Singapore, 17 April 2015 – The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) commemorated 50 of Singapore’s most inspiring sports stories in a book titled “50est: Stirring Stories for the Singapore Soul”. The book and its accompanying photo exhibition were launched by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Manpower, Minister for Social and Family Development and President of the Singapore National Olympic Council at the Sports Hub Library today.
The stories in the 204-page book celebrate the human spirit capturing the grittiest, the boldest and the toughest beyond the sporting feats. Pioneer sporting champions join national athletes and teams in this collection of 50 profiles which varies from representatives in athletics to contract bridge and squash.
“This collection represents just a fraction of many other inspiring stories of our athletes” endeavours, many of which are still waiting to be told. The SNOC is pleased to play the role of sharing some of these stories to the public. The publication of this book is timely to commemorate Singapore’s 50th anniversary as these stories are testament to the progress we have made as a nation, not just in sports but also in building a nation,” said Mr Chris Chan, Secretary-General of the SNOC.
An example of grit is told through 32-year-old Mr Lim Yao Xiang, a former national water polo player and fin swimmer, who shared his setbacks and journey in the book. Resilient in the face of difficulties, he struggled to transit as a promising age-group swimmer to the national level and failed to make the cut to get into the SEA Games team. Undeterred, he shifted his focus to fin swimming and made it to the 2003 SEA Games squad to win a gold medal. His second attempt at SEA Games success was fulfilled when his hard work earned him a coveted spot in the men’s water polo team. Now a PE teacher at Raffles Institution and water polo coach, he said, “My story is very simple. It just says hard work and passion do pay off.”
Explaining the importance of sharing stories of our local athletes, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin said, “More significant than their triumphs must be the way they overcame all kinds of odds to fulfil their dreams. Indeed for these athletes and others like them every win is a testimony of not just their skills but their resilience and fighting spirit. It is such traits that we are celebrating with “50est”, a collection of profiles paying tribute to some of our best athletes.
“At heart, sports is an important rallying activity that brings people together, a good platform for community building. In the end, medals and records are wonderful. But it is people coming together which is the truest essence of sports. In this spirit, the SNOC would also like to dedicate this book to NTUC FairPrice Foundation, a sponsor of the SNOC since 2006, their generosity continues to inspire Singaporeans every day.”
Penned by a team of writers and reporters, the book’s editorial team was led by Mr Chua Chong Jin, a former journalist who currently divides his time teaching at the Nanyang Business School and his communications consultancy. Principal photographer Mr Danny Toh, an Art educator by profession, captured the true essence of the athletes in stunning black and white images, a selection of which will be displayed in a photo exhibition at the Sports Hub Library till August 2015.
The SNOC will be distributing the books to libraries in primary and secondary schools through Civica Pte Ltd, who manages Ministry of Education libraries as well as the Sports Hub Library. Copies of the book will also be distributed to other organisations and institutions such as the Institutes of Higher Learning, National Sports Associations and National Library Board. While the book is not for sale, the stories and photos will be available for the public to access via the website, www.snoc.org.sg/50est An electronic copy of the book will be also available for download on the website.
The Sports Hub Library and Civica Pte Ltd, the official venue partners, will also be organising activities for the public where members of the public can meet the athletes and obtain copies of the book.