Speech By Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister And Minister For Defence, and President Singapore National Olympic Council
EVENT: THE 25TH SOUTH EAST ASIAN GAMES MAP AWARDS PRESENTATION AND TEAM SINGAPORE APPRECIATION DINNER
VENUE: THE STAMFORD BALLROOM, FAIRMONT SINGAPORE
Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sport, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Distinguished Guests, Athletes, Ladies and Gentlemen,
- On behalf of the Singapore National Olympic Council and the Singapore Sports Council I welcome you to the Multi Million Dollar Award Programme (MAP) Awards Presentation and Appreciation Dinner to celebrate Team Singapore’s success at the 25th SEA Games, which was held from 9 to 18 December 2009 in Laos.
- Despite fielding one of our leanest contingents to the SEA Games, with 192 athletes, competing in 18 sports, Team Singapore delivered an impressive haul of 98 medals – 33 gold, 30 silver and 35 bronze medals. What is even more heartening is that 90 of our athletes (almost half of the team) were debutants in the SEA Games, while 99 of them were aged 21 and below.
- Team Singapore got off to a flying start. On the opening day we led the Games medal table and in subsequent days kept pace with the leading nations as the athletes in our stronger sports pulled in the medals. In the latter part of the Games, when sports we are weak in were competed, other countries moved up the table. We finally finished 6th after the 10 days of gruelling competition, but not before setting some benchmarks at the Games. Our waterpolo team clinched the first medal of the Games which was also their 23rd successive SEA Games gold medal; the table tennis team won six out of the seven gold medals; and the swimming team dominated the pool competition with 33 medals (14 gold, 8 silver and 11 bronzes), a marked improvement over the 26 medals they won at the 2007 Korat SEA Games. Overall, every sport but one that Team Singapore fielded won medals at the Games.
- At the athletes’ level, we set 12 SEA Games records, 14 National records and 30 personal bests. Many too took up my challenge, and used the opportunity of competition at the Games to raise their performance to beat the qualifying mark for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and the Asian Games in Guangzhou, both of which will be held this year.
- You brought a wonderful end to the year for sports with your gutsy performance at the Laos SEA Games. Tonight, on this auspicious 4th day of the Year of the Tiger we will be presenting MAP awards to the gold medallists at the SEA Games. The red packet you will be receiving has been made possible through the generous sponsorship of the Tote Board & Singapore Pools, our MAP sponsor for the major games since 1995. Thank you Tote Board & Singapore Pools. I wish to thank too the sponsors and partners of Team Singapore to the 25th SEA Games, and the team behind the scene supporting the athletes. These will include the team managers, coaches, parents, employers, NSAs, SSC, the media, the secretariat and medical team, and the supporters who flew to Vientiane. Our athletes were really heartened and encouraged by your care and support. And who can forget our very own Singapore House where our athletes were given their special hot and cold bath, and specially formulated drinks for quick recovery. A special mention must go to our Ambassador and his team at the Singapore Embassy in Vientiane who did a lot of ground work for Team Singapore especially before the Games. Tonight we have laid out a dinner for you, starting with the traditional ‘’Lo Hei’’ to usher in good fortune and success for the Lunar New Year. As you know the year ahead will be a busy one, with the Youth Olympic Games in August, the Commonwealth Games in October and the Asian Games in November. Success comes only from commitment and hard work. But for the moment let us celebrate our team’s success at the SEA Games with the awards and the appreciation dinner. May this be an inspiration and encouragement for greater success this year.
Have an enjoyable evening.