Low to lead Team Singapore at Rio Olympics
Rugby chief named chef de mission for Team Singapore at next year's Olympics
The 2016 Olympic Games will be held in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, and it will be the furthest away for Team Singapore athletes since the 1968 Mexico Games.
Chef de mission Low Teo Ping is hardly fussed, though.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, the veteran sports administrator said: "The biggest challenge is to ensure that the athletes have a good passage going to Rio, since this will be a long way from Singapore as compared to previous venues such as Athens, Sydney and London.
"We have to look after their interests, like determining the best time to leave, so as to make sure they get the best rest and are not affected by external preparations."
In a statement yesterday, the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) revealed Low would be the chef de mission for the Republic at next year's Olympics, from Aug 5 to 21.
The 70-year-old, an SNOC vice-president, is also president of the Singapore Rugby Union and has served as chef de mission at the 2007 SEA Games, the 2010 Asian Games and, most recently, the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
This will be Low's first time leading the Olympic contingent.
"It is a privilege to lead the 2016 Olympic team, and it is definitely exciting," he said.
Low will attend the chef de mission seminar in Rio from Aug 17 to 21, and plans to familiarise himself with Brazil and the logistical aspects required for the biggest country in South America.
He said: "The Rio 2016 Chefs de Mission Seminar will present the details we need to help prepare the team when they are in Rio for the Games. We will also be there exactly one year before the Games to experience the climate during the Games.
"I look forward to visiting Rio and learning more about the venues to bring back information vital to our team."
Last month's SEA Games in Singapore saw unprecedented success for the hosts, as their athletes bagged 84 golds, 73 silvers and 102 bronzes - the 259-medal total was the highest collected by any nation this year.
There is a buzz surrounding Singapore sport at the moment, and next year's Olympics could be Singapore's most successful one yet.
The women's table tennis team will be aiming to win at least a medal for a third successive Games, after a team silver in 2008 in Beijing and a team bronze and individual bronze in singles in London 2012.
There will also be much excitement over swim sensation Joseph Schooling, as the 20-year-old butterfly sprint ace looks to become the first Singapore swimmer to win a medal at an Olympics.
Shooters like Jasmine Ser have the talent to qualify and make an impression in Rio, along with the sailors, but Low, the former sailing president, was not talking medals yesterday.
"We are quite unfamiliar with Rio but, in terms of the Games itself, every country will be on the same level-playing field," he said.
"(Our athletes) are the elite athletes in their respective sports and we expect them to be ready for the competition.
"They would have trained and will go there to do their level best."
Having led numerous teams overseas, Low will strive to ensure a smooth-sailing Olympics for Singapore's athletes.
"Hopefully it will be incident-free and it will be a Games where the athletes do Singapore proud," he said.
"As of now, our sailors and swimmers have qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games. There are many other athletes who are working very hard to meet the mark to represent Singapore at the 2016 Games. I wish them all the best in qualification and their preparations."
- Low Teo Ping, Singapore chef de mission for Team Singapore at the 2016 Rio Games