Singapore, 21 June 2012 - This year, while other teenagers are enjoying their summer holidays, 17-year-old Joseph Schooling and 16-year-old Gemma Rose Foo will be spending all their time in the pool and on horseback respectively, hoping to give their Olympic dream a sweet start.
2. Newly crowned Sportsman of the Year Joseph Schooling captured the nation's imagination when he became the first Singaporean swimmer to meet the Olympic Games "A" qualifying mark at last year's Southeast Asian Games. Come July, he will compete alongside the world's best swimmers, including many of his own personal sporting heroes. Over at the arena, para-equestrienne Gemma Rose Foo, whose sporting talent was discovered in a riding therapy session, will take on competitors twice her age to show that age is just a number in pursuit of sporting excellence.
3. At the flag presentation ceremony this evening at the SingTel ComCentre, Guests-of-Honour Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Singapore National Olympic Council, Mr Teo Chee Hean, and Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Mr Chan Chun Sing, presented Team Singapore with the Singapore flag, as a symbol of honour, for them to take to the Games.
4. "I warmly congratulate Joseph, Gemma and our other 24 athletes, who will be representing Singapore at the Games. Our country may be small but we can be giants in resilience and tenacity. I know that you are ready to compete against the best and strongest athletes," said DPM Teo. "Do your best at the Games, and let Singaporeans be inspired by your hope, optimism and fighting spirit. We share this excitement with you."
5. This year's contingent to the Games currently comprises 18 of the Republic's most outstanding athletes for the upcoming London 2012 Olympics from 27 July to 12 August 2012, and another eight extraordinary athletes for the Paralympic Games from 29 August to 9 September 2012.
6. The flag bearer for the Olympic contingent this year is paddler Feng Tianwei who, along with her teammates Li Jiawei and Wang Yuegu, ended Singapore's 48-year medal drought by delivering a stunning performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to clinch the silver medal in the women's Table Tennis team event. Gymnast Lim Heem Wei took the pledge on behalf of the contingent. The veteran sportswoman made history by becoming the first Singaporean gymnast ever to qualify for the Olympic Games.
7. Asian Para Games medallist and three-time Sportswoman of the Year, swimmer Theresa Goh, 25, received the Singapore flag on behalf of the Paralympic contingent, while the pledge taker for the team was Singapore's first Boccia athlete at the Paralympics, Nurulasyiqah Binte Mohammad Taha.
8. Leading the London 2012 Olympic contingent as Chef-de-Mission (CDM) is Mrs Jessie Phua, President of the Singapore Bowling Federation and CDM at the 2009 Southeast Asian Games in Laos. The London 2012 Paralympic contingent will be led by Mr Frankie Thanapal Sinniah, former President of the Singapore Disability Sports Council, who led the team to clinch Singapore's first ever Paralympic Games medals in Beijing in 2008.
9. CDM Mrs Jessie Phua said, "The Olympic experience is an important milestone in a sporting career that few athletes reach, and we hope that Team Singapore will make the most of this opportunity to compete with the world's best and show what Singapore is capable of. More than half of our contingent this year are first time Olympians, and this is a very encouraging sign for sports in Singapore."
10. "We are thrilled to have qualified for the very first time for Boccia, in addition to our participation in Equestrian, Sailing and Swimming events," said CDM Frankie Thanapal Sinniah. "Our athletes showed the world what they are capable of through their strong showing at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. They are hoping to build on their performance in Beijing and do Singapore proud, with the encouragement and support of all Singaporeans."