Kenn Foundation, a local philanthropic organisation founded in 2018, is making history in Singapore with a six-figure sponsorship ($100,000) to help the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) host the Republic’s first international para swimming competition in May 2019.
During a press briefing at Singapore Sports Hub on 2 April, Mr Kenneth Kam, Chairman of Kenn Foundation, presenting sponsor for the Singapore 2019 World Para Swimming World Series, shared, “We are honoured to collaborate with SDSC in bringing this event to Singapore, showcasing our athletes as they do our nation proud on the world stage. It is uplifting and inspiring to imagine the impact this event will have on future para athletes, and indeed on all of us.”
The Singapore leg will not only mark a new milestone locally, but also that of para swimming globally, as it would be the first and only Asian edition of the World Series, which had been hosted by big boys such as the United States of America, Germany and Australia. As such, the event has received strong interest. As such, the event have received strong interest for more than 100 para swimmers around the world. Spectators can look forward to an exciting three-day competition from 10 to 12 May at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
Team Singapore has also stepped up its preparations to get ready to face down its competitors. National Swimmer Toh Wei Soong shares “The Singapore 2019 WPS is a tremendous opportunity to showcase what the region has to offer, and we are looking very forward to putting on a good showing to raise public awareness of para swimming, as well as to prepare for other major games later this year. Being on homeground, we know there will be people watching, and hopefully they will be inspired to come down and support us, and leave with a new understanding of the commonalities between sportspeople. This vital spirit of sportsmanship can be found everywhere, able-bodied or para sports, and hence the excitement is the same and I hope everyone will enjoy themselves, both athletes and spectators.” A total of 15 swimmers will be representing the Republic at the World Series, the youngest being 15-year-old Colin Soon. This is Colin’s debut at an international competition, alongside six other debutants – Lim Kong Boon, Nicole Fu Ai Ling, Eugene Png, Darren Chan Wei Siang and Jazlene Tan.
Besides Team Singapore, other countries’ developing para swimmers, para swimming coaches and technical officials will be getting a boost at the local series, as Singapore is also the first to host the World Para Swimming Development Programme in Asia. This initiative is critical to improve the profiles and standards for para swimming in Asia, and is specially designed for teams who currently do not have the funds to attend international workshops, which are frequently held in the Europe region. A 3-day Coaching and Athlete Camp, and Technical Official Course will be held in conjunction with the World Series from 7 to 9 May, and benefit more than 20 international participants.
To rally the community behind Team Singapore and their international compatriots, host SDSC has undertaken costs to price the tickets affordably at $2 for the finals. Tickets to the heats are also offered free of charge.
“One of the key reasons for us to host this Series is to promote the understanding of disability sports and para athletes. Our para swimmers have been adding to this awareness with their achievements, so this is a rare opportunity for Singapore to witness their hard work up close,” shared Ms Kelly Fan, Executive Director, SDSC. “Our hope is to fill the 3000-pax stands for all three days, and have everyone play a part in Team Singapore, as we root for our athletes on home ground and welcome the rest of the world.”
Team Singapore swimmers will also be doing their part to contribute to the support for disability sports. All 15 swimmers will be personalising a plush bear each, to be auctioned for SDSC’s programmes. To make an impact beyond their sponsorship for the Series, Kenn Foundation will be donating a limited-edition series of plush bears known as ‘Dress-up Teddy’ that will be part of a fundraising drive for SDSC in the lead up to the event. Spectators at the event can purchase a bear dressed in an outfit featuring the event logo as a momento for just $20.
Organisations, individuals and schools that are interested to purchase tickets or plush bears can contact SDSC through email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Singapore would be the fifth leg of the World Para Swimming World Series. This year’s series will travel through a total of 7 countries.