Singapore fans looking forward to the Games
In a bid to drum up interest for the week-long Asean Para Games in Singapore, organisers launched a public carnival last Saturday at the Singapore Sports Hub. The carnival, which ends next Wednesday, will feature Para Sports Tryouts and the Para Experience Zone. Over the last few days, The New Paper's JESLEEN SOH talked to various members of the public and discovered there is excitement building ahead of tomorrow's grand opening ceremony at the Indoor Stadium.
A 41-year-old forex trader, Riduan Hamidon, was at the Asean Para Games Carnival yesterday with his family.
Fun Poh Peng, a human resource manager, was also there with her loved ones.
And both were looking forward to the start of the Games and the excitement of watching the athletes doing their best in the battle for medals.
"I've never watched an Asean Para Games before, so I am excited," Riduan said. "I expect Singapore will win a few gold medals and every host country would like to have that."
There will be around 3,000 athletes and officials from 10 Asean nations in Singapore for the Games, and 15 sports will be contested, with track and field and swimming the two biggest events.
Fun, 39, does not have a favourite sport and she is looking forward to the performances by Team Singapore athletes.
"I just think they will do Singapore proud," she said. "They are amazing and I'm sure Team Singapore will win medals, definitely."
Singapore Asean Para Games Organising Committee (Sapgoc) chairman Lim Teck Yin told TNP last week that these Para Games are not only about winning, but also educating the public by showcasing what extraordinary feats human beings can do, even with disabilities.
Ho Hwee Bin, a Games volunteer, knows what Lim is talking about.
The 36-year-old teacher, who will be a Games Service Officer at the National Stadium, is proud of her eight-year-old son, who will be attending events through the seven days of competition.
"He knows most of the athletes' names. He also watches on TV, and because he keeps a look-out via newspapers and radio, he knows all these athletes' names," she said.
The National Stadium will host track and field and cerebral palsy football, while the OCBC Aquatic Centre stage the swimming events.
Indeed, the Sports Hub will host eight of the 15 sports - including badminton, chess, wheelchair basketball, boccia and table tennis.
Goalball, football five-a-side and powerlifting competitions will be at the Marina Bay Sands, sailing at Marina Bay, bowling at Temasek Club and shooting at Yishun Safra.
Hairil Ali Mansol will strive to make a difference from the stands, especially at the OCBC Arena for table tennis.
His friend, Jason Chee, is taking part in the men's singles, men's doubles and team events, and the 35-year-old civil servant said: "Hopefully, he'll move on and reach the final. We'll definitely support him.
"We will definitely come down and have a look at the Games because this is out of the ordinary."
As the clock ticks down to tomorrow's opening ceremony at the Indoor Stadium, Toh Boon Yi, chief of corporate and community outreach of Sapgoc, believes the athletes will receive strong support from the public.
"Preparations have been very good and I think, more importantly, we are very happy to see that the support from the community is very strong," he told TNP.
"I think it's part of an entire country and an entire Singapore coming together as one Team Singapore."
They are amazing and I’m sure Team Singapore will win medals, definitely.
— HR manager Fun Poh Peng on Singapore’s para-athletes
KNOW YOUR PARA-SPORTS
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF SAPGOC, ST
There are 11 sport classes. Players compete either in a wheelchair or on their feet. The table and equipment are the same as the regular games.
Male and female bowlers compete for the same prizes, although the female bowlers will receive a handicap of 10 pinfalls per game.
There are a total of 10 sport classes and the events contested are mixed singles, doubles and trios.
The rules are broadly similar to basketball, with each team consisting of five players and the same court size and basket height.
Players are classified by a points system (1 to 4.5) based on their sport class. A team must field five players whose cumulative classification does not exceed 14.0 points during a match.
Players must pass or bounce the ball after every two pushes of the wheels on their chairs to avoid being penalised for "travelling".