A sports-charity programme was launched by the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) on Saturday to raise funds with every medal won at the Myanmar SEA Games.
The money will be channelled to help children from low-income families.
Edwin Ker, SSA’s executive director, said: “For the longest time, it means honour to the country. But now we want tangible benefits to be associated with every medal that Singapore Swimming wins at the SEA Games.”
For every gold medal won, S$2,000 will be donated to the Aquatics Heart and Hope charity programme.
It is S$1,000 for silver and S$500 for bronze.
The SSA, which oversees swimmers and synchronise swimmers as well as divers and the water polo team, tied up with sponsor OSIM International for the Aquatics Heart and Hope charity programme.
Seventy per cent of all donations will go to the Straits Times Pocket Money Fund. The remaining 30 per cent will go to the SSA.
Some of the money will be used to further develop national athletes, as well as develop a programme to train underprivileged children in swimming.
During the last SEA Games held in 2011, Singapore won 19 gold, 11 silver and 14 bronze medals from swimming, water polo and synchronised swimming.
And if the athletes repeat this performance at the upcoming Games, they will generate close to S$60,000 to help children from low-income families.
Team Singapore’s water polo player Paul Louis Tan said: “It’s a chance to give back. We’ve been really lucky as a sport and as for me, an individual. When you’re given something, when you’re blessed with something, you need to focus on giving back.”
The programme was launched in conjunction with the send-off ceremony for the water polo team, and swimmer Joseph Schooling’s homecoming, who has been training in the US.
Schooling flew into Singapore earlier on Saturday and headed straight for a light swim to recover from jet lag.
He will be off to Phuket on Sunday, December 1, for more training before heading for the Myanmar SEA Games.
Schooling said: “I’m going to go out there and swim as hard as I can and now I have an extra thing on my shoulder, so I’ll try to bring money for this charity. I’m going to try to win all six gold medals so that’s more money for the team.”
He also hopes to put his experience from previous tournaments to good use at the SEA Games.
Schooling’s main concern now is to keep fit, be injury free, and stay focused.
He said: “I’ve gone a lot bigger, musclised, a lot stronger. And I’ve got more experience — one Olympics and one World Championships and one short course world championship under my belt — so I think I’m going to use a lot of that experience in the SEA Games.”
The SSA hopes the charity programme can be sustained beyond the Myanmar SEA Games, with more sponsors onboard.