Madam Halimah Yacob, Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports
Managing Director of Business Groups, NTUC FairPrice, Mr Gerry Lee
Chef de Mission to the 6th ASEAN Para Games, Mr Ee Tiang Hwee
Assistant Chef de Mission to the 26th Southeast Asian Games, Mr Antony Lee
Team Singapore Officials and Athletes,
Friends from the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1 Thank you for being with us today as we launch the Well-Wishing campaign for our Team Singapore athletes as they embark on the last leg of their preparations for the 26th Southeast Asian Games and the 6th ASEAN Para Games, which will be held in Indonesia, this November and December respectively.
2 Major games are always meaningful for Team Singapore, and this year carries even greater significance for the athletes and their supporters. For some athletes, the forthcoming SEA Games is an important milestone before the Olympics in London next year. They will be pushing themselves to reach the qualifying standards for London 2012. For other athletes such as YOG paddler Isabelle Li and Waterski Wakeboarder Sasha Christian, the 26th edition will be their SEA Games debut.
3 This is a first for me as well - the first time I have had the privilege, as CEO of the Singapore Sports Council, to support Team Singapore athletes who are preparing for a major game. Having taken part in the SEA Games as a Water Polo player, I know only too well how they are feeling.
4 It is a mixture of anticipation, excitement, some nerves but most importantly, pride. No matter how nervous Team Singapore athletes are before the Games, they are always proud to wear Singapore's national colours.
5 And they are capable. I would like to point out that their value to Singapore goes well beyond the excitement the athletes generate as they prepare for a major games.
6 Consider, for a moment, the life lessons that an athlete learns on almost daily through sports. They have learned the will to compete and to win. They understand the importance of fair play and winning with honour. They know how and when to lead and when to follow to reap what's best for the team.
7 The athletes going to the SEA Games have learned about discipline, perseverance and all the best qualities of human endeavour. They have learned to build aspirations and goals that can be shared by their team mates, communities and nation.
8 Given the extraordinary capabilities that are developed through sports - is it any wonder that schools and employers have become increasingly supportive of their athletes? They have provided greater flexibility in granting Team Singapore athletes with leave for intensive training sessions and competitions abroad. For example, sailor Audrey Yong has deferred the start of her polytechnic studies for a year to prepare for the Games. This was done with full support of Singapore Polytechnic where she is enrolled.
9 Coaches, officials, schools and employers are all part of Sporting Singapore's successful formula for our athletes. This combined organising for success is an important theme being explored by Vision 2030, a project between the SSC and the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. How can our sporting fraternity organise to better serve the needs of our athletes? How can schools and companies provide greater support?
10 Singaporeans from all walks of life have been sharing their answers to these questions with the Vision 2030 Team. Athletes. Parents. Senior Citizens. Working Adults. The Companies themselves. It's a big, broad group of people. If you have an opinion or an idea you want to share, please join the conversation at the V2030 website: www.vision2030.sg. We're shaping the future of sport for the next two decades and we want to hear from you.
11 Team Singapore has always inspired us with its fighting spirit. Over the years, we have seen amazing athletes like Remy Ong, Joscelin Yeo, Quah Ting Wen and Theresa Goh, fly the Singapore flag high and make us proud.
12 With the Well-Wishing campaign, it is our turn to be a source of inspiration for Team Singapore. Every day, Singaporeans from all walks of life demonstrate incredible determination and perseverance to overcome adversity and achieve their goals, sometimes against impossible odds.
13 We want Singaporeans to share their stories, so that our athletes can take the values and fighting spirit of every Singaporean with them to the Games. By coming together to show our support for Team Singapore through the various well-wishing channels, we can spur on our athletes as they are competing not just for themselves, but for our country, and each and every Singaporean.
14 Thanks to our campaign partner, NTUC FairPrice, Singaporeans can pen their stories and well-wishes for our athletes at 64 selected FairPrice outlets island-wide. You can also do this on Team Singapore?s Facebook page or on the Team Singapore website.
15 I hope all of you will join us and enthusiastically participate in this Well-Wishing campaign to show our support for Team Singapore at the 26th SEA Games and 6th ASEAN Para Games. Let's all come together to cheer on our athletes, even if we cannot make it to Indonesia.
16 Last but not least, I want to thank all our sponsors and partners, especially NTUC FairPrice for their unwavering support for Team Singapore and sports in Singapore. Your support will certainly go a long way in helping us build a Sporting Singapore.
17 Thank you.