A toast to a special group
SSA honours its athletes after 26-goal haul at SEA Games
Singapore's aqua-athletes were lauded at a celebratory dinner last night after their stellar performance in the pool at the just-concluded SEA Games.
The four pool disciplines - diving, swimming, synchronised swimming and water polo - contributed a massive 26 of Singapore's 84 gold medals, capturing much attention over the two weeks of competition.
At a celebratory dinner at the Swissotel the Stamford last night, Jose Raymond, vice president of finance at the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA), revealed that more support is coming.
"The SSA has secured more than a million dollars worth of cash and value in kind sponsorships which we will be announcing over the next month," Raymond told The New Paper.
"We are grateful to our sponsors who have shown faith in us. Their support of the SSA, our athletes, officials and programmes will only help us do a lot better for Singapore.
"Corporate partnerships, funding and support are critical to any sport and we are glad that our sponsors have chosen to put their faith in SSA and our programmes."
At the dinner, Singapore's aqua-athletes received a limited edition T-shirt. They were also invited back on stage to present their parents with a bouquet of flowers for their support.
It was also announced that a legacy committee, to be chaired by swimming legend, Pat Chan, will be formed, where former greats of the fraternity will pass useful tips and advice to the current generation of athletes.
The swimmers, who bagged 23 gold medals in total, were led by stars Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen.
Zheng Wen won seven golds and looking back on his experience, the 19-year-old said: "Racing in multiple events taught me how to be tough. I learnt how to step up and race against anyone from anywhere.
"It gives me more confidence to go to the next level and race against even faster guys.
"I know we have some really talented athletes in South-east Asia, but I'm ready to take it to the next level.
"(This Games) was a really good stepping stone for me."
His younger sister, Quah Jing Wen, a Games debutante who won a bronze in the 400m individual medley, said watching the older swimmers, including Zheng Wen and big sister Ting Wen, inspired her.
The 14-year-old said: "I loved watching all the seniors swim, especially my siblings. The results were really motivating for me, this was my first big meet and the experience of competing on home ground was really amazing.
"I really enjoyed this whole experience and it was really encouraging for me to get a personal best and win a medal, too."