Singapore's athletes ready for the Games
Singapore is set to cross several milestones in the sporting arena over the coming months.
In November, the Republic will be sending its largest contingent of 666 athletes in 48 sports to the Nov 30-Dec 11 SEA Games in the Philippines, followed by 61 athletes across 12 sports at the Asean Para Games from Jan 18-25.
In the same month, two young athletes will be representing the nation at the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Lausanne, Switzerland, from Jan 9-22 – a first for Singapore.
At the official flag presentation ceremony on Saturday (Nov 9), squash player Samuel Kang, para-shuttler Tay Wei Ming and short-track speed skater Alyssa Pok were unveiled as the flag-bearers for the SEA Games, Asean Para Games and Winter YOG respectively. Goalball player Joan Hung led in taking the pledge.
Speaker of Parliament and Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) president Tan Chuan-Jin and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu presented Singapore flags to the respective Games' chefs de mission, who then handed them over to the flag-bearers.
SEA Games chef de mission Juliana Seow said: “This is the largest contingent we are sending to any major Games. Preparations started many months ago as it is a mammoth task getting the 1,000-strong contingent ready for the Games.
"The SNOC, SSI (Singapore Sports Institute), MCCY (Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth), NSAs (national sports associations) and other organisations such as Mindef, the employers and families have all played a very important role in supporting the athletes on their SEA Games journey.
"Keeping our athletes healthy and in tip-top shape to put on their best performance for Singapore, and their safe return thereafter, is our utmost priority and I am grateful for the support from all stakeholders.”
Para-shuttler Tay said: "It has been a busy year leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as there are many competitions to accumulate ranking points in order to qualify.
"Prior to this, the Asean Para Games (APG) happens to fall in place along the timeline as these competitions help me to prep up for APG mentally and physically.
“Working together with the various support groups under the high-performance team, the training is target-specific which covers both technical and physical aspects of the sport. Hopefully, there will be another breakthrough as the top three players of the world will be present at this APG.”
A milestone will be achieved with Alyssa and Matthew Hamnett, both 15, being the country's first representatives at the Winter YOG. Matthew will be taking part in the ice hockey mixed team tournament.
Winter YOG chef de mission Joanne Kyra Loo said: “I am sure Alyssa and Matthew feel the honour of being the first Singaporeans to represent (the country) at the Winter YOG. 2020 is not only a celebration of another milestone for youth sports in Singapore, it also marks the 10-year anniversary since Singapore’s hosting of the inaugural edition of YOG.
"It is a significant milestone that we are proud to share and celebrate. The YOG athletes will also engage in a unique blend of sporting, cultural and educational activities which form an important part of the YOG.”