Edwin Tong Responds to Questions of $0 Prize Money for Loh Kean Yew

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2022 is looking like a promising year thus far for our badminton World Champion Loh Kean Yew.

The player ranked 15 in the world has just won his first match of the year in the S$541,000 competition.

After 50 minutes, Loh beat Canada’s world No. 69 Sheng Xiaodong in the first round of the India Open on Tues (11 Jan).

The score was 16-21, 21-4, 21-13.

Last year, after he won the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Championships, several members of the public were concerned over the $0 prize money.

As such, the matter was brought up in parliament recently.

Edwin Tong Responds to Parliamentary Questions

Yesterday (12 Jan), Minister for Culture, Community, and Youth Edwin Tong responded to several parliamentary queries.

They were primarily from:

  • Mr Xie Yao Quan, MP for Jurong GRC
  • Ms Poh Li San, MP for Sembawang GRC

Mr Xie queried how potential athletes are identified and groomed in Singapore. He also asked what kind of support and assistance are available to such athletes. Additionally, he wanted to find out how many athletes have benefitted from such schemes.

According to Minister Tong, a “significant portion of funding” goes to supporting the athletes directly. Even though he did not state how much exactly, he did cite the spexScholarship.

Lest you didn’t know, it’s a scholarship issued to the top athletes with the most potential to compete at major competitions.

The scholarship is beneficial for athletes’ daily expenses. It can also be used to offset coaching fees and participation in local and international training and games. Should it be necessary, athletes may also buy equipment and receive extra sports medicine and sport science support.

The amount isn’t specified, but Minister Tong mentioned that it’s in the thousands range.

According to the website on SportSingapore, there are four assessment criteria to spexScholarship.

They are:

  • Training commitment
  • Sports performance
  • Attitude and behaviour
  • Performance and laboratory tests

Since 2013, 168 able-bodied and para-athletes have received this scholarship across different sports.


In case you’re wondering, yes, Loh Kean Yew is a recipient of this scholarship.

Apart from him, five-time Paralympic gold medallist Yip Pin Xiu has also been in the programme.

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On Loh Kean Yew’s Championship Win with Zero Prize Money

Mr Xie then raised an additional question on prize money for our athletes.

Naturally, the recent topic about Loh’s win at the BWF World Championships emerged.

To that question, Minister Tong said that it is up to the prerogative of the competition organisers to decide on the prize money.

He stressed that for Singapore athletes who do get prize money, the Government “retains no part” of it.


Mr Edwin Tong then carried on to highlight that “the Government’s support for our elite athletes is not just a matter of dollars and cents.”

To add on, Tong also said that it’s not just monetary support or coaching, it also spills into the many other aspects of the athlete’s lives.

So basically, the conclusion is that…it’s not about money.

Just like serving NS in Sin—

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Featured Image: YouTube (CNA)


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