The Athlete Support Programme (ASP) is a support scheme for all eligible para-athletes who have been selected by the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) to represent Singapore in International Paralympic Committee (IPC)-sanctioned competitions, or SDSC-recognised competitions.
The ASP was introduced and administered by the SDSC’s Sports Excellence department in order to identify and develop world-class athletes. It is one of the main pillars of the DISABILITY SPORTS 21 programme.
The ASP is part of a larger sports excellence management framework that is designed to support all dedicated athletes with disabilities to excel in sports and achieve their maximum potential through a structured, developmental training programme. The eventual aim of this programme is to allow them to compete at professional levels.
Purpose of ASP
The ASP’s main purpose is to groom talented and promising athletes through a series of training programmes to achieve success in the international sporting arena. Additional to training, these athletes will also be given the necessary support to enable them to develop into world-class athletes and role models for the disabled community.
These athletes will be categorised according to their sports achievements and potential. In recognition of the commitment that these athletes make to long-term training and competition programmes, these athletes will be entitled to certain support schemes and policies within those categories. This is to provide a holistic approach towards the development and welfare of these athletes in the long-run.
ASP Athlete Selection/Eligibility Policy
- Athletes selected to be in the ASP must be Singapore Citizens and have a good track record of sporting achievements in the preceding financial year (i.e., 1 April – 31 March).
- Athletes to be selected must be at the top of their cohort in their respective events and categories in local competitions.
- Athletes to be selected must show potential to excel in major international competitions.
- Selected athletes will be categorised into “elite” (i.e., A & B), and “developmental” (i.e., C & D) in the ASP:
- Elite Athletes (Category A & B) are those who have proven achievements and have the potential to win medals at the ASEAN Para-Games and beyond.
- Developmental Athletes (Category C & D) are promising junior para-athletes who have won medals at national and national age-group competitions and can be groomed in the long-run.
- Athletes to be considered for selection per category will have to fulfill the following criteria:
- The athlete’s categorisation lies in the decision of the SDSC Sports Sub-Committee.
- Should an athlete decide to appeal against his allocated category, they must submit an official request within one week upon notification of their allocated category by SDSC to the SDSC Sports Sub Committee. However, consideration for appeal will be made on a case-by-case basis and SDSC will not entertain subsequent appeals thereafter.
ASP Athlete’s Agreement/Contract
- Winners of local competitions will be invited to join the SDSC’s Athlete Support Programme. Likewise, interested winners can write in to request admission into the Programme during the months of December – March. They must submit their records together with a brief of why they would like to be in the Programme.
- New applications thereafter, are open throughout the financial year up to July only and will take effect only from the middle of that financial year (from September onwards).
- Should an athlete be selected and agree to be in the ASP, he will be required to sign an SDSC – Athlete’s Agreement form (see Annex 1). ASP athletes must abide by the following conditions as stated in the Athlete’s Agreement Form. A breach of the conditions would result in immediate disqualification from the programme and further assistance under the athlete support schemes.
- A half-yearly review (see ASP Progress Report Form in Annex 2) will be conducted in October of the financial year to ascertain that all ASP athletes have maintained/improved their performance level and are continuing to maintain an adequate level of training and competition regime for the remaining period in the ASP. There will not be any revisions to any athletes’ categories during the review, except where athletes do not maintain an adequate training and competition schedule for the remaining period in the ASP.
- All athletes in the ASP will be subjected to undergo a medical assessment whenever deemed necessary by SDSC. The medical assessment will be paid for by SDSC and to be conducted by a registered medical practitioner.
Selection Policy of ASP Athletes for Competitions
- Selection of athletes for overseas competitions will be decided by the SDSC Sports Sub Committee.
- Certain sports are not measured or timed events. In the selection of athletes for such team sports, it is difficult to make selection decisions based solely upon objective criteria. It is the belief of the SDSC Sports Sub Committee that considering the mix of selection criteria with all components, subjective and objective, will result in the selection of the best athletes who will perform as the best possible team.
- The SDSC Sports Sub Comm may adopt the following selection criteria:
- An athlete who attains at least a 70% score from the above table will be selected.
- For sports that are measurable in terms of timing, distance achieved and variable readings (highest, shortest, heaviest, etc), the following objective criteria will be used (not in order of importance): –
- Minimum qualifying results/ timings/ distance/ readings to be eligible for the level of competition;
- Best results/ timings/ distance/ readings for those events achieved during the last official competition (local and/or overseas) within the past six months;
- Best results/ timings/ distance/ readings achieved during the arranged time trials (local and/or overseas);
- Attendances during training / preparatory sessions;
- Passing of any necessary medical examinations as prescribed by SDSC; and
- No past history of misconduct as an athlete (within the past 2 years)
- In addition to the objective criteria mentioned in para 1.4.3, the following subjective criteria can and will be used as well for team sports (eg, WC Tennis doubles, relay teams, team sports, 3-man sailing crew, etc) ( not in order of importance): –
- Coach’s report (eg, potential, medal prospects, etc);
- Sports Development Officer’s report;
- Sports Manager’s report;
- Disciplinary records (within the past two years);
- Other extenuating reports / compelling reasons. (eg, behaviour, commitment and attitude during training, potential, etc)
- SDSC reserves the right to remove the athlete from the selection at any point in time and is not at liberty to justify the removal of the athlete. The Sports Manager shall, within 7 days, by notice in writing, inform the athlete of the SDSC’s decision.
- An athlete who has accepted the letter of selection may only be withdrawn from the selection for the following reasons: –
- Injury sustained during training/accident (certified by a medical doctor);
- Sudden illness (certified by a medical doctor);
- Compassionate grounds (eg, bereavement of a relative, spouse/child is hospitalized, etc);
- Examinations/Work attachments (verified by school /employer); or
- Other unexpected life events that may affect the focus and morale of the athlete.
- The responsibility is on the athlete to give serious thought to his acceptance of the letter of selection. He must be transparent and honest in his communication to SDSC of any impending issues that may adversely affect his participation in the competition that he is selected for.
- Should an athlete withdraw from the team without a valid and acceptable reason, he is liable to SDSC for the reimbursement of any costs incurred during the preparations for the competition.
ASP Competition Opportunities
The following table stipulates the competition opportunities for athletes of different carding status:
The SDSC will do its best to send deserving athletes to participate in overseas competitions. However, this is subject to the availability of funds and other more important factors that need to be taken into consideration (e.g., level of security of the host country, high costs of air-tickets to certain countries, other bilateral considerations, et cetera).