Not only has Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling inspired young athletes in his home nation of Singapore to take to the pool, the 22-year-old has also helped influence the formation of a new monetary fund for established aquatic talent. Aimed at ‘enhancing the development of Singapore’s high performance co-system across the 4 disciplines of swimming, diving, water polo and artistic swimming’, the Singapore Swimming Association has launched the ‘SGP Fund’ with an opening balance of S$600,000 (just shy of $450,000).
According to the SSA, an athlete can receive up to S$70,000 ($52,000) if he/she has achieved a top 8 ranking at the Olympics or World Championships, or has won a medal at the Asian or Commonwealth Games. SEA Games gold medalists and/or national record holders are also eligible for grants, while clubs and affiliates can also apply for funding. The idea is that the money will assist the athletes sustain sporting success, as well as ease the transition from amateur to professional and for their post-retirement career.
The SGP fund’s initial bounty was formed from 2 sources, including the SSA golf fundraiser held in November 2016, as well as a compulsory 20% of Schooling’s S$1 million prize money from his gold medal from Rio.
Schooling told Today Online, “The SGP Fund is essential for the continuous growth of the aquatics scene as it takes into account the different components that are necessary to develop an eco-system that will help all athletes go further in their career.
“I am fortunate to have had a great support network and I hope more athletes will be given an opportunity to pursue their dreams.”
The fund will be administered by the SSA via a strict evaluation and approval process, with timeframe estimates in the 2-3 months ballpark from the time of application.