You have the Riding Centre. Now let’s get the best ambassador for the sport

The report:

Channel News Asia reported that the Singapore Turf Club will be building a $24 million, 3-hectare riding centre next year.

It will be built next to the Singapore Turf Club at Kranji. That’s not all – riding will be offered as a co-curricular activity in schools next year. All this is aimed at encouraging young Singaporeans to take up riding and other equestrian sports.

Here’s the report:

S’pore Turf Club to build nation’s largest riding facility for the public (Channel News Asia, 3 Oct 2008)

 

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s largest riding facility for the general public should be ready by September 2009. The Singapore Turf Club will build the S$24 million facility on a 3-hectare site, next to the Singapore Racecourse at Kranji.

 

Riding will also be offered as a school Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) for the first time.

 

Once the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre is ready, school children between eight and 18 years old can try their hands at horse riding. For a start, the centre will target 30 schools.

 

About 40 trained ponies and horses will be available in the first year of the centre’s operation.

 

The aim is to encourage young Singaporeans to take up horse riding and other equestrian sports.

 

The centre will also offer a comprehensive curriculum including classroom lessons and practical riding sessions.

 

It’ll also provide lessons on stable management and overall horse care.

 

Through its programmes, the centre hopes to build confidence and self—esteem in the young and also aim to instill a greater sense of discipline and focus in them.

 

The centre will feature a viewing gallery which can accommodate up to 250 people, an administration building with classrooms and a tack shop selling riding equipment.

 

It’ll be operational seven days a week.

 

Launching the centre on Wednesday, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport, Lim Hwee Hua, said riding will also become more affordable costing between S$15 and S$75 for a 45-minute ride.

 

Currently, the fees range between S$80 and S$120 for a 45-minute ride.

 

Mrs Lim said: “Riding will also be excellent for character and confidence building. These are important values which we want to impart in our young.

 

“Take for example our sportsmen and women who did Singapore proud in the recent Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing. They showed that with passion, determination and a strong belief in oneself, they can overcome the odds and achieve glory not only on a personal level but for Singapore too.

 

“Ms Laurentia Tan won two bronze medals for Singapore for Equestrian at the Paralympics and in the process inspired many of us with her achievement.”

 

Tan Guong Ching, chairman, Singapore Turf Club, said: “Riding as a sport is something that brings a lot of joy to our children. And for the timid children, it’s a very good way to build up their self—confidence.

 

“So we hope that through this, we will help build up the confidence in our school children, many of them will love and enjoy the sport. Some of them will excel and maybe take part in international competitions.” — CNA/vm

My thoughts:

I thought it was pretty significant and notable that Senior Minister of State Mrs Lim Hwee Hua mentioned double-bronze medal-winning Paralympian Laurentia Tan in her speech.

Clearly, this shows a concerted effort by the Government to increasingly move our Paralympians onto the same stage of recognition as our able-bodied sportsmen.

I’m keepng my fingers crossed that the good people of the Singapore Turf Club can take this one step further and invite Laruentia to be its Guest of Honour for the official opening of the riding centre next year. I am certain her appearance will be a huge hit with the kids.

Double bronzemedal-winning Paralympian Laurentia Tan would make a great ambassador for both equestrian and disabled sports

Double bronzemedal-winning Paralympian Laurentia Tan would make a great ambassador for both equestrian and disabled sports

Okay, if you MUST have a governmental figure at the event, go ahead and invite the Sports Minister (Dr Vivian Balakrishnan) or the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Sports (Teo Ser Luck) to co-grace the occasion, but let Laurentia be the MAIN STAR of the event.

And why stop there?

If Singapore (or in this case, the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre) is really serious about getting more kids to take up riding, then it should also consider making Laurentia an ambassador of the Centre and getting her to help promote equestrian sports in schools by giving talks and demonstrations.

All these are important moves because these are the ways young ones can be inspired to take up or excel in a sport.

Nothing thrills the kids more than having the chance to be up close and personal with a sporting hero, being able to interact with him/her and to see him/her in action.

Just think how’d you feel if you attend some football training sessions conducted by Fandi Ahmad or V Sundramoorthy. Now you know what I mean?

Getting Laurentia as a schools ambassador will also go a long way in generating greater awareness of the disabled sports scene in Singapore, which is one way of leveliing the current public perceptions of able-bodied and disabled athletes.

The fact that there were so many letters in the media last month clamouring for greater coverage of the Beijing Paralympics and asking for better financial rewards for their sporting achievements, shows that our society is mentally ready to bridge that perception gap.

Getting Laurentia on board as an ambassador would be another step forward in the right direction.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

P/S: For more information on the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre, call 68791800 or e-mail RidingEnquiry@turfclub.com.sg

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