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Sport Singapore marks 50th anniversary with book launch and exhibition

Sport Singapore marks 50th anniversary with book launch and exhibition
November 28, 2023

Celebrations are currently underway to mark the 50th anniversary of National sport agency - Sport Singapore - with the anniversary being marked by a book launch and exhibition.

The anniversary sees the launch of a new book - ‘Sport in Singapore: Visions for Change’ and the opening of a sport heritage exhibition - 'SportSG: 50 Years in Covers’ - at Singapore’s National Library Building which took place on 25th November.

The book, ‘Sport in Singapore: Visions for Change’, by Dr Nick Aplin, Sport Singapore’s Deputy Director of Sport Heritage and sport historian, is the final edition of the book-trilogy and highlights the history of Singapore sport through the lens of former Chairmen and Chief Executives who were instrumental in guiding and operating the vision of sport in Singapore.

Complementing the book, the exhibition illustrates Singapore’s sporting journey and the transformation of local sport through preserved print magazine covers and publications collected over the years.

This third book is preceded by Sport In Singapore: The Colonial Legacy (2019) and Sport in Singapore: The Rocky Road To Kallang Park (2023).

The book is featured as a giant, life-size book installation and will be available alongside the exhibition at The Plaza, National Library Building.

The exhibition 'SportSG: 50 Years in Covers’ includes panel installations that pay homage to significant sporting milestones from the past five decades, such as the country’s first Olympic medal in 1960 and the opening of the National Stadium back in 1973.

In collaboration with the National Heritage Board, the exhibition also displays two valuable copies of The Sportsman Magazine, reproduced from originals housed in the National Museum of Singapore.

President Tharman Shanmugaratnam was the Guest-of-Honour at the launch event, held at the National Library Building on 25th November along with Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, and senior representatives from Sport Singapore, National Library Board and National Heritage Board.

Minister Tong noted that 50 years on, the essence of Sport Singapore is to “encourage people to ‘Live Better through Sport’ – that remains our motto, our key driving principle and our raison d’être behind sport in Singapore.

“In many ways, sport is not about an end point. It is not something that you arrive at, but it’s a constant journey throughout which we would like everyone to be on.”

During a guided walkthrough of the exhibition, former champions such as P.C. Suppiah, James Wong and father-son duo Wong Shoon Keat and Derek Wong, shared their unique experiences in advancing their chosen sport with the invited guests and brought the exhibition panels made up of 320 magazine covers to life.

Each magazine cover was specially selected to capture the zeitgeist of the local sporting scene from the 1970s to current times, providing visitors with a time capsule experience to the different eras of Singapore’s diverse sporting landscape over the past five decades.

Current TeamSG athletes such as Michelle Sng, national record holder in women’s high jump; Eric Yee, TeamSG discus thrower; Maisarah Mohamed Hassan, TeamSG para-athlete and current badminton national team members Ryan Tan Rui Yang and Johann Prajogo were also present to share their sporting journeys.

A special feature of the exhibition is the digital and interactive display of The Sportsman magazines, first published in 1930 by Singapore’s first President Yusof Ishak and his two friends Ong Chin Beng and Soh Swee Tuck.

A scholar, sportsman and journalist, the former President provided readers in the 1930s a captivating view of the sporting culture in the Straits in the 1930s.

He relinquished his publishing role after three years, but the magazine continued its run for ten years.

It was an official publication of weightlifting in Malaya, with supplements on sports such as athletics, badminton, boxing, football, golf, hockey and lawn tennis.

The rare pictorials are presented for the first time in a collaboration between the National Heritage Board and Sport Singapore.

The exhibition is open to the public and is on until 10th January 2024 at The Plaza, National Library Building.

Images. Credit: Sport Singapore

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