ASG CDM Tan to athletes: Focus on development, not medals
This year is the 50th anniversary of Asean and, for the first time, all 10 member countries will be taking part in the ninth edition of the Asean Schools Games (ASG) hosted by Singapore from July 14 to 20.
At a media briefing at the Sports Hub Library yesterday, it was announced that the event is expected to host over 1,750 student-athletes and officials. This is the second time Singapore is hosting the annual ASG since its introduction in 2009.
The last time the ASG was held in Singapore in 2011, the Republic finished second behind Thailand with 26 gold, 22 silver and 31 bronze medals.
In last year's edition in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Singapore bagged 57 medals - 13 golds, 14 silvers and 30 bronzes - to finish fourth among eight countries.
The Republic will be represented this year by 205 athletes from 45 schools competing in 10 sports - athletics, badminton, basketball, gymnastics, sepak takraw, swimming, table tennis, tennis, volleyball and tenpin bowling.
This year will also be the first time that tenpin bowling is featured at the ASG.
The opening ceremony on July 14 will be officiated by Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
At yesterday's briefing, chef de mission Tan Teck Hock said that the focus will be on development and not solely on medals.
"No numbers were given to me (to achieve)," said the Singapore Sports School principal, who will be assisted by deputy chef de mission Koh Yiak Kheng, the principal of Seng Kang Secondary School.
"We don't want to put unnecessary pressure on our athletes.
"The athletes must strive to beat their personal bests."
Singapore's athletes may enjoy home ground advantage, but Tan cautioned that they will have to raise their levels to achieve success.
He said: "The familiarity with the climate and venue conditions give our athletes an edge.
"But our competitors have trained with us and even competed in Singapore.
"They will come prepared, and the competition will be stiff.
"We can guarantee that when the Singapore colours are donned, we do our best."
Ryan Lee, a 17-year-old gymnast who is competing in the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in August, said: "It's a good platform for me to gain more experience and confidence in the build-up to the SEA Games.
"The more we compete, the less pressure there is during competitions."