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Launch of New Multi-Sports Festival That Will Serve as A Bridge Between Sports Excellence and Community Participation

Singapore, 26 November 2011- A new sports festival that bridges community participation and sports excellence will offer residents from all ages, races and estates the opportunity to be part of Singapore's exciting sporting landscape. From the Sunday sports enthusiast, the arm-chair commentator, to the serious athlete, all can now play, compete and volunteer.

2. The inaugural Singapore National Games 2012 (SNG) was launched today on the sidelines of the Singapore River Regatta 2011. A new national community multi-sports competition to be held once every two years, the 2012 edition will pit community teams against each other in ten sports, with a trophy awarded to the overall champion of teams. The SNG will be jointly organised by the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), People's Association (PA) and its grassroots organisations, as well as the National Sports Associations (NSA) of the ten sports in the inaugural SNG. It aims to be a meaningful and memorable sporting festival that ignites passion, builds character, connects people and bonds Singaporeans.

3 The Community Games, which now runs annually, will serve as the qualifying round for the SNG in the years when it is held. Next year, the Community Games will be held from March to July 2012 and the SNG will be held from 1 to 9 September 2012. The ten sports featured in 2012 are: Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Dragon Boat, Football, Netball, Sepak Takraw, Swimming and Table Tennis. To bring the competitions to the heart of the community, the 2012 games will be held at various venues around Singapore, including schools, the Bedok Reservoir and the Singapore Sports School. Teams will be formed according to geographical clusters based on community groupings. Members of the winning teams will each be awarded a medal, with trophies being awarded to the winning teams.

4 Participation will be open to Singapore Citizens as well as non-Citizens, including Singapore Permanent Residents. National athletes are also eligible to compete. However in general, National athletes and non-citizens may only make up at most 20% of the team size, or one member of the team, whichever is higher. In order to encourage wide participation from all age groups and races, as well as residents living in both public and private estates, team composition for all sports have been formulated through discussion with the respective NSAs. With various team mix requirements, it is intended that more enthusiasts with different abilities will be able to be part of this nation-wide competition.

5 Speaking at the launch, Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister to Prime Minister's Office and Deputy Chairman of the PA emphasised the inclusiveness of the Community Games and the Singapore National Games (referred collectively as "the Games").

6 He said, "Sports is not just about winning medals. It brings people together and unites them in a way that few other activities can. So it is as an important channel to unite residents of all age groups and races, from all estates within the community. We invite everyone to come together during the Singapore National Games, either to play a sport, support our teams in competition, or just enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. As we do so, we will increase our nation's social capital - which is about the strength of the connections and networks in our community."

7 Joining Minister Lim at the launch, Mr Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, added, "The Singapore National Games will be a unique event in Singapore's sports calendar, offering something for everyone. For participants, we can expect to see keen competition at all levels in all sports categories. For spectators and supporters, this will be a great opportunity to watch competitive sports, cheer on teams as well as be involved in the many fringe activities organised in conjunction with the Games. We hope this will help to bond the community and develop community sports heroes."

8 To demonstrate how the team format of the Games works, the Ministers participated in a friendly dragon boat race with teams subscribing to the rules of the Games. They were joined by Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Mayor, North East District; Mr Yam Ah Mee, Chief Executive Director of PA; Mr Lim Teck Yin, Chief Executive Officer of SSC, as well as members of the public.

9 From March to September 2012, a host of community activities, such as cheerleading and photography competitions, is also being planned. This would provide something for all, from spectators, to supporters and other participants. By involving people from all walks of life, the Games will promote active and healthy living, as well as cultivate volunteerism in the community. In deciding the overall winner of each geographical cluster, the Games scoring and point system will extend beyond the actual competition in the field of play. The scoring system which will decide the overall champion will consider how their communities support their teams in addition to how their teams perform. Details of these criteria will be shared closer to the competitions.

10 The Singapore National Games is being organised by a Steering Committee comprising various stakeholders including representatives from the relevant NSAs, statutory boards, the Community Sports Clubs (CSCs) Council and the media. This is aimed at a consultative, inclusive approach in planning the Games.

11 The inter-Constituency Games were renamed as the Community Games in February 2011 to reflect a more community-centric approach to engaging residents through sports. Organised by PA and the CSCs, and supported by SSC, the Community Games will continue to be organised during the years when SNG is not held. This will offer continued opportunities for mass participation and greater involvement of residents as participants, volunteers, supporters and officials in preparation for the SNG.

12 Registration for the Games will be in two phases as some sports will not need a qualifying round. Registration for the Community Games 2012 will open in January 2012 for seven sports, while registration for the remaining three sports for the SNG 2012 will open in May 2012.

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