Madam Halimah Yacob, Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports`
Ms Jessie Phua, Chef de Mission to the London 2012 Olympic Games,
Mr Frankie Thanapal Sinniah, Chef de Mission to the London 2012 Paralympic Games,
Ms Tay Ai Cheng, Assistant Chief Executive of the National Library Board,
Dr Ang Kiam Wee, Principal of Institute of Technical Education, College Central,
Team Singapore Officials and Athletes,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for taking the time to celebrate the official launch of the National Well-Wishing campaign for our Team Singapore athletes.
2 Your gathering here today serves as a great source of inspiration for our athletes, as they embark to represent our country on the world?s most prestigious sporting platform - the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which will be held in London, from 27 July to 12 August and 29 August to 9 September respectively.
3 The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games four years ago was a special moment for Singapore. The Women's Table Tennis Team, consisting of Feng Tianwei, Lee Jiawei and Wang Yuegu, ended our 48-year wait for an Olympic medal when they brought home a silver medal. Singaporeans across the island were all glued to our televisions, as we watched the match with bated breath and cheered the ladies to Olympic glory. Following this, Yip Pin Xiu brought home our first ever gold as well as a silver medal in swimming at the Paralympic Games. This year, these ladies will take the stage once again, along with athletes from different disciplines, including swimming, shooting, sailing, badminton, equestrian and boccia.
4 For our Team Singapore athletes, the London 2012 Games represents the summit of their sporting aspirations and careers. It will provide the opportunity to test their ability against the world's best athletes, including their own personal sporting heroes.
5 I'm especially pleased to highlight that we have two 16-year-old athletes who have qualified for the Games. They are swimmer Joseph Schooling, who captured the imagination of the nation at last year?s Southeast Asian Games through his gold medal performance that also qualified him directly for the London 2012 Games. The other athlete is Para-Equestrienne Gemma Rose Foo, who gave Singapore something to cheer for when she clinched the gold medal at the recent Mannheim Para-Equestrian Championships in Germany.
6 Their achievement reflects Sporting Singapore's ability to identify, groom and train our aspiring talent for the biggest event in the world of sport. This will no doubt be the highlight of their sporting journeys to date, and we hope, the beginning of an exciting and successful sporting career.
7 Competing on the world's most prestigious sporting stage is not an easy task. Our athletes have been working very hard, firstly to qualify for the games, and then to prepare themselves in the best position possible to do Singapore proud. As we stand united to cheer our athletes, our support can inspire the belief to fight a bit harder and soar above expectations to bring glory to Singapore.
8 In many regards, our aspirations for sport mirrors the evolution of our Singapore story. We may be a small nation with a relatively short history, but we can compete and stand proud among the biggest and best in the world. And in the process, we forge closer bonds of friendships; we inspire greater sense of community and national identity. In this way, sport has the amazing power of bringing people across the country and even across different continents together in a way nothing else can.
9 By its very nature, sports develop the attributes we need to complete in the evolving global climate; determination, perseverance, a winning spirit, a respect for teamwork and a love of country. These are the values and principles that we want to bring to bear through Vision 2030. In its core essence, we want to use the best of sport to help prepare our people for our future challenges and to create a better home for all in Singapore.
10 Today's national well-wishing campaign is an opportunity for Singaporeans to not only show our support to our Team Singapore athletes, but to show the world the unity and power of the Singapore Spirit.
11 Our athletes have inspired us with their fighting spirit, determination and endurance. With the Well-Wishing campaign, it is our turn to inspire them by showing our support. Let's all come together to cheer on our athletes, and keep their perseverance and passion strong.
12 Last but not least, I want to thank the Singapore National Olympic Council and the Singapore National Paralympic Council, our partners in sports Tote Board and Singapore Pools. I would also like to give special thanks to campaign partners Samsung, Singtel and McDonald's and community outreach partners the National Library Board, ITE and Velocity for their unwavering support for Team Singapore and sports in Singapore. Your actions will certainly go a long way in helping us ignite the flame of support for Team Singapore.