Speech by SNOC President at 29th SEA Games MAP Awards
SPEECH BY MR TAN CHUAN-JIN, SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT AND PRESIDENT OF THE SINGAPORE NATIONAL OLYMPIC COUNCIL AT THE 29TH SEA GAMES MAP AWARDS PRESENTATION & APPRECIATION DINNER ON THURSDAY, 5 OCTOBER 2017, 7.00PM AT ORCHARD HOTEL SINGAPORE
Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth
Colleagues and friends from the SNOC, MCCY, SportSG and NSAs
Athletes and officials
Sponsors and partners
Ladies and gentlemen
It is a delight to be here with you this evening to celebrate Team Singapore’s outing at the 29th SEA Games.
Team Singapore recorded an impressive haul of 57 gold, 58 silver and 73 bronze medals, setting 15 Games records, 13 national records and 27 personal best performances while doing so. It was a best showing at an away Games, posted by a 560 athlete-strong team that was also our largest away contingent yet. Congratulations to Team Singapore for raising the bar further and for inspiring us with your record-breaking performances.
We witnessed many celebratory moments in Kuala Lumpur. Some were especially poignant and reflected not just the results of our athletes, but also of the journeys they took to come this far. Since the 2015 SEA Games, swimmer Roanne Ho endured two major surgeries – first for a collapsed lung, then a shoulder tear. She missed a chance to qualify for the Olympics, faced personal struggles and doubted she could ever rediscover her form. She did. She not only retained her gold medal, but also set a new National and Games record in the 50m breaststroke event.
There were also some outstanding breakthroughs at these Games. Golfers Gregory Foo, Joshua Shou, Marc Ong and Joshua Ho broke a 28-year title drought when they beat Thailand in a sudden-death playoff in the men’s team event. For the first time in 22 years, the men’s bowling team of Basil Ng, Cheah Ray Han, Darren Ong, Keith Saw, Timothy Tham and Muhammad Jaris Goh brought the gold home. Their team-mates in squash – Samuel Kang, Vivian Rhamanan, Pang Ka Hoe, Benedict Chan, Mao Shi Hui and Sherilyn Yang – also ended a 22-year title drought winning gold medals in the men’s team and women’s jumbo doubles events respectively. Dipna Lim-Prasad’s silver medal in the women’s 400m broke one of Singapore’s longest-standing records – a 43-year-old mark which Chee Swee Lee set at the 1974 Asian Games. The women’s high jump title, proven elusive since 1965, was finally secured by Michelle Sng after 52 years.
Every record, medal, score, athlete and even official has its own story. There are some, like swimmer Samantha Yeo, who broke two national records within a day. Or others like Ang Kee Meng, who may not be an athlete at the Games, but went above and beyond as the cycling team manager to visit athlete Noel Teh daily in the hospital when he was in a coma after a training accident before the Games.
Behind every record, medal, score and athlete, there is also a tribe of family, friends and strangers who support and cheer our athletes and officials on. Many thanks to all of you – families, friends and employers who are part of the Singapore sporting journey. Team managers, coaches, training partners, administrators and officials including those at our National Sports Associations, Sport Singapore, Singapore Sports Institute and MCCY – your work has contributed to the success of the team.
Special thanks goes out to chef de mission Milan Kwee and his assistants, Lee Wung Yew and Mark Chay for being there for the team. I would also like to thank the fans who travelled to Kuala Lumpur to support our athletes. Thanks also, to ActiveSG for organising tours for fans to be in the stands in KL as part of Team Singapore. Your support counts and we hope more of such opportunities will present itself at future major Games.
None of what we have achieved would have been possible without the support of our partners and sponsors. Special thanks must go to Singtel, who on top of their sponsorship, provided overseas data coverage for the contingent. Our appreciation is also extended to Singapore Airlines for flying the contingent to Kuala Lumpur and back safely.
Last but not least, I would like to thank the Tote Board group comprising Tote Board, Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club. They are also the primary supporter of tonight’s awards. The first form of a cash incentive scheme for Singapore athletes started in the early 90s as a bonus for athletes who have done well and to motivate athletes to strive for excellence. Because of sponsors like the Tote Board group, gold medallists in major Games get more than a pat on the back. Thank you for supporting Team Singapore.
Team Singapore, congratulations once again. You carried our flag high at the 29th SEA Games, we are all very proud of you. Thank you.