The National Service Aspect in Sports Development
National Service (NS) is one of the key cosmetic foundations, together with multiculturalism and spiritual harmony, in Singapore’s unique social fabric. Every male of the modern generation is now through the rites of NS, including our very best athletes. These athletes leave their schools as future sports winners in our nation, but very few of them actually fulfill their potential to do Singapore proud in international competitive events. What happened to these potential sports stars? Did NS hinder their passion and motivation to shine in their sports? Why do so few carry on in their sports after school and NS? In our national search for more sporting excellence and glories, perhaps it is time to re-look at our NS policy and see how you can truly support and encourage the travels of these potential sports stars without necessarily compromising the security of the nation.
The argument that NS is detrimental to the development and continuous journey in our budding athletes from school is not new. Athletes who are affected have been fighting for years to get the Ministry of Support (MINDEF) to make special credits and arrangements for them to continue with their training programs with their sports coaches. In most cases, MINDEF has used an overall guide line that athletes can still continue with their sports career as long as their obligations with their respective NS units are 축구중계 not sacrificed. This basically means that athletes will have to count on the good graces of their ordering reps to make special arrangements for them to continue training, and at the same time fulfill their training and duties with their units. A hardest task at best. Any top class sportsperson will tell you that to become successful and grow competitive with all of those other other first class athletes, training twice a day, seven day a week, with full nutritional and physical support is common practice. NS training by itself has already been tough, and asking our athletes to spend time in NS and train at the same time is just not possible. When up against this case, most of our athletes have no choice but to drop out. Just a handful, with good fortunate and determination will be able to find the time to balance the NS responsibilities and training to the effect that some measure of success is possible. Even these athletes do not compare well when competing against other players from around the world. How do players in countries without obligatory NS fair? Let us investigate a bit further.
In the Olympic Games, the typical powerhouses that get the most medals include countries like China, USA, Paris, Australia, The british isles, Germany, and to a certain extend South Korea and The japanese. Do these countries have obligatory military service? The answer is no. A logical conclusion here is that their athletes have unimpeded paths towards their sporting ambitions and peak performance in sports. Of course some might claim that these countries are large in terms of their population size. China has a population of 1. 3 thousand. Surely, from these mass of men and women, winners for various sports can be found. That is true. Let us now examine countries with similar population as Singapore and compare their sport achievements.
A look online will reveal that the following countries have comparable population size as Singapore (5m); Norway (4. 8m), Ireland in europe (4. 5m), Croatia (4. 4m), New Zealand (4. 3m), Finland (5. 3m) and Denmark (5. 5m). What strikes you as you view this list? These are all countries with well known sports achievements despite their limited population size. The three Scandinavian Countries in the list above have won in access of 350 Gold Medals in all Olympics Games, and they are also well represented in World Sports Events. Norway and Denmark has featured in many football World Glasses. Finland is consistent in producing NHL professional ice-hockey players. As for Ireland in europe and Croatia, they have won 8 and 3 Olympic Gold medals respectively in their history. But let us keep in mind these two countries are also power houses in other sports. Ireland in europe features highly in World Cup Football, Rugby and even golf. Croatia produces the best water-polo and handball teams regularly on the World Stage. Need we say more about New Zealand? Independent of the All Blacks, New Zealand in addition has produced 36 Olympic Gold in their history. These countries did not have huge population bases like China and Paris, yet somehow they’ve been consistently successful in peak performance in sports. By the way, did I mention that these countries have no obligatory military service for their citizens?
If we change our perspective and look at a country that Singapore is modeled after, maybe the effect of NS on sports become clearer. Israel has a population of 7. 5m, a fraction greater than Singapore’s. Next to your skin obligatory military service for their security concerns. How many Olympic Gold Medals have they won? One. Are they prominent in other international sports? Not quite yet. Israel like Singapore in addition has been try really hard to sending contingents for major competitive events, but success are far and few. The question is ‘has obligatory military service somehow affected their sporting achievements? ha If we look at the evidence presented here, we cannot refute the fact that NS does have a part to play in constraining peak performance in sports.
NS removes the prime period of an athlete’s development. At 17-20 years, our system is reaching their full sporting potential. It is now time whereby, sports talents need to be continuously nurtured. The trouble caused by NS will break this important cycle and de-motivate our athletes to stop sports development in their lives. How a number of our national school record breakers keep on to run and frolic in the water beyond their school and NS years? Hardly. Imagine how much achievement is possible if these athletes are supported and encouraged to continue on lessons in their sports. The sporting achievement for Singapore can be much more than what we have achieved so far.