Speech by Low Teo Ping, Organising Chairman at the SNOC 70th Anniversary & Singapore Sports Awards

08 Aug 2017
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SPEECH BY MR LOW TEO PING, CHAIRMAN OF THE ORGANISING COMMITTEE FOR SNOC 70TH ANNIVERSARY AND SINGAPORE SPORTS AWARDS 2017 AT SNOC 70TH ANNIVERSARY AND SINGAPORE SPORTS AWARDS CEREMONY AND DINNER ON TUESDAY, 8 AUGUST 2017 AT 6.55PM AT RITZ-CARLTON MILLENIA SINGAPORE

Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security and Patron of the SNOC

Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development and President of the SNOC
 
Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth
 
Officials, coaches and athletes
 
Sponsors and partners
 
Ladies and gentlemen
 
Good evening and welcome to the 70th anniversary celebrations of the SNOC and the 2017 Singapore Sports Awards.

Eighteen years ago at the 1999 Sports Awards on a same stage, I recalled an encounter with an athlete, a sailor in fact, who said these words to me at the 1998 Asian Games venue in Pattaya after winning her gold medal. She said “Thank you for believing in us.” This is truly the essence of why we are here this evening – believing in our athletes.

Thank you for being here this evening to celebrate 70 years of the Olympic movement in Singapore as well as Team Singapore’s achievements in 2016. 

Last year was indeed a very memorable year for Singapore. It was especially poignant for me as I had the privilege to be part of our Olympians’ journey at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as the Chef de Mission. Our Olympians’ spectacular performance in Rio have earned all of them meritorious awards and for some, a spot as a finalist in the main awards. 

Other than the Olympic Games, Team Singapore also put on splendid performances in many local and international competitions. Fencer Lau Ywen became the first Southeast Asian champion at the Junior and Cadet World Fencing Championships. Our bowlers continued a successful streak on the world stage when New Hui Fen took home a silver medal at the World Singles Bowling Championships. Silat athletes, in particular, are sending a strong message with three nominations in four of the main categories. Eddie Reese demonstrated that he is in a league of his own as the sole finalist and eventual winner of the Coach of the Year category. 2014 Sportsman of the Year Peter Gilchrist has proven to be a master at his game, with his World Billiards Championship win showing his consistency at the top. For golden boy Joseph Schooling, will he pull off a hat-trick to take home Sportsman of the Year again? We will know the results shortly.
Four award categories recognise the excellence in event management, inspiring journalism and brilliance in sports photography. Running events continue to dominate the best local sports events with three out of four finalists. Singapore continues to draw international events such as the WTA Finals, FINA Swimming World Cup, HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens to enthrall the crowd here.

Inspiring stories by Leslie Tan and Low Lin Fhoong about Joseph Schooling and Zachery Leow remind us of our loyalty and the strength of the human spirit. Wordsmith Rohit Brijnath wrote about 17-year-old Jonathan Chua’s act of sportsmanship, a deed which left him stunned but luckily not at a loss of words.

This year, we launched a new award category –  the best sports photo of the year. The entries included photos from both hobbyists and professional photographers capturing the authenticity and essence of the sports scene in Singapore. Five outstanding shortlisted images depict the moments of victory, defeat, determination and intimacy of our athletes’ lives. Tonight, we will also present the IOC trophy “Sport beyond Borders” to an organisation which has used sports as a means for greater social inclusion in society.

Like previous years, the selection committees from the SNOC and Sport Singapore met and deliberated on the nominations, then voted for the winners through secret ballots. Other than the Coach of the Year winner, as of now, no one knows the results except auditing firm KPMG who tallied the votes. My heartiest congratulations go out to all finalists and recipients this evening.

I hope you will all have a wonderful experience tonight. The team at Ritz-Carlton has designed a special menu inspired by the Olympic Games and its significance to Singapore. There are also some limited-edition souvenirs commemorating SNOC’s 70th anniversary for you to bring home to remember this special evening.

Last not least, I would like to express my gratitude to the people and organisations who have helped to put this event together. Many thanks to the Tote Board group, comprising Tote Board, Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club; Singapore Airlines; the National Sports Associations; and especially the teams from the SNOC and Sport Singapore for their hard work.

Please join me in welcoming our Guest of Honour, Mr Teo Chee Hean on stage to deliver his speech.