Speech by Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister For Culture, Community And Youth, And Senior Minister Of State For Communications And Information, At The Singapore 2015 Launch Party

15 Feb 2014

President Tony Tan,

Excellencies and Dignitaries from the SEA Games Federation & ASEAN

Para Sports Federation,

ASEAN ambassadors,

Team Singapore athletes, Parents, Volunteers and Officials;

Sponsors and Partners;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Welcome to the Launch Party for 2015! It’s very good to see all of you at this evening’s celebrations.

2 Tonight, we celebrate the achievements of our Team Singapore athletes at the recent Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games, SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games. I was in Naypitaw for the Games and saw our athletes in action. They showed tremendous courage, grit and determination. Their personal trials and triumphs moved many Singaporeans. Their achievements filled all of us with pride.

3 So we salute our athletes. We thank you for inspiring us and doing your best for our nation. We also salute the many people behind our athletes. Team Singapore includes parents, loved ones, and supporters rooting for our athletes on the grandstands and at home. It includes our volunteers, officials, partners and sponsors too. That’s the reason why we say: “Together we are stronger”.

4 Each and every one of us plays an important role in supporting our athletes, in giving them that something extra, to help them when they face difficulties, to push them to greater heights. Thank you all for your tireless effort in helping to fly Singapore’s flag high in sports.

5 This evening, we also launch our campaign to 2015, which is the year of our Golden Jubilee. The last time we hosted the Games was in 1993, more than 20 years ago. Next year, we will see the return of the SEA Games and the debut of the ASEAN Para Games in Singapore – both held in our brand new National Stadium and Sports Hub.

6 And there’s much to look forward to. For our athletes, 2015 will be a very special SEA Games and Para Games – it’s a chance to win in our home ground, in front of a home crowd. I know many are already training very hard for the Games and will strive to improve on their personal bests.

7 Unfortunately, there is one athlete who will not be able to join us in 2015. Zaki Sapari, one of our brightest youth hurdlers, left us yesterday evening in a road accident. We will miss him dearly and will carry the memories of him in our hearts. Zaki had a dream of winning in 2015, and I hope all our athletes can help make this dream come true in your own ways.

8 Besides the athletes, our volunteers are also crucial – in organising the Games, and creating good experiences for Singaporeans and our guests. We had aimed to recruit 15,000 volunteers. So far more than 12,000 have stepped forward. The response has been overwhelming and I’m very heartened by the groundswell of support. We have volunteers of all backgrounds and ages, from the late 60s to their early teens. So everyone can be a volunteer. Recruitment of volunteers is on-going, and you can even sign up today.

9 Ultimately, the Games are more than just about sporting events. They are about the hopes and dreams of individuals and communities. They are about the triumph of the human spirit against overwhelming odds. The Games will bring together ordinary people with extraordinary dreams. So the theme we have chosen for the Games is to “Celebrate the Extraordinary”.

10 At the end of the day, whether the Games can be extraordinary will depend on all of us. We all have a role to play – as athletes, as volunteers, as cheering spectators, as gracious hosts. All of us must work together to deliver not just a high-quality Games, but also a legacy for the future.

11 We have already started working with some of you, and hope to work with many more as we go into detailed preparations for the Games. In the coming months, there will be more events that you can look forward to, more ways in which you can be involved. So join us as a participant, volunteer or spectator, and be part of this historic event.

12 Remember together we are stronger. Together, let us celebrate the extraordinary, let us show our Singapore spirit, and let’s make 2015 a truly extraordinary year for Singapore and all Singaporeans.

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