Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth
Mr Richard Seow, Chairman, Singapore Sports Council
Mr Ray Ferguson, Chief Executive, Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore
Friends of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good morning.
1. A warm welcome to one and all to the official launch of the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) 2013.
2. I'm very encouraged to see so many of you here today. Since our very first race in 2002, which attracted 6,000 runners, your tremendous support has seen the event expand, from one, to three, iconic running routes, and peak participation of some 65,000 runners in 2011. Today, the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore stands alongside all leading marathons in cities around the world, and we will continue with organisers of the race to strive to improve each addition so that Singapore can a race we are all proud of and all of you will have an opportunity to participate in a family event.
3. This position was affirmed when we were awarded the prestigious Gold Label in 2012 by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) - for the second year running. The Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore also received the award for Best Sports Event (Local) at the recent Singapore Sports Awards 2013.
4. But the event is not about accolades, this event is about people. That is the reason why SCMS has always been known as the 'People's Race'. While we continue to attract the best runners from the world over, the elite runners, to come and participate and to add a special flavour to the event, more importantly we will continue to strive to make this event accessible and enjoyable for everyone.
5. Following close discussions with key stakeholders and taking in feedback from all of you, we have opened up this year another 2,000 slots for the half marathon category and increased the number of slots for the Ekiden category up to 300 teams. As such, we will be providing a maximum 62,000 slots this year, up from last year's remit of 60,000.
6. Apart from the runners, we would like to take some time to acknowledge our partner and title sponsor Standard Chartered Bank Singapore for standing by this event for the past 12 years and being an integral figure in the Singapore sports scene. We would also like to welcome two new sponsors to the event. Firstly Volvo, the official car sponsor, and Brooks which is our official apparel sponsor. We truly believe that with your deep experience in your respective industries, we can make the SCMS experience a winning one.
7. Also this year for the first time, SCMS will donate S$2 from every participant's registration to SportCares.
8. SportCares is the philanthropic arm of the Singapore Sports Council, who has dedicated to encouraging the use of sport as a force for social good. Through the SCMS 2013, we hope to raise at least S$100,000 to support SportCares' programmes and activities. SportCares does more than teach children and youth how to play games. Saturday Night Lights, a community football programme for youth, and our Young Mentors Programme for student leaders, promote life skills such as teamwork, sense of purpose and discipline. In this regard, I would like to encourage all of us to do our part by signing up on Give.Asia and pledging your run this year to SportCares.
9. The SportCares booth is just around the corner on my right and the people manning the booth will able to tell you more about the programmes that they run. We hope that the SCMS 2013 will lead the way for other sports events and organisers to pledge their event to SportCares.
10. In conclusion, let me once again thank all our stakeholders, sponsors, partners, volunteers and all of you, our participants. Without your continuing and tireless support, none of this would have been possible.
11. I wish everyone all the best in your preparation for the race and I'll see you at the start line on the 1st of December. All the best!
12. Thank you.