Team Singapore support campaign launched
Minister Grace Fu launches nation-wide movement to garner support for Singapore athletes competing in the South-east Asia Games and Asean Para Games this year.
The 3,000-capacity OCBC Arena was packed to the brim with supporters - mostly Singaporean - as the Republic faced arch-rivals Malaysia in the South-east Asia (SEA) Games netball final.
The two sides were evenly matched, with leads changing hands several times during the game.
The cheers intensified and reverberated in the cavernous arena as the clock wound down, and exploded into unbridled joy at the final whistle. Singapore 46 Malaysia 43. Gold for the home team.
Netball's co-vice-captain Charmaine Soh remembers that match as if it happened yesterday, as she plumped for support from Singaporeans for the upcoming SEA Games and Asean Para Games (APG) in Kuala Lumpur.
The SEA Games will take place from Aug 19-30, while the APG will be held from Sep 17-23.
"It was really very encouraging to see the crowd cheering us, even though we weren't leading at times, especially in the last quarter," said the 27-year-old, at the sidelines of the launch of the #OneTeamSG Ready for KL campaign at the Singapore Sports Institute in Kallang on Saturday (June 10) morning.
"They never gave up on us and cheered even louder, and that's what we hope to see in KL."
At the Team Singapore camp on Saturday, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu launched the nation-wide campaign, which will be fronted by 10 Team Singapore athletes, who were all either champions or medallists at the SEA Games on home ground in 2015.
The 10 athletes are Shanti Pereira (athletics), Muhd Nur Alifian Juma'en (silat), Quah Ting Wen (swimming), Mark Leong (waterski), Chelsea Ann Sim (taekwondo), Clarence Chew (table tennis), Charmaine Soh (netball), Theresa Goh (swimming), Nur Syahidah Alim (archery) and Suhairi Suhani (athletics).
The campaign will take place between Saturday and Sep 30, after the APG.
The public will see the profiles of these 10 athletes on public buses, MRT stations, bus-stop shelters and billboards across the island.
Singaporeans can pledge their support for Games-bound athletes by tagging their well-wishes with the hashtag #OneTeamSG on social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, or via the Team Singapore website and roadshows.
Supporters stand to win prizes, including Team Singapore premiums and all-expenses paid trips to support Singapore athletes in KL.
Paddler Chew, 21, said: "Hopefully, there'd be Singaporeans who are able to travel to KL... and I think it'd be good if they can follow the Games and just share their encouragement and support for us even through social media, if they are not able to come down to support us."
Minister Fu also took the chance to address more than 50 able-bodied and para-athletes at the Team Singapore camp on Saturday.
Six half-day sessions, involving about 500 athletes, will be held in all on Jun 4, 10 and 11, and it is the first time both able-bodied athletes and para-athletes are attending the team bonding sessions together.
Minister Fu asked the athletes to also do their part to rally the people to support them at the Games.
She said: "As we go to the Games, it is also important to bring the rest of the country together, this is how sports can really inspire people; it can have that effect on the rest of the country.
"It is important for us to see the effect and influence of sports on the nation. And you can do that, not just in competition, on the field, or on the podium."
Minister Fu also encouraged the athletes to dream big, and work hard towards their goals.
She said: "We need to aim high... and not be afraid to reach high, because that's how champions are made.
"... We want to show the world that even though we are small, we are a little red dot, but the red dot shines brightly, and we can be a big place for sports here in Singapore."