Speech by Guest-of-Honour, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin
SPEECH BY MR TAN CHUAN-JIN, MINISTER FOR SOCIAL AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT AND PRESIDENT OF THE SINGAPORE NATIONAL OLYMPIC COUNCIL AT THE SINGAPORE SPORTS AWARDS 2016 AWARDS CEREMONY AND DINNER ON THURSDAY, 23 JUNE 2016 AT 7.30PM AT THE RAFFLES CITY CONVENTION CENTRE
Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth
Dr Tan Eng Liang, Organising Chairman of the 2016 Singapore Sports Awards and Vice-President of the Singapore National Olympic Council
Colleagues from Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Sport Singapore and the Singapore National Olympic Council
Officials, coaches and athletes
Sponsors and partners
Ladies and gentlemen
A very good evening to you.
Let me first extend my congratulations to all finalists and recipients of this year’s Singapore Sports Awards.
We have been celebrating and recognising the successes and achievements of our athletes at the Singapore Sports Awards since 1967. This year, it is no different; we are here to pay tribute to the finalists nominated in the 11 main awards categories as well as those who will receive Meritorious Awards for their impressive efforts in 2015.
I am pleased to note that more athletes and sports are being recognised – 232 athletes in the Meritorious categories and among the 21 sports and disciplines, popular new sports such as Floorball are joining the ranks for the first time.
All our athletes toil endlessly in their quest to become world-class. Among them are our canoeists, whose rising standards have earned them finalist spots in the prestigious Sportsman and Sportswomen of the Year categories this year. This speaks volume of the canoeists and the sport’s steady development over the years.
Meanwhile, many sports have also sustained consistent achievements at the regional and international levels.
Bowlers Shayna Ng, New Hui Fen and Cherie Tan won medals at the World Women’s Championship, setting a historic feat of winning a medal in every event at the tournament. Not to be outdone, their younger teammate Joey Yeo surprised her senior competitors by winning the Bowling World Open event.
Swimmer Joseph Schooling continues to awe Singaporeans with his exploits in the water. The bronze medal he won at the 2015 FINA World Championships in the men’s 100m fly event heralded his arrival among the world’s best. Meanwhile, teammate Quah Zheng Wen, 28th SEA Games’ most bemedalled athlete with 12 medals, has also been making marked improvements and proved his versatility in being an all-round swimmer. Both Joseph and Zheng Wen will be competing in their second Olympic Games this August, I wish them all the best in their final preparations.
Our athletes from Sailing, Table Tennis and Silat also continue to do well, punching above their weight at continental and world championships.
Behind these achievements are the efforts of a special group of people – the coaches who toil behind the scenes to help our athletes work on technique, prepare against competitors, worry about our athletes’ well being, among many other details. We recognise their dedication and contributions in the Coach of the Year Award.
The Best Sports Events continue to encourage event organisers to create quality audience experiences, which are entertaining, fun and enjoyable for Singaporeans at large.
Last year, with the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games on our shores, our local journalists managed to publish a trove of stories and anecdotes of our athletes’ journey. I thank them for being on the ground, discovering stories which would otherwise be left untold. The Most Inspiring Sports Story Award honours journalists whose scribe has made an impact to its readers.
We will also be honouring special awards to two extraordinary individuals, who through their exemplary deeds, have displayed sportsmanship and fortitude. Marathoner Ashley Liew put his character to the fore when he gave up an early lead when his competitors missed a U-turn at the 28th SEA Games. Rhythmic Gymnastics coach Zhu Xiaoping’s dedication to her sport and athletes did not waver even as she struggles with her battle with Stage 4 colon cancer. Both Ashley and Zhu Lao Shi have demonstrated values which we often overlook and take for granted. Thank you for showing us that little acts of kindness and dedication can make a difference.
The Singapore Sports Awards is made possible because of the generosity of our partners and sponsors. Many thanks to the Tote Board family comprising Tote Board, Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club; and Singapore Airlines, for your support over the years.
My appreciation goes out to all athletes, officials, coaches, family members, supporters and the media for your important contribution to Team Singapore.
In 42 days’ time, more than 20 athletes will be flying our flag high at the upcoming Olympic Games, so please join me in supporting their endeavours and cheer them on as they represent Singapore in Rio de Janeiro.
I wish you an enjoyable evening. Thank you.