Our Singapore Sports Council plays Santa Claus to our local NSAs (National Sports Associaltions) every year.

This year badminton (SBA) gets S$2.5 million to $3 million, only second to Sailing (Singpaore Sailing), which received a top grant of more than $3 million because they had done very well last year. Table Tennis (STTA), another very successful game here, received a grant of $2 - 2.5 million. The lowest grant of up to $50,000 was given to Darts, Weightlifting, Ice skating, Pickleball, Powerboat, Underwater sports,etc. The other racket games, apart from pickleball (relatively new), Tennis and Squash, got only from $60,000 to $250,000.

Football was granted $1-1.5 million, but the SFA is perhaps the richest as it is a very popular game and has many sponsors. But to get this additional grant from the SSC, the SFA must have been considered well-run. Anyyway, Singapore Football is the Southeast Asian champion.

Now why the discrimination? Why did some NSAs get more than the others?

The answer lies in the leadership and management of the NSAs - how good they are not only on paper but in reality!

"Under the new SSC funding policy, money, or the lack of it, will no longer be an excuse for not winning medals, even Olympic medals. The SSC is prepared to fork out the cash, provided the NSAs present viable programmes."

"We are committted to getting our NSAs and athletes to excel. But we don't have unlimited resources. So it is important that we use our resources wisely and prudently to achieve optimum results", said SSC CEO, Oon Jin Teik, an Olympian swimmer himself.

In other words, the money will go most to NSAs with proven track records, sound plans and prudent management. NSAs must have done their homework and able to share their vision with SSC. But these visions must be realistic and achievable.

For Badminton, Ronald Susilo was singled out for his defeat of world No 1 Lin Dan of China during the Olympics although he lost to Boonsak Ponsana in the QF. And in Table-Tennis, Ronald's fiancee, Li Jiawei, finished fourth at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

SSC chairman, Alex Chan added "NSAs must not look at the SSC as the only source of funding. They should also work and get corporate sponsors too."

In summary, even our SSC looks towards quality leadership and management before parting with their funds. Commercial sponsorship is no less different. In the end, the adage that "Success begets Success" seems to resonate throughout.

The full report on Singapore's Sports Funding can be found in The Straits Times, March 11, 2006, as covered by Tay Cheng Khoon, Sports Editor.