They may still be in their teens but 130 young Team Singapore athletes will be in for an unforgettable experience of a lifetime when they fly the Singapore flag high at the first-ever Youth Olympic Games to be held here from 14 to 26 August. With only 25 more days to the historic sporting event, Singapore will be represented by 70 athletes in individual events, and 60 in the team events, across all 26 sports to be competed during the YOG.
Team Singapore’s contingent will be led by Chef de Mission Mr James Wong, who is a nine-time SEA Games Gold medalist, Sportsman of the Year 2004 and five-time winner of the Meritorious Awards from the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC).
At a ceremony held at Nanyang Girls High School today, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Mr Teo Chee Hean, who is also the President of the SNOC, officially presented the Singapore flag to Team Singapore flag-bearer, national basketballer Jabez Su. Swimmer Amanda Lim, an Asian Youth Games 2009 gold medalist, then led the contingent in the pledge-taking ceremony.
“Behind every Team Singapore athlete who has made it to the YOG is a story of perseverance and hard work. Each athlete has made huge sacrifices in order to perform well in his or her chosen sport,” said DPM Teo. “To our young athletes, I want to say a big thank you for choosing to train hard and to compete, not just for yourself but for Singapore, and for all those who have nurtured you.”
Many of the Team Singapore athletes competing in the YOG are representing Singapore for the very first time at an international level, due to the unique age group requirements of the YOG. While some NSAs such as Swimming and Archery are sending athletes who have experience in major games, other NSAs such as Gymnastics and Fencing are taking this opportunity to inject new blood and discover local young talents.
Also debuting at the YOG are Team Singapore athletes and NSAs who will be representing the nation in sports such as Modern Pentathlon and Handball. Moving forward from the YOG, these new NSAs will be expected to continue the legacy of the YOG and keep discovering and developing talent in their respective sports.
Commenting on Team Singapore’s participation at the YOG, Chef de Mission Mr Wong said, “I am very excited for our Team Singapore young athletes. The YOG could not be taking place at a better time for us as we continue to groom our young emerging athletes. It will give our athletes international exposure on familiar grounds. I am certain that they will build on this experience to become stronger in their sports events and achieve greater success in the years to come. I am looking at them to embody the values of Team Singapore – Pride, Perseverance and Performance, and to exemplify and demonstrate the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect to the world as they compete together as Team Singapore.”
To be able to bring glory to Singapore is Tang Jinfang’s birthday wish this year as she celebrates her 17th birthday on 24 August. The Judo exponent is one of the three Team Singapore athletes who will be celebrating their birthdays during the YOG competition. The other two are Muhammed Hanurdeen Hamid (Boxing) and Timothy Lee (Diving), who incidentally will celebrate their birthdays on the same day, on 19 August.
“I was only 11 when I developed an interest for Judo, and my father has been my coach and inspiration all these years. I am determined to make my birthday wish come true by doing the best I can so that I can make my father proud of me”, said Tang Jinfang.
At the Flag Presentation Ceremony, it was also announced that the NTUC FairPrice Foundation will be awarding sports scholarships to Team Singapore medalists at the YOG. This is similar to the sports scholarships that NTUC FairPrice Foundation awarded to medalists at the inaugural Asian Youth Games in 2009. Said Mr Wee Leong How, General Manager, NTUC FairPrice Foundation, “As we count down to the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, we are increasingly seeing how sports can be a common platform for the diverse Singapore community to bond. We have witnessed ground up support as various members of the community gear up for the games. We hope that through the NTUC FairPrice Foundation Sports Scholarship for team Singapore medalists at YOG, we can help nurture local young sporting talents and sustain Singapore’s passion in sports.”
Singaporeans and members of the public who wish to keep abreast of Team Singapore’s performance at the YOG can sign up for a free SMS alert service through the Team Singapore website at www.teamsingapore.com.sg.
About the Singapore National Olympic Council
The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) is the national nonprofit organisation that coordinates the selection of Singaporean athletes for competition at the major games such as the Olympics, the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games and the South East Asian Games. Singapore’s involvement in the Games is resolutely anchored in the Olympic ideals that were first espoused by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, in 1894. For more information, please visit www.snoc.org.sg.
About Singapore Sports Council
Formed in 1973, the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) is tasked with developing a holistic sports culture for the nation. The SSC creates opportunities for people to excel in sports; opportunities for people to be engaged in sports as coaches, officials, volunteers or fans; and opportunities for people to do business in sports as sponsors and investors. The SSC has changed the way Singaporeans view and participate in sports. Through sports, we now have an enhanced national identity thanks to our sports participation programmes; greater national pride as a result of high performance results at international and regional games; and more diversified economic stability through our vibrant sports industry initiatives.
To find out more, visit our websites www.ssc.gov.sg and www.singaporesports.sg
Follow SSC on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/singaporesports
Join Singaporesports.sg on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/singaporesports
For a range of photographs, search for “Singapore Sports Council” on www.flickr.com
About Team Singapore
Originally mooted by the then-Ministry of Community Development and Sports, and launched on 20 April 2001 by then-Deputy Prime Minister Dr Tony Tan, Team Singapore is the united identity of elite athletes, coaches and officials from Singapore that represents the country in major multi-sport Games and identified international competitions.
The three core attributes of Pride, Performance and Perseverance anchor that which is the collective Team Singapore. Underscoring the traits of a winning team, these attributes are the important elements of sportsmanship and excellence that propel the nation forward to succeed on the world’s sporting stage.
Team Singapore inspires our nation’s athletic talents to continually evolve the level of elite sports in Singapore, while galvanising and connecting the community in support of their sporting endeavours.
For further information, please visit www.teamsingapore.com.sg