Over 700 youth and children to gain exclusive insights into the world of para swimming
The Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) kickstarted school learning journeys for the Singapore 2019 World Para Swimming World Series on 7 May 2019. Held across 5 days, the learning journeys will welcome a total of over 700 students to the inner operations of the World Series as the SDSC gears up for the world-level competition that will be taking place from 10 to 12 May.
The learning journeys are supported by Toyota Motor Asia Pacific as part of its “Start Your Impossible” global corporate initiative to evoke positive social change for an inclusive, sustainable and mobile society. The newly announced Mobility Partner for the Singapore World Series has, besides providing cars to help smoothen critical personnel and logistic flow, activated its employees as volunteers at the World Series to help the SDSC deliver an impactful event for the participating teams and the greater community.
The first day of the learning journeys welcomed over 50 students from Radin Mas Primary School and Bukit Panjang Government High to the World Series at the OCBC Aquatic Centre. Students were introduced to operations such as classification, anti-doping and technical officiating, and got a glimpse of competitors from all the world in training. They also participated in activities to help them understand disability sport classes and the multi-class point system used at the World Para Series.
Ms Kenix Loh, a Toyota volunteer who is one of the journey educators, said, “It was very heartening to interact with the students and feel their enthusiasm in learning more about the world of competitive para swimming. Even for myself, it was truly an eye-opening experience and I hope to take this knowledge and share them with my colleagues back in the office.”
On its role as a Mobility Partner, Ms Kaye Lim, General Manager of Public Affairs at Toyota Motor Asia Pacific, shared that “Toyota is honoured for the opportunity to support the Singapore 2019 World Para Swimming World Series in such a meaningful manner. At Toyota, we believe that true mobility goes beyond cars – it is about the freedom to move, overcoming challenges and making dreams come true. The para swimmers’ determination and drive to face challenges and chase their dreams is truly inspirational; we want to bring this spirit to all Toyota team members as well as inspire the youths of Singapore through our participation in the learning journeys.”
The learning journeys have received positive feedback from teachers and students, as they gained rare insights into not only a high-level competition setting, but into the world of para swimming.
Ms Thai Yu from Radin Mas Primary School shared, “It was a truly rewarding experience for the eight year olds. They were able to see first-hand what’s it like to strive hard to compete and to contribute to the nation even with impairment! The students were totally engaged during the learning journey with the experienced trainers from SDSC. They were also excited to bring back what they had learned to their project work.”
Preetika Riona, primary 2 student from Radin Mas Primary School said “I had fun. It doesn’t matter if you have no arms or legs. It’s about doing your best”
The learning journeys form an array of activities that are taking place before competition gets underway over the weekend. Simultaneously, the SDSC is hosting Technical Official Level 2 and 3 courses to upskill local swimming officials on para swimming rules, and an inaugural World Para Swimming Asian Development Camp for developmental level athletes and coaches to gain a step to high performance.
“It has been challenging for us to juggle the additional planning and preparations for the learning journeys, especially since it’s our and Singapore’s first time hosting an international para swimming competition. Nonetheless, besides a high standard of competition, we had identified education as an important outcome early on, to deliver societal value. The high level of interest from the schools is extremely encouraging, and we hope to continue this drive in future,” said Ms Kelly Fan, Executive Director.