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The evolution of sports in the modern world is an interesting one. In the past, men took up spears to hunt animals for food. He who could use the spear most expertly would usually bring home a bigger supply of food. Nowadays, men take up spears only in sports, in what we now call 'javelin throwing'.

What used to be essential skills in survival, such as running, shooting and jumping, are now skills that are tested primarily in the sports arena. Man no longer has to aim well to shoot at a deer grazing in the grassland or jump over difficult terrain in pursuit of his prey. What he does have to do now is to prove to others that he can shoot further or more accurately than the other competitors, or outrun his opponents in a race.

The pursuit of excellence in sports has become the desire and purpose of every true sportsman today. Sportsmen have to be armed with an indomitable spirit of determination and discipline in order to reach heights ordinary men can only dream of. Carl Lewis, one of the world's fastest men, ran the 100-meter race under ten seconds. Michael Jordan outjumped and outscored his opponents in many basketball matches in the United Sates. Michael Owen captured the hearts of millions of fans when he outsmarted the opposing team to dribble and kick home a crucial goal during the 1998 World Cup. These sportsmen lay claims to glory through their amazing feats in the sports they play and excel in.

However, what significance does sports hold for the ordinary people -- people who cannot perform extraordinary feats like the above-mentioned sports icons of modern times ? Thankfully, sports exist for another very vital reason. They promote health. When we engage in a sport, whether it is cycling, swimming, playing football or tennis, it helps to build up our physical as well as mental strength. When the body is strong, it means that we are able to fight off infections or illnesses, such as cold or fever, better and faster than someone who is not physically healthy.

Sports also help to build up our mental strength. Engaging in any type of sports demands focus. One would not want to cycle right into the drain or be hit by a tennis ball coming right at you. Similarly, we need discipline to complete the various exercises. it takes time and effort to train to play basketball or to complete a long distance run.

Hence, sports have become an integral part of our lives and it is no wonder that the Singapore Government is trying to encourage a nation of healthy living by promoting sports.

   
Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. According to the writer, how did sports evolve ?
  2. What does the phrase 'bigger supply of food' (paragraph 1) refer to ?
  3. What must a sportsman have to pursue excellence in any sport according to the passage ?
  4. Why are those sportsmen mentioned in paragraph 3 famous ?
  5. What does the phrase 'promote health' (paragraph 4) mean according to the passage ?
  6. What does 'mental strength' (paragraph 4) refer to ?
  7. When is a person 'physically health' (paragraph 4) ?
  8. What is the phrase in paragraph 4 that has the same meaning as 'resist' ?
  9. What is the Singapore Government trying to promote ?
  10. Why do you think having a nation of healthy people is important ?
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Answers
 

1.

The skills that were once needed for survival have become skills that are part of sports today. / Sports evolved from essential survival skills man had used in the past.
 

2.

It refers to the animals that have been hunted and killed by man for food to feed his family.
 

3.

He must have an indomitable spirit of determination and discipline to pursue excellence in any sport.
 

4.

They ha achieved feats in their own sporting events that ordinary men were unable to do. / They had gained glory through the amazing feats in their own sports events.
 

5.

It means to encourage people to take care of their health. / It means to encourage people to be healthy.
  6. It refers to the ability to focus and the discipline to complete any exercise.
  7. A person is physically healthy when his body is able to fight off infections and illnesses easily.
  8. The phrase is 'fight off'.
  9. It is trying to promote sports as part of a healthy lifestyle.
  10. Healthy people are able to work better. / It helps the country to progress.
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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