Donation of over $70,000 revives a long-awaited platform for local development players
- Tiger Balm Singapore Boccia Open 2018 will see athletes from Korea, Thailand, Malaysia competing against Singapore, including World Ranked No. 1, Thailand’s Worawut Saengampa
- Fun “Botch-Ya” challenges and new Boccia Novice Kit seek to promote the sport beyond persons with disability
An international Boccia competition is returning to Singapore’s shores, thanks to a donation of over $70,000 from homegrown multinational brand, Tiger Balm. From 29 May to 2 June, 35 athletes with severe disability from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Korea will be battling it out at Heartbeat@Bedok. Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth & Ministry of Communications and Information, will be welcoming the teams during the tournament’s Opening Ceremony.
Organised by the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) with a group of passionate Boccia volunteers, the tournament aims to provide local developing Boccia players quality competitive exposure. The youngest player in the tournament would be 11-year-old Aloysius Gan, a student of Cerebral Palsy Alliance (Singapore) School.
Spectators would also be able to witness elite players in action, such as Singapore spexScholar Toh Sze Ning, and Thailand’s Worawut Saengampa, who is currently world ranked No. 1 in the BC2 category.
While familiar faces abound for 22-year old Singaporean athlete Neo Kah Whye, the experienced Boccia player is not about to take the competition lightly, “I’ve competed against Thai players many times before, but each time is a chance to do better.” The Tiger Balm Singapore Boccia Open marks a much awaited boost for the sport, following a decade-long hiatus since the last international boccia tournament organised here in 2008.
“The Tiger Balm Singapore Boccia Open is a precious opportunity for our para athletes to gain exposure to the pressure and demands of international competition, and we are very glad to have the support from Haw Par to bring this event back to Singapore again after an absence of 10 years.” SDSC President, Kevin Wong, shared.
Singapore will be represented by the most number of players with a 17-strong contingent, followed by Thailand with 8, Korea with 7 and Malaysia with 3. All athletes will vie for the Individual, Pair and Team titles in the BC1, BC2, BC3 and BC4 classes.
Tiger Balm’s support for the Boccia Open follows an earlier adoption of SDSC’s Boccia programme over the past four years. The adoption provided Boccia athletes and officials subsidies for training needs such as transportation, equipment, and competitions. This helped Boccia to grow from 21 players in 2014 to more than 80 players in in 2018, making Boccia the most popular sport for persons with severe disability today.
“We are pleased to be able to do our part to contribute to the wellbeing of our society through our sponsorship of the SDSC’s Boccia Programme and we are proud to support Boccia Open 2018. We believe this to be a worthwhile endeavour as it showcases the achievements of the Boccia athletes from different countries as they pit their skills against one another. We applaud the courage and determination of the Boccia athletes,” commented Mr Wee Ee Lim, President and CEO of Haw Par Corporation Limited, which owns the Tiger Balm brand.
Promoting Boccia as a sport for all
Riding on this wave of support, the SDSC plans to introduce Boccia to a wider audience. Boccia, originally designed as a sport for the severely disabled, demands less physical strength than strategic play, similar to an enlarged version of “marbles”. The game is played by many other sectors of the community in other countries such as the United Kingdom. The SDSC thus hopes that the sport can catch on locally, to benefit many more people, especially those who may prefer less physically demanding sports.
A Boccia Novice Kit has been developed with the support of Tiger Balm, comprising of fun challenges designed by local volunteers. The Kit will see its first distribution at public outreach sessions held in conjunction with the Tiger Balm Singapore Boccia Open 2018, and would also be distributed to schools and old age homes. Individuals and organisations can seek SDSC’s advice in getting Boccia equipment, or loan SDSC’s sets for short-term activities.
On 27 and 30 May, public outreach sessions will be held at the atrium of Heartbeat @ Bedok, where members of the public can have fun in mini challenges adapted from Boccia. Challengers can redeem Tiger Balm products or limited edition Team Singapore tee-shirts. Organised groups that sign up with SDSC (via https://goo.gl/asEn3R) can also enjoy a guided tour to witness tournament action.
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About Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC)
Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) is the only organisation in Singapore that caters to sports for persons across all kinds of disabilities, over 20 sports. It aims to help persons with disability lead full and independent lives through sports. Besides providing sporting opportunities for them to realise their potential, SDSC trains talents to represent Singapore and pursue excellence at regional and international competitions. More information at www.sdsc.org.sg
About Tiger Balm
Tiger Balm is committed to delivering health and wellbeing through proven oriental wisdom. We believe no one should let aches and discomforts get in the way of leading a full and active lifestyle. With a unique herbal formulation that has over 100 years of proven success in 100 countries, Tiger Balm’s world renowned ointment is one of the world’s leading and most versatile topical analgesic brand. Combining age-old tradition with modern innovations, Tiger Balm continues to create dedicated solutions for specific symptoms to add on to its range of formats and formulations.
Haw Par Corporation is the owner of the iconic Tiger Balm Brand.
Annex A Schedule for Tiger Balm Singapore Boccia Open 2018
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For news coverage on the event, please refer to:
Singapore to Host International Boccia Tournament for the First Time Since 2008 (The Straits Times, 17 May 2018)
Boccia Open to Aid Inclusiveness (The Straits Times, 18 May 2018)