Mr Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports;
Dr Tan Eng Liang, Chef-de-Mission to the 26th Southeast Asian Games;
Mr Ee Tiang Hwee, Chef-de-Mission to the 6th ASEAN Para Games;
Mr Richard Seow, Chairman, Singapore Sports Council;
Team Singapore Officials and Athletes;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
A very good evening.
1 This is an exciting time for sport in Singapore. In just 10 days, the nation's best sporting talents will be flying the Singapore flag high at the 26th Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang; and at the 6th ASEAN Para Games in Solo, Indonesia next month.
Significance of the SEA Games to Sporting Singapore
2 The SEA Games is the most significant sporting event for the people of Southeast Asia. The Games help to forge regional solidarity, and bring great value and pride to the people and the athletes. We want to play host to our Southeast Asian neighbours by organising the Games. Today, I am pleased to announce that the Government has given its support to the Singapore National Olympic Council's bid to host the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore. The SNOC will make our submission to the SEA Games Federation at its upcoming meeting in Jakarta and we hope that the Federation will agree to Singapore hosting the SEA Games in four years' time.
3 The SEA Games exemplify how sports can unite a nation. Over the years, the memories and moments at the SEA Games have brought us together to cheer and celebrate as a nation. 52 years and 26 Games later, not only does the SEA Games strengthen the foundations of Sporting Singapore; it continues to play a significant role in uniting us as Singaporeans.
4 Through the SEA Games, local sporting heroes such as Ang Peng Siong, Joscelin Yeo and C. Kunalan have inked their names in our history books, and gone on to scale to even greater heights. Through their sporting achievements, they captured the hearts of Singaporeans. I am sure some of you here today were inspired by these and other sporting heroes, to embrace and pursue an exciting life in sport.
Team Singapore to the 26th SEA Games and 6th ASEAN Para Games
5 Whether you are a seasoned competitor or a young SEA Games debutant, this is your moment, your time to shine. This year, we have 414 athletes taking part in 33 sports, with bridge, open water swimming, roller sports and sport climbing making their debut appearance at the SEA Games. More than half of our athletes will be competing at the SEA Games for the first time. I am sure all of you are eager and ready to make your mark in Singapore?s sporting history.
6 36 Singapore athletes will also be taking part in five sports at the upcoming 6th ASEAN Para Games from 12 to 22 December. Besides young athletes making their debut at this Games, the contingent also includes swimmers Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh who have already qualified for the London 2012 Paralympics.
7 Team Singapore, through your effort, you exhibit the best of what Singapore stands for - a determined, passionate and resilient society. Through your actions, you show our ASEAN neighbours that we have a strong motivation to win, coupled with a big heart to make friends. As we follow your progress, you will be our source of inspiration and pride. I applaud all of you for having the drive and spirit to be the best you can be and to do it for Singapore.
8 Behind every athlete, there is a dedicated group of families and loved ones, spurring him or her on to fulfill his or her sporting dreams. I would like to commend all the families of our athletes for your support. I am sure you are extremely proud of them.To the teams at the Singapore Sports Council and the various National Sporting Associations, thank you for your hard work in championing sports in Singapore. I would also like to thank the employers and schools of our athletes, as well as our sponsors and partners, who have shown their unwavering support for Team Singapore.
9 It gives me great pride and pleasure now to wish Dr Tan Eng Liang, Chef-de-Mission to the 26th SEA Games, Mr Ee Tiang Hwee, Chef-de-Mission to the 6th ASEAN Para Games, and Team Singapore athletes and officials the very best at the Games.
10 I look forward to seeing you in Indonesia.
11 Do your best and fly the Singapore flag high.