The Kovan Sports Centre witnessed a larger than usual weekend crowd on 25 March 2017. The occasion was the annual ‘Racial Harmony’ 4-A-Side Football Tournament organised by YSA. More than 500 Singaporeans, new citizens and expatriates came together to participate in the futsal tournament.

Member of Parliament for MacPherson SMC, Ms Tin Pei Ling, who kicked off the event, joined in the fun by playing an exhibition match involving players from different ethnic groups as well as members of the YSA team. She was impressed with the camaraderie shown by the players and commented that, “Such community efforts are important as they help build bonds among the different groups of people in Singapore. The tournament is successful as reflected by the fact that it has been going on for such a long time and the presence of so many players and supporters at this year’s event.”

Now in its 13th year, this tournament aims to promote racial harmony by requesting teams to include players from different communities as well as encouraging the players to get to know one another though side activities, telematch and a quiz on Singapore as well as during the tea reception. A vast majority of the 60 teams which participated in the tournament consisted of players from different ethnic groups and backgrounds. The event is also geared towards promoting a healthy lifestyle among the participants.

Ms Dilmeet Kaur, who played in the multiracial Deloitte team, commented that events such as these give her a chance to understand and appreciate her colleagues’ different backgrounds and enable her mingle with them outside work hours. She stated that, “When we are working, it is hard to interact with one another as some of us are in different work groups. Such sporting activities bring us together by letting us have some good fun and meet other people who share the same interests as us.” Her team bagged the first place in the ‘Ladies’ category.

Mr Tamil Marren, a former national footballer, was impressed with the diversity of the event. He said, “When you look at the tournament, you see so many players – young and not so young, men and ladies, Chinese, Malays, Indians and Sikhs, local and expatriates, and new citizens – all coming together to play football. And in doing so, they meet, interact and go home with a better understanding of one another.” Mr Marren’s team, Thursday Knights ‘A’, emerged winners in the ‘Veteran’ category.

In the ‘Open’ category, MIB came out on top after an exciting penalty shootout victory over La Plata Juniors ‘A’ in the final while CVF Duo won the ‘Under-16’ category and PSG Boys took top honours in the ‘Under-12’ category.

The football tournament was supported by the National Integration Fund, Harmony Fund (Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth), Central Singapore CDC, Football Association of Singapore, Singapore Indian Development Association Youth Club and Lee Foundation.

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