Mr Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports;
Your Excellency Antony Phillipson, British High Commissioner of Singapore;
Mrs Jessie Phua, Chef-de-Mission to the London 2012 Olympic Games;
Mr Frankie Thanapal Sinniah, Chef-de-Mission to the London 2012 Paralympic Games;
Mr Richard Seow, Chairman of the Singapore Sports Council;
Team Singapore Officials and Athletes;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
A very good evening to one and all.
This is a very special occasion for all of us. In just a matter of weeks, you will represent our country at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. These Games bring together the best and brightest sporting talents from around the world and it represents the greatest aspirations of our Team Singapore athletes.
2 The Olympic and Paralympic Games have always been a significant milestone in our Sporting Singapore journey. Our first Olympian, Chua Boon Lay, took part in the 1936 Berlin Games and one of our first Paralympians, Frankie Thanapal Sinniah, who is this year's Chef-de-Mission to the Paralympics, made his debut at the 1988 Games in Seoul. Since then, we have sent close to 200 athletes to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
3 This year, over 14,000 athletes from 205 Olympic teams and 170 Paralympic teams will be competing at the London 2012 Games. Qualifying for the Olympics and Paralympic Games - the pinnacle of sporting excellence in the world sport - is not an easy task. I would like to salute our Team Singapore athletes for rising above the challenges to fly our nation?s flag proud at the Games. I?m pleased to note that more young athletes have qualified for the Games this year. Despite being only 16 years old, swimmer Joseph Schooling made history by becoming the first Singaporean swimmer to meet the "A" Olympic Games qualifying mark. Alongside him, 16-year-old para-equestrienne Gemma Rose Foo, who brought home a gold medal at the recent Mannheim Para-Equestrian Championships in Germany, will also be making her debut at the Paralympic Games.
4 I warmly congratulate Joseph, Gemma and our other 24 athletes to-date, 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.
5 All of you have the desired values that we want embedded in our people: a winning spirit, a commitment to purpose, and a fervent love for our country. These Vision 2030 values will bring success to you, not only in the sporting arena, but also at school, at work, and in your community.
6 When you march into the Stadium during the opening ceremonies of London 2012, do so with pride. Not only will we be sharing those moments with you, we will be cheering you on every step of the way. Do your best at the Games, and let Singaporeans be inspired by your hope, optimism and fighting spirit. We share this excitement with you.
7 Behind every successful athlete, there is also a supportive and dedicated team of coaches, officials and families, encouraging them to fulfill their sporting dreams. Without you, our athletes would not be where they are today.
8 I would also like to thank the teams at the Singapore Sports Council, Singapore National Paralympic Council, Singapore Disability Sports Council, Singapore National Olympic Council and the various National Sporting Associations, for your hard work in championing sports in Singapore. To the employers and schools of our athletes, as well as our sponsors and partners, who have shown strong support for Team Singapore - a heartfelt thank you.
9 Now, it gives me great pride and pleasure to wish Mrs Jessie Phua, Chef-de-Mission to the London 2012 Olympic Games, Mr Frankie Thanapal Sinniah, Chef-de-Mission to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and Team Singapore athletes and officials all the very best at the Games. I look forward to seeing you in London. Let's keep our Singapore flag flying high.