Bulk of S$500k donation will go towards training programmes
SINGAPORE — The bulk of a S$500,000 donation received by the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) today (Oct 20) will go towards the national team’s training allowances, as well as helping to fund the cost of sending players to overseas competitions, says association chief Lee Yi Shyan.
This comes as the SBA continues to focus on the development of full-time local players, by allowing them to compete against the world’s top players in international tournaments.
Their efforts recently bore fruit. At last week’s Badminton Asia Under-17 and Under-15 Championships in Indonesia, rising local shuttler Yeo Jia Min clinched the girls U-17 singles title, as well as the doubles crown with team-mate Crystal Wong.
A week before those feats, national shuttler Liang Xiaoyu stunned former world champion Ratchanok Intanon 2-1 in the women’s singles semi-finals at the Thailand Open.
Liang, 19, went on to clinch the silver medal after losing to South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun in the final.
SBA president Lee believes the immediate tasks facing his organisation are to help some of the senior players qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, while also ensuring that the junior players continue their upward developmental trajectory.
“For the older players, we hope they continue to play well in the international circuit so some of them can qualify for the Olympics,” said Lee. “As for the younger players, we see some of them doing very well recently. But they’re still quite a distance away from the international world ranking to reach the competition next year.
“But we can develop them for the next Olympics. In between, we’ll have many important tournaments, like the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games and the SEA Games, to sharpen their skills. So we have to make sure the younger players have more exposure and a good training regime to bring them to a level where they should be.”
To that end, the SBA was given a huge boost today as it received a S$500,000 donation from Brand Growth and Communications company Louken Group, which organised the fundraising campaign.
A total of 22 local companies took part in the fundraiser. Among them was listed real estate developer OUE Limited, which contributed $200,000. Other notable businesses that made a contribution include Charles & Keith, Serial System Ltd, Sunray Woodcraft Construction and Best World International Ltd.
The cheque presentation ceremony was conducted at the Temasek Club, where the Community Fundraiser Event was held in conjunction with the Brand Bull Run book pre-launch, with proceeds from the sales also being donated to SBA’s player development programmes.
“We wanted to create a movement for our local business community to support local sports,” said Luke Lim, group chief executive officer of Louken Group.
“It took less than a month to raise the amount. Badminton is a very popular racquet game, and I see a good future with the Singapore team, so that’s why we came together to support the association.”
Revealing that the SBA ran a deficit every year, despite receiving funding from Sport Singapore, Lee added that he hoped the sport would receive more donations and sponsorships from the corporate sectors.
“The money we received tonight will go a long way to help our players to excel,” he said.
“We’re very happy with the result of the fundraising, and we hope that badminton, which is already very popular among our population, can gain momentum among our corporate sectors and SMEs.
“We have a small talent pool to work with, so we have to make sure that training given to them is the best, so they develop continuously.
“We are not like larger countries where they have a bigger talent pool, so we’ll have to expose them to international competitions more, and all this cost lots of money.”