Your Excellency, Yoichi Suzuki, Ambassador of Japan to Singapore,
Your Excellency, David Adelman, Ambassador of the U.S.A. to Singapore,
Mr Takeshi Koba, President of the International Boys Nankyu Baseball Association,
Mr Nelson Goh, President of Singapore Baseball and Softball Association,
Mr Sunny Sultan, President of Baseball Club Singapore,
Our distinguished guests from the Embassy of the U.S.A. and Japan, Japanese Association, Japanese Secondary School, International Boys Nankyu Baseball Association, Major League Baseball, USA,
Ladies and gentlemen;
A very good morning.
It is my pleasure to welcome all of you to the 11th Pan Pacific Junior Nankyu Baseball Championship.
2 The last time that Singapore hosted this Championship was nine years ago in 2002. Since then, I am pleased to note that the sport has gained momentum here in Singapore, thanks to the efforts of the Singapore Baseball and Softball Association (SBSA) and non-profit organisations like the Baseball Club Singapore (BCS).
3 I look out at the field this morning and I see many passionate young players from around the world eager to hit the bases. So it gives me great pleasure to welcome our international friends to Singapore. Clearly, sport can be a powerful tool to bring together people from different cultures and nationalities in the spirit of goodwill and healthy competition.
4 Young people need opportunities to challenge themselves with the best of their peers. They need to be exposed to the different styles of play. And quite frankly, they need to learn how to lose well; it is the only way they will keep improving.
5 Baseball teaches children the importance of hardwork, sportsmanship, discipline and teamwork. Played in a positive and supportive environment, it builds character, self-esteem and confidence. It enriches children with valuable lessons that will carry them through life.
6 Sport requires time and a network of resources to develop. Whether it is an international or a community event, there is a natural synergy between sport and corporate Singapore. The support from Official Sponsor Hisamitsu for this Championship is an excellent example of how corporate sponsors can help in developing the future generation of sluggers. As Corporate Singapore's confidence in sport grows, we hope that more companies and organisations will come forward to support the local sports industry.
7 A special mention must go to the Major League Baseball, SBSA, BCS, and all match officials and volunteers for making this event possible. I hope all our international friends will enjoy, not just the baseball, but the many amazing attractions we have here in Singapore. I wish all our young players a fun, safe and successful tournament ahead. Let's batter up and play ball!