Local Football legends Team Singapore athletes gather to play para football in the heartlands
Local Football legends, Team Singapore athletes gather to play para football in the heartlands
Team Singapore Cerebral Palsy footballers, local football legends such as Fandi Ahmad and Lim Tong Hai, some secondary school and polytechnic students, and Special Olympic Singapore and SportCares participants took part in a one-of-its-kind Cerebral Palsy Football competition this weekend at the Toa Payoh HDB Hub Mall. Organised by the Singapore ASEAN Para Games Organising Committee (SAPGOC), the Unified Football Tournament aimed to showcase para football and bring awareness to the upcoming 8th ASEAN Para Games which will be held for the first time in Singapore from 3 to 9 December this year, as a befitting finale to Singapore’s golden jubilee celebrations.
Graced by Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, the Unified Football Tournament is a true showcase in teamwork and camaraderie. The event, which garnered a crowd of nearly 5,000 people, brought together sporting talent from three different spectrums and generated eight teams of the following composition:
- 1-2 Teams Singapore Cerebral Palsy Footballers
- 4-6 youth players
- 1 Local Football Legend
“This is sport at its best. Bringing everyone together, regardless of abilities to play and enjoy football,” said Lim Tong Hai, former National Football Team defender and 1994 Malaysia Cup winner. “Beyond the incredible teamwork on display, what really surprised me was the mind set and athleticism involved throughout the whole tournament. Everyone was chasing the first place position like any true competitors would do. In the upcoming ASEAN Para Games, I am sure our Team Singapore football players are going to bring this competitive spirit with them to make all us proud. And we all should be there to witness these wonderful moments.”
The unified team representing Dover Arrows (SportCares) eventually beat Nanyang Polytechnic (B) with a score of 2-0. The members of each team are:
|Dover Arrows (SportCares)||Nanyang Polytechnic (B)|
Muhd Danial Irfan
Peter Kam (CP)
Muhammad Shahidil Bin Saidi (CP)
Nazri Nasir (Legend)
|Izwan Bin Farizal Shahrul
Khoo Yao Xiang
Quek Wee Jun
Muhammad Shafiq Bin Ariff (CP)
Richard Wong (Legend)
Beyond the para football competition, members of the public also took part in various activities such as football try-outs, and took pictures with the Team Singapore athletes at the photo booths.
“It was a fun and enriching experience for my family and me. We didn’t know much about disabled sports or the athletes. However, after today, we began to appreciate our athletes and the sports. We are already planning to catch a few sports in December,” said Mandy Loo, mother of two boys, in her forties.
The Unified Football Tournament is the second of three community invitationals organised in conjunction with the 8th ASEAN Para Games. In October, the final invitational – Powerlifting – will be held at Marina Square shopping mall where the public can raise money for charity by lifting weights. Other upcoming events which families and friends can participate in are two roadshows held at Sengkang and Pasir Ris Sports Centre on the 7 and 8 November 2015 respectively, and the Reindeer Walk on 14 November 2015 where members of the public can join our Team Singapore athletes for a walk around the Marina Bay as we countdown the final weeks to the Games. An ASEAN Para Games Carnival will also kick off at the Singapore Sports Hub on 28 November 2015. Promising a slew of activities for everyone, the Carnival will last throughout the period of the Games.
“The Unified Football Tournament is just one of the many activities we have planned in the lead up to the 8th ASEAN Para Games. We are confident that these showcases not only raise excitement but also highlight the true sporting excellence involved in para-sports. I hope Singaporeans will come out to support our Team Singapore para-athletes when they compete in December,” said Mr Kerk Kim Por, Deputy Chairman EXCO, SAPGOC.
The ‘BackupAPG2015’ movement aims to raise awareness for para-athleticism and is a show of support for the athletes at the ASEAN Para Games and the Persons with Disability (PWD) community. Members of the public are encouraged to take a photo of themselves doing the ‘APG pose’ (putting your right hand on your left shoulder) and post the photo onto their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts with the hashtag #BackupAPG2015. They are also encouraged to nominate their friends to do the same by tagging the names on their posts. The pose indicates that the community has the back of the athletes and the PWD community. The movement has already garnered more than 5,000 photos on social media.
As an added incentive, corporates have come on board to support the movement through a $10 cash donation for each photo posted. Deloitte, the Official Professional Services Partner of the 8th ASEAN Para Games, was the first to come on board for this movement when it launched in July 2015, and has donated $50,000 towards the first 5,000 photos, which will go to the Singapore Disability Sports Council to support the training and development of our para athletes. NTUC FairPrice Foundation has also pledged another $50,000 for the next 5,000 photos. Under the Care & Share Movement, led by Community Chest, the government will match dollar-for-dollar the amount raised for the ‘BackupAPG2015’ movement to build the capabilities and capacities of the social service sector and support social services to meet rising needs.