26 August 2009 - ST Forum
WE ARE heartened by last Thursday's article, 'Higher sports safety standards at PA', which reported Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Community Development, Youth and Sports) Teo Ser Luck's remarks in Parliament.
Mr Teo told Parliament that there were martial arts groups which operate independently of national sports associations (NSAs) and are not affiliated with the Singapore Sports Council
or Singapore National Olympic Council, and that the People's Association (PA) adopts an inclusive approach to cater to the demands of a diverse clientele and to provide more options for participants.
My organisation, the Singapore Taekwon-Do Academy, is non-NSA affiliated although thousands have learnt the sport with my academy since 1975.
We practise non-contact free sparring during training and have strict safety rules and requirements during tournaments. My academy has had no fatalities or serious injuries.
It is unfortunate that there was a death recently in a tournament officiated by a different, non-NSA affiliated group, the Singapore Taekwondo Gymnasium.
I am certain that martial arts enthusiasts are saddened by the fatality. The truth is, there are risks in all forms of contact sports and not only in martial arts; and the risks are certainly not dependent upon whether an organisation is NSA-affiliated or not.
Mr Teo rightly said that PA's policy is not to turn down any established group as long as it is legally registered and has qualified, competent instructors.
The choice of which legitimate organisations Singaporeans want to be associated with should best be left to Singaporeans to choose freely.
We are happy that the PA welcomes non-NSA-affiliated groups which provide excellent activities to help facilitate a healthy lifestyle.
The PA's inclusiveness allows fair and healthy competition and offers a greater choice of membership for Singaporeans.
Singapore Taekwon-Do Academy