The recent 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games here saw an outpouring of support from Singaporeans.
The exploits of Team Singapore athletes such as swimmer Joseph Schooling and sprinter Shanti Pereira have been feted, just as much as stories of grit and sportsmanship, as in the case of marathoner Ashley Liew, who slowed down during his race when he found out that his competitors had taken a wrong turn.
The organisers of the 8th Asean Para Games are hoping that Singaporeans will similarly support Team Singapore's para athletes when the Republic hosts the Games for the first time from Dec 3 to 9.
But the organisers are well aware that the public may not be knowledgeable about para-sports, as they are with sports for the able-bodied.
"I think people will receive the Asean Para Games in a slightly different way," said Singapore Asean Para Games Organising Committee exco chairman Lim Teck Yin at the unveiling of the Games' first official sponsor Deloitte at the Sports Hub Library yesterday.
"Here, we need to raise awareness of the sports that will be played, as well as the rules, as many people in Singapore are not familiar with some of the para-sports, such as goal ball."
"I think the Asean Para Games will enable them to understand how our athletes have risen above their disabilities to perform with the same tenacity we see in all sports," added Lim, who was also the SEA Games organising exco chairman.
Media coverage, television commercials and live coverage will go a long way to promote para-sports, said Incheon Asian Para Games gold medallist sailor Jovin Tan.
He said: "During the SEA Games, I wanted to check out live coverage of the sailing action online, as I also wanted to check out the conditions.
"But I couldn't find any and I hope this can change during the Asean Para Games, so that people can find out what disabled sailing is about."
Meanwhile, Deloitte, which was also a SEA Games sponsor, became the first official sponsor of the Para Games yesterday.
The firm will provide more than $500,000 in cash and services in terms of professional service delivery, marketing and creative support, and Games volunteers, making it a Tier One sponsor and the Official Professional Services Partner of the Games.
SECONDED TO HELP
Also, Deloitte staff such as national netball captain Micky Lin have already been seconded to work with the organising committee.
Lim is confident that the organisers will reach their target of $5 million in sponsorships, while Deloitte Singapore CEO Philip Yuen is also optimistic of more corporate sponsors coming forward.
Yuen said: "We have seen how (sponsorship) has taken off during the SEA Games... And this being the finale of SG50 celebrations, I think there will be a lot of support."