Speech by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, and President of the Singapore National Olympic Council at the Flag Presentation Ceremony for the 19th Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010
EVENT: THE FLAG PRESENTATION CEREMONY FOR THE 19TH COMMONWEALTH GAMES DELHI 2010
VENUE: CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL
DATE: 21 SEPTEMBER 2010
Mr Seah Kian Peng, GPC Chairman for Community Development, Youth and Sports;
Ms Annabel Pennefather, Chef-de-Mission of Team Singapore to the 19th Commonwealth Games;
Officials and Athletes;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
A very good evening.
- These are exciting times for sports in Singapore and there appears to be non-stop action for Team Singapore. Many of us are still talking about the exciting and thrilling moments we had at the recently concluded Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, and now, we are sending our largest ever contingent of athletes to the Commonwealth Games – the 19th Commonwealth Games in Delhi, which commences on 4 October.
- The Commonwealth Games is an important facet of our sporting history. Team Singapore’s story at the Commonwealth Games began 52 years ago at the 1958 Games in Cardiff, England. The story of Singapore’s participation in the Commonwealth Games, since then, is a story of perseverance through ups and downs, in 14 editions of the Games so far. I am proud to state that over the last few editions, our progress has been on the up, and at the last Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, our 18 medal haul with 5 Gold, 6 Silver and 7 Bronze medals was Team Singapore’s best ever performance at the Commonwealth Games.
- Our medal wins at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and the recently concluded YOG are confirmation of Singapore’s commitment to sports and the determination of our Team Singapore athletes to make their mark in the world arena. We now venture into Delhi 2010 with excitement and confidence.
- This year, we will be fielding 68 athletes and 34 officials who will be participating in 8 out of 17 sports featured. Three of our athletes will also be competing in the Elite Athletes with Disability (EAD) events, namely in Athletics, Swimming and PowerLifting.
- Of our 68 athletes, 29 athletes – almost half of our contingent — are 21 years old or younger. These young athletes have earned their place in Team Singapore by meeting the qualifying requirements for the Games, something which we should be very proud of. We also have a few firsts to be proud of. Team Singapore will be fielding women archers for the first time in the Commonwealth Games, in Vanessa Loh, Wendy Tan and Elizabeth Cheok. For the first time too in a major Games, Singapore will be represented in women’s weightlifting through Helena Wong, and in Synchronised Swimming through Gayle Esther Lee. Shooting will once again field its biggest team, it was 11 in Melbourne, and now for Delhi there will be 20 shooters.
- I salute every single athlete who has held the Singapore flag high through all these years in the face of difficult competition and personal challenges. It is through your will to succeed that Singapore has continued to achieve results at the highest level of competition and against some of the world’s best athletes. You have persevered when the going got tough, endured when there was disappointment and have performed despite the many challenges. In the process, you have rallied the nation to stand behind you, well done each and every one of you.
- To all Team Singapore athletes going to Delhi, thank you for putting in the hard work. Do your best in the true spirit of sportsmanship, and continue to uphold the Team Singapore’s values of pride, performance and perseverance. At all times keep the Singapore flag flying high.
- I ask you all to join me in wishing the Chef-de-Mission Ms Annabel Pennefather and Team Singapore the very best in the Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010.