the bar in terms of sporting talent in Singapore?
A: Yes, although SNG is a nation-wide games introduced by Sports Singapore to encourage Singaporean to participate in, we do see great talents coming up to compete. In bowling itself we saw a 14 year old boy from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) shooting the tournament’s first and only perfect game, thus winning gold in his respective category.
Q: In your opinion, how does this year’s SNG compare to the previous one held in 2012?
A: From the one compared to 2012, this year’s edition of the game is definitely more well planned. If I remember correctly there were no cash prizes in the 2012 edition as well. Cash is always a bonus
Q: Do you think the SNG will encourage non-athletes in Singapore to pick up sports? If so, how would you rate bowling in terms of difficulty in learning and mastering?
A: I believe given time, yes. Singaporeans are actually more aware of the need for a healthier lifestyle and are participating in sports more often than before. But we must also make sure that there is always a division whereby we don’t get them discouraged due to the standards of the event.Just like many other sports, tenpin bowling is not a difficult sport to pick up but takes a lot of years to master.
Congratulations to Alvin and Vincent on their respective wins. It is certainly inspiring to see how their passions for their sports have brought them so far.
Hope to see you at the National Games in 2016!