Singapore—The country’s athletes placed 6th overall in the recently-concluded SEA Games, held this year in the Philippines, its lowest rank in years.
Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reported Richard Gordon Singapore Sports Institute’s (SSI) head of high performance and athlete life as saying, “We’ve seen a decline in results over the past three SEA Games. We’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes in terms of trying to help (them) to stabilise. But they seem to have a propensity for infighting within the fraternity … what I am going to say is that you need to get your act together.”
The day after the competition closed on December 11, The Straits Times posted a full-page ‘Team Singapore Report Card’ wherein athletes were given grades ranging from A to F. The football team, for example, got an F, while fencers got an A+.
But netizens did not take too kindly to the “Report Card.”
They spoke out on behalf of the athletes who no doubt worked hard to get to where they are able to compete on a world stage.
Netizen Sharmaine Chan, in particular, in calling Straits Times out on its “Report Card,” seems to have struck a chord with many others, with her Facebook post receiving thousands of reactions and shares.
She wrote, “So Straits Times has come to this – a grading system from A to F for SG athletes who competed this SEA Games 2019.
I mean… Is this how we repay our athletes who dedicate their blood sweat and tears to the sport they love?
Based on *one* grading system across all sports? A for excellent effort (aka you got a gold medal and hence you did our nation proud), F for poor performance (aka no medal and as such being a let down to the country). Let’s just also omit the fact some of these athletes have had to train for a competition of this level with little to no support from organisations, or that they’ve had to take time off work and dig into their savings to fund their own trainings to prove their worth.
This might not matter to some of you. Some of you might say – ya this is the system, we’ve been like that so long why bother to fight for it? But someone has to. And someone out of the sports circle has to – because these struggling athletes don’t get heard as much as they should.
So to whoever thought of this idea – If this is how you want to deter our future potential rising athletes from pursuing what they love because all they will get is a report card, then you’re doing one bloody good job guys. Congrats.”
Many netizens agreed with Ms Chan’s points
Others disagreed, pointing out that this is the reality of sports performances.