For close to 12 hours, Our Tampines Hub was abuzz with the rhythmic sound of shuttlecocks and nifty movement of players as they pitted their skills against one another.
However, this was no ordinary match. Held on 21 Jan 2024 from 8.30am to 9.30pm, SMASH IT! 2024 was a mass badminton match organised as part of the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB)’s DrugFreeSG campaign.
The objective of this event was to empower youth and to break the walls of ignorance on drug abuse. The winners were not only champions on the court but also, champions against drug abuse.
SMASH IT! 2024 was jointly organised by the National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA), Teck Ghee Community Sports Network (CSN) and Republic Polytechnic (RP).
BEYOND THE COURT
“SMASH IT! 2024 met the desired outcomes as planned,” said Mr Jeremy Zhan, Lecturer at the School of Sports, Health and Leisure, who teaches Health Management and Promotion. He added: “We met the targeted participation numbers across the nine categories in the badminton competition.”
While the on-court action showcased intense matches, the focus on sportsmanship among the youth participants was equally outstanding.
SMASH IT! 2024 aims to create a platform for promoting a healthy lifestyle, including addressing issues regarding drug awareness.
Mr Zhan said: “The fringe activities in SMASH IT! 2024 such as information booths or presentations, can effectively disseminate information about the risks of substance abuse and promote healthy lifestyle choices.”
Matthew Kwek Geng Hao, 27, a third-year RP Health Management and Promotion student, was one of the event organisers who worked closely with Mr Zhan. Matthew said he relished the experience as he was able to apply what he learnt in the Youth Health module, which covered topics such as substance abuse and healthy living.
“We brought badminton players from Ang Mo Kio, Woodlands and all our partners, especially those from RP to come to Tampines Hub to sweat it out,” said Matthew.
Before that, he also conducted surveys among today’s youth to identify activities that foster unity and connection. Badminton, categorised under physical activities programme, became a focal point.
THE COURT CONQUERERS
Leanne Ng, 23, a National University of Singapore student, not only demonstrated the importance of sportsmanship but also embraced the value of SMASH IT! 2024. She said she joined the competition because of her friends.
Considering that peer influence is a significant factor that shapes behaviours and choices, it includes the reflection of the overall game based on the partner’s emotions and support.
Likewise, a positive peer influence also becomes important in maintaining a drug-free lifestyle by contributing to personal growth and motivating one to make better choices.
“Don’t do drugs, just smash it!” Leanne, the female doubles champion, exclaimed.
Tan Cheng En, 19, a second-year RP Sports & Exercise Science student, was the champion of the mixed category. Similar to Leanne, he viewed the sport as more than just a thrilling game on the court – a gateway to a healthy lifestyle.
“Playing sports helps you to distract yourself from abusive substances,” shared Cheng En.
He recognised the transformative power of sports and said that activities such as badminton are healthy outlets for youths to make friends through sports.
Utilising the essence of positive influence, community engagement contributes to health advocacy in SMASH IT! 2024, such as the sharing of messages and dangers of drug abuse to families and friends.
Lee Mei Xuan, RP student event organiser, shared: “Community engagement raises awareness to a larger audience so through this, people would be more aware of what to do to have a healthy lifestyle. By spreading their knowledge to others would help to promote healthy living.”
Additionally, significant media coverage also provided opportunities to amplify key messages through different media channels, reaching a wider range of audience.
Mr Zhan explained: “Throughout the competition, players exchanged handshakes, offered words of encouragement to each other, and showed a genuine appreciation for their opponents’ skills.
“The supportive atmosphere created by these young athletes added an extra layer of excitement to the event, making it a memorable experience for spectators and participants alike.”
While the success of SMASH IT! 2024 exceeds the scoreboard, it brought the community tighter than before in combating drug abuse.
Looking ahead, in Singapore’s progression to a drug-free nation, SMASH IT! 2024 is a wise and honourable addition. As sports possess the power to establish a conversational ground, it contradicts the negative effects of drug abuse while building an inclusive community. There will be more of such efforts to come under CNB’s drug-free campaign for a better tomorrow.