From Rome to Rio:
How Singapore put together
its unprecedented attempt for Olympic glory
at the Beijing 2008 Olympics and beyond

Sept 8, 1960

Weightlifter Tan Howe Liang wins a silver medal at the Rome Olympics. He remained Singapore’s only Olympic medallist for 48 years.


Sept 24, 2000

Paddler Jing Junhong loses to Chinese Taipei’s Chen Jing in the bronze medal match of the Sydney Olympics. It was the closest Singapore had been to an Olympic medal since 1960.

Watch the match

August 22, 2004

Table tennis player Li Jiawei loses to South Korea’s Kim Kyung Ah in the bronze medal match of the Athens Olympics, repeating Jing’s narrow miss for a podium place.

May 20, 2006

Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) secretary-general Chris Chan suggests doing something extra to win an Olympic medal after the double misses.

May 30, 2006

SNOC president Teo Chee Hean asks to set up a working group to explore the experiment. SNOC vice-president Ng Ser Miang volunteers to lead the group, which was named "Project Olympic Medal 0812".

June 28, 2006

First meeting of the working group, with the four selected national sports association – table tennis, badminton, sailing and shooting. The group believes there is potential for a medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Sept 11, 2006

The Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports and the Singapore Totalisator Board agrees to fund the project, which carried a budget of S$7.7 million.

March 8, 2008

Project 0812 takes over management of the Singapore’s women table tennis team. SNOC vice-president Tan Eng Liang urges the players to unite and fight for a medal for Singapore in Beijing.

August 15, 2008

Singapore’s women table tennis team beats South Korea in the semi-finals of the Beijing Olympics in an epic 3 hour 22 minute battle. It guarantees the country its first medal in 48 years.

August 17, 2008

Singapore loses to China in the final, going down 0-3. It wins a silver medal and the Singapore flag is raised at the victory ceremony.


August 2, 2012

Feng Tianwei beats Kasumi Ishikawa of Japan 4-0 to win the bronze medal in the London Olympics' women's singles. It is Singapore's first individual Olympic medal since Tan Howe Liang's in 1960 Rome. Feng also helps Singapore win a bronze in the team event.

Watch the singles bronze match

Watch the team bronze match


August 13, 2016

Joseph Schooling wins the Olympic gold medal in the 100 metres butterfly event of the Rio Games, becoming Singapore's first Olympic champion. His time of 50.39 seconds is a new Olympic record.

Watch the race

Where to buy

Get your copy of Project 0812 from a bookstore near you.