Co-chefs de mission call this a Games of inspiration
Co-chefs de mission give Team Singapore a glowing report, and pay tribute to the work of the SSI
As the 28th SEA Games drew to a close last night after over two weeks of intense competition, Singapore's medal count read 84 golds, 73 silvers and 102 bronzes.
It was an astonishing figure, dwarfing the previous record of 50 golds set in 1993 - the last time the Republic hosted the Games.
Star man Joseph Schooling was the standout individual performer with nine golds, his teammate Quah Zheng Wen collected seven as the swimming team amassed a record 23 in all, a record in itself.
The Republic's sailors plundered 10 golds, the world-class table tennis machine struck six and the canoeists surprised with seven.
For chefs de mission Tan Eng Liang and Nicholas Fang, this was a Games full of inspiration.
Speaking at a post-Games wrap-up at the Singapore Sports Hub, yesterday, Tan said: "I would rate this Games an eight or nine out of 10.
"This 28th SEA Games has produced numerous heroes and heroines, and they're all inspiring, encouraging role models for younger athletes to follow.
"For example, there's Shanti (Pereira), who won gold in the women's 200m and is an inspiration.
"And there's also (Quah) Zheng Wen and his sister (Ting Wen), who, many years ago, weren't even members of private swimming clubs. They had no top facilities.
"They were in Bedok's public swimming pool, swimming on their own.
"Every one of the athletes, they are all an inspiration."
Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) chief, Bob Gambardella, said the Games rubber- stamped the country's standing as a regional sporting powerhouse, but added there was still much to do.
"I think there's still a lot of work to be done in the future," he said.
"For us, there's really no looking back any more. We've got to a point now where we've had a great performance this past Games, and the expectation now is much, much more.
"We've raised the bar and I think we'll have to be ready to meet those demands."
To ensure that the country remains on the front foot, Fang emphasised how important funding was to the cause of sport.
"I think we also can't overstate the importance of financial funding," he said.
"The work the SSI has done, in terms of sports science and biomechanics, has been very, very significant.
"In the past, this kind of high-level support might have been restricted to key sports, but now the SSI has been trying to include all other sports that are looking at increasing their game."
Crucially, this Games was also about drawing out Singaporeans to the various competition venues.
While football has often been singled out as the only sport able to attract a huge swathe of Singaporeans to a stadium, the 2015 SEA Games has shown that today, the public are also interested in hockey, track and field, netball and so many other disciplines.
Venues across the island witnessed a healthy turnout, many arenas were packed, and Fang lauded the patriotism on show.
"You saw queues snaking out of the venues, and people were fighting to get in and queuing up for hours just to cheer Singapore on," said Fang.
"That made a huge difference in the performance of the athletes, knowing that the country was behind them."
"This 28th SEA Games has produced numerous heroes and heroines, and they’re all inspiring, encouraging role models for younger athletes to follow... Every one of the athletes, they are all an inspiration."
- Singapore’s chef de mission Tan Eng Liang