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Celebrating Olympic and Paralympic achievements

Parliamentary Motion by Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law, to honour Team Singapore Olympians and Paralympians, in particular Ms Yip Pin Xiu, Singapore's 5-time Paralympic Gold Medalist, for their achievements at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games

  1. Mr Speaker, I beg to move.
  2. “That this House congratulates our Team Singapore Olympians and Paralympians, in particular Ms Yip Pin Xiu, our 5-time Paralympic Gold Medallist, for their achievements at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
  3. Mr Speaker Sir, we welcome our TeamSG athletes seated in the chamber today.
  4. After a year of uncertainty and delays, we fielded our Team Singapore Olympians and Paralympians in Tokyo 2020 to compete with the world’s best, to represent Singapore at the highest sporting showcase.

    a. We sent a total of 23 athletes across 12 sports to the Olympics,

    b. 10 athletes across 6 sports to the Paralympics,

    c. Our athletes came home victorious with 2 gold medals and 5 national records, alongside numerous personal bests and many other personal inspiring stories.

    d. But beyond these tangible achievements, our athletes returned to a Singapore

    i. uplifted by their sportsmanship,

    ii. touched by their own moments of vulnerability,

    iii. and, above all, inspired by their dogged pursuit of excellence as they fought tooth and nail, to put Singapore on the international sporting arena.
  5. Together with:

    a. President of the Singapore National Olympic Council and Speaker, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin,

    b. and Chairperson of the Singapore National Paralympic Council, Dr Teo-Koh Sock Miang, and our Chefs de Mission,

    c. I had the privilege of supporting and cheering on our Olympians and Paralympians from the sidelines and from the stands in Tokyo.
  6. I wish to take this opportunity to share some snippets with this House – not just of the Games itself, but of the challenges which our athletes faced in the lead-up, run up, that was disrupted by the global pandemic.
  7. Sir, I will also re-affirm our Government’s commitment

    a. to supporting and enhancing sports in Singapore,

    b. and to support Singaporeans at every level from grassroots participation, through to the very pinnacle of elite sporting achievement.

    Celebrating the achievements of our athletes at the Olympics and Paralympics

  8. Let me start with the Olympics.

    a. Our Olympians competed on the world’s biggest sporting stage, against the very best athletes in the world, competing for the highest honours.
  9. To compete at this level 

    a. requires years, if not decades of dedication and discipline, hard work and sacrifice, and meticulous, thoughtful, careful planning.

    b. Even then, there are no guarantees of success.

    c. Often, uncontrollable factors like injuries, strokes of luck or misfortune come into effect, come into play.

    d. And, as we witnessed, a pandemic intervened at the cruelest of times, just as many athletes began on their final lap to peak for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

    e. The pandemic had severely curtailed our athletes’ training plans, decimated opportunities for travel, either for qualification, or to hone their sporting instincts at other competitions, to keep them primed and match sharp.

    f. But our athletes adjusted, adapted; they fought hard to reach their peaks again, after the postponement of the Games in July 2020.

    We all heard how Joan Poh went from sculling back to nursing, serving the front line in the battle against Covid-19, before taking time out again, to trial and then qualify for the Olympics.

    g. Many of our athletes made adjustments themselves:

    i. Caroline Chew, Amita Berthier and Tan Sze En trained overseas, and went directly to Tokyo.

    ii. Some others, like Cecilia, Kimberly and Ryan, in Sailing, chose to leave their home comforts months before Tokyo 2020, stayed on the road so as to continue with training in suitable conditions, with the winds and the waves, without having a down time of quarantine and isolation.

    h. Despite these challenges, Team Singapore made history at these Games.

    i. For the first time, we had athletes represented in Equestrian, Marathon Swimming and Diving.

    ii. Of our 23-athlete strong contingent, 17 were Olympic debutants.

    i. These are very encouraging figures, and a testament to the growth and potential of High Performance Sport in Singapore.
  10. Beyond representation at the Olympics, the results that our 23 Team Singapore athletes also made us proud.
  11. I am sure that many in the House would have caught a glimpse of Team Singapore in action on screen, on MeWatch – but allow me to share some highlights as an observer in the stands.
  12. We had two Olympic badminton debutantes who did us very proud.
  13. Yeo Jia Min was a match away from the knockout rounds, she was up against a much higher ranked Korean opponent. She lost that match. I know she was disappointed, but the pain of defeat will spur her on even more.
  14. Loh Kean Yew came up against the reigning Asian Games champion, world number 7, Jonatan Christie, for a place in the knockout round.

    a. Kean Yew rose to the occasion and pushed his much favoured opponent right to the brink.

    b. There was really nothing to choose between Kean Yew and the Asian Games champion, and I am sure Kean Yew will be back on court much stronger.

    c. In fact, when I spoke to him shortly after he lost that match and asked about his plans. He gave me his customary wide cherubic grin and said – “Of course, Paris 2024!”

    d. True to form, he came home after Tokyo, dusted down and went back straightway on the road to train. 

    e. He is not here today because he is today training in Europe. And I was just told a moment ago that Jia Min will be joining him shortly.

    f. Kean Yew sent me a message over the weekend and asked me to thank Parliament on his behalf, for the honour of this recognition today, and assures us all that he is training hard towards his next goal.
  15. In table tennis, many would have seen Yu Mengyu battle hard, fought hard, despite having an old back injury flaring up at the most unfortunate of times.

    a. Mengyu had just about the toughest draw possible.

    b. In her inspired run to 4th place, she was drawn against 4 of the world’s top 10 ranked table tennis players. She beat two of them along the way.

    c. Mengyu may have missed a medal, but I think we all saw for ourselves her dedication, her grit and her fighting spirit against the world’s best players.

    d. The women’s team, along with Feng Tianwei and Lin Ye, had a tough draw, meeting world number one China along the way, before losing out.
  16. Our sailors too had a very good outing.
  17. Kimberly and Cecilia made history as the first Singaporeans to ever compete in an Olympics Medal Race for sailing.

    a. And They overcame great odds in all 12 of their races for the Women’s 49er FX, navigating not just unpredictable weather, but also racing against much more experienced, well-seasoned teams.

    b. They emerged as the top Asian team.

    c. In fact, no other Asian team even made it to the top 10 medal race.
  18. Our fencers, Amita and Kiria, had a hard but exciting debut.  They were pitted against higher-ranked, more experienced opponents.

    a. But their agility, their speed, persistence, and precision came through.

    b. Amita held her own in the opening round against the eventual gold medalist whilst Kiria showed skill and poise well beyond her years in her Olympic bow. You could not tell that they were Olympic debutants.
  19. Our experienced trio of swimmers, Joseph, Ting Wen and Zheng Wen put up a strong fight against a very strong field in swimming.

    a. It has been a difficult season for them and they know they are judged on very high standards and will be the first to admit that they are capable of much better.

    b. But they have mettle and they will bounce back, I’m sure, in the next competition.
  20. Let me turn now to speak about our Paralympians.

    a. They have been an inspiration to all of us. Many of you would have watched them on the channels. They showed us what it means to defy the odds and not be defined or constrained by physical limitations.

    b. I spoke earlier about how the pandemic disrupted the training and competition plans,

    c. But the impact of the pandemic on our Paralympians was perhaps far greater.

    d. Whilst some could go online for training and instruction, this was not as easy for those who are visually impaired when they were confronted with new modalities to get instruction and to do training.

    e. But despite these challenges, I heard no excuses from them when I “dropped in” from time to time over the last few months on their training. They just have an unwavering desire to get on with it, put shoulders to the grind, and focus on doing Singapore and Singaporeans proud at the Paralympics.

    f. Let me share a few stories from our Paralympic contingent.
  21. Our debutant tandem cyclist Steve and his competition partner Kee Meng clocked two personal bests in the Men’s B 1000m Time Trial and the Men’s B 4000m Individual Pursuit.

    a. But what’s even more amazing – is that both had suffered a crash just days before their event. Their front tyre had burst, and they collapsed on the road at great speed. 

    b. Bruised, battered, but not beaten – Thereafter they turned in a superb timings and achieved those two personal bests.

    c. Steve is here in the House today, in his distinctive bright red hair. If he looks familiar to all of you, it is because in 2015, Steve was captain of the 5-a-side football team at the ASEAN Para Games. He is truly an inspiring sportsman.
  22. Our contingent flag-bearer, Diroy Noordin, he left his mark on the field. Quite literally.

    a. He threw 9.85m and then 9.92m in the men’s F40 shot put final. He shattered the national record on both occasions.

    b. It is tough enough to break one national record,

    c. But he did it twice, in the same event,

    d. And he broke his own national record.
  23. Our Equestrian team – Max, Gemma and Laurentia – put in some stirring performances. It really warmed me up to see them compete with a smile, writ large across their faces.
  24. Laurentia and her horse, Banestro came in 5th in the Individual Freestyle Test Grade I Finals.

    a. This is despite Laurentia being stuck in Britain in the lead up to the Olympics for a year due to travel restrictions, separated from her coach and her horse after what was really meant to be a two-week break.
  25. Our swimmers:

    a. Wei Soong, he came – oh so close – 0.16 seconds away from a podium finish.

    b. He also broke two national records, both his own.
  26. Sophie Soon held off her competitors and finished fourth in the Women’s SB12 100m Breaststroke.
  27. A very impressive debut, all round, for both of them and I am sure at this rate, we will see them on the podium in no time.
  28. Last, but certainly not least.

    a. Yip Pin Xiu

    b. We warmly welcome Pin Xiu back to this Chamber, familiar ground for you.
  29. It is hard to find words to describe Pin Xiu, our most decorated Paralympian.

    a. At the age of 29, Pin Xiu blazed her own path both in and out the pool.

    b. At the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, Pin Xiu brought home her and Singapore’s first ever Paralympic gold and silver medals.

    c. Pin Xiu went on to clinch 2 more gold medals and also set 2 world records at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. These records continue to be unmatched, unbroken today.

    d. This year, she dominated the pool yet again, defending her title in the women’s S2 50m and 100m backstroke events, with some rather devastating performances. She won the 100m with a margin of more than 9 seconds.

    e. That’s a total of 6 medals, of which 5 are gold medals, across 13 years, over 4 Paralympic Games.

    f. It shows that Pin Xiu, or PX as she is sometimes more affectionately known, has tremendous longevity and staying power.

    i. Each time her rivals try and make a move on her, to close down on her, to catch up with her, she has found that something extra.

    ii. Whether it’s more power in her strokes, greater rotation of her shoulders or just the sheer courage of conviction and determination to reach the wall first.

    g. Many Singaporeans will remember vividly the two medal ceremonies in Tokyo, I did. The moment as our national anthem reverberated through the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, and broadcast around the world,

    h. I’m sure we all celebrated her victory, took pride in her triumph, savoured the moment as our flag rose high, and rose first.

    i. How many of us had wet eyes as we watched Pin Xiu herself fight back her own tears of pride and elation as her achievements, she knew brought the nation together. I also felt such an immense sense of pride and even now as I remember and relate the event, I feel goosebumps just thinking about it.

    j. And I thank Pin Xiu very much for gifting us such precious moments of national pride and inspiring Singaporeans over so many years.
  30. Outside of the pool, Pin Xiu has made extensive contributions to our nation.

    a. As a former Nominated Member of Parliament, Pin Xiu was the voice of her generation.

    b. She was a passionate advocate on issues such as sports and inclusion, and spoke out articulately against campus sexual violence and workplace harassment.

    c. Today, she continues to impact the lives of many through her service and contributions on the Purple Parade’s working committee, Singapore Disability Sports Council Executive Committee, the World Para Swimming High Support Needs Group, the National Youth Council, and the Safe Sport Task Force.

    d. These are not just names of committees that we rattle off to Pin Xiu. She herself uses each as an opportunity and a platform to make positive and enduring changes to our society.

    e. In 2008, Pin Xiu was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for her accomplishments at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
  31. But Pin Xiu,

    a. your trophy cabinet must be packed by now

    b. But I hope and I think you can find space for one more way for us to honour and recognise you.
  32. Your innate quality to inspire Singaporeans,

    a. your consistency in sporting achievement at the absolutely highest level,

    b. your contributions in so many areas away from sport

    c. and your own quiet, unassuming personality, which hides a deep personal conviction to be positive change-maker.

    d. each already amazing in its own right. I’m sure members will agree with me.

    e. but taken together – you and your achievements have really served to unite us as Singaporeans and inspire us deeply.
  33. My Cabinet colleagues and I discussed how we could appropriately recognise Pin Xiu’s achievements.

    a. I am very happy to announce that we intend to create a new President’s Award for Inspiring Achievement, and to make the inaugural presentation of this award to Pin Xiu. President Halimah Yacob has agreed to this proposal.

    b. Mr Speaker, this new award will sit alongside the other awards which are presented by the President for outstanding accomplishments.

    c. This award will recognise Singaporeans who have overcome personal adversity and led inspiring lives.

    d. Through their outstanding and wide-ranging achievements and contributions to society, they are role models who instill a sense of national pride in fellow Singaporeans.

    e. This prestigious award will be conferred by the President, to deserving recipients who will meet its high qualifying criteria. It will be presented to Singaporeans with fitting achievements and may not be given out every year.

    f. Pin Xiu has demonstrated these exceptional qualities. She has stared adversity in its face, time and time again, overcame it. She is truly an inspiration to Singaporeans, and it is only appropriate that she will now become the inaugural recipient of this award.

    g. I am certain that she will trailblaze a path for many more to follow in her footsteps.

    h. And I believe this is precisely what will give Pin Xiu her biggest satisfaction – to see other Singaporeans rise above adversity, take on challenges and be themselves, positive change makers.
  34. On behalf of this House, let me offer my warmest and deepest congratulations to Pin Xiu, as well as all to all our Olympians and Paralympians.

    All-rounded support given to athletes by all stakeholders

  35. Sir, at this juncture, I would like to take some time to acknowledge and thank the many others who have stood tall and stood behind our Team Singapore athletes.

    a. You have given your unstinting, selfless support to our athletes.

    b. We know it takes a village. And each one of you, is a valued member of that village.
  36. First, I thank the families, caregivers, and friends of our Team Singapore athletes.

    a. They are the unseen and often unsung heroes whose enduring love, sacrifice and belief give our athletes the courage and strength and the platform to turn aspiration into reality.
  37. Second, I am very grateful to the coaches of our athletes, the various National Sports Associations (NSAs), National Disability Sports Associations (NDSAs), as well as the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC).

    a. for believing in the power of the possible in our athletes.

    b. And being there for them, every step of the way supporting them, on their journey in every training and in every competition.

    c. We recognise their collective efforts in grooming our sportspersons into the world-class athletes that they are today,

    d. from the tangible work of providing the best training environment, the best training instruction,

    e. to the intangible value of being the mentors and role models that our athletes can look up to.
  38. Third, I would also like to extend our thanks to the

    a. Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC),

    b. as well as our Chefs-de-Mission for the Olympics and Paralympics, Dr Ben Tan and Ms Shirley Low, who are both here, for leading our contingent of athletes to Tokyo and bringing them home safely and soundly.

    c. Both of them were completely invested in our team, and their presence and leadership made a significant difference.
  39. Finally, my appreciation goes out to the Singapore Sport Institute (SSI) and the National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI).

    a. Their work is often unseen and underrated as well.

    b. But it has been a key ingredient in our High Performance Sport system, and a real value add when milliseconds, or mere millimetres can make all the difference.

    c. Working alongside other partners in the sports ecosystem, SSI and NYSI put the athlete at the centre of what they do, supporting them in a variety of ways.

    d. And this includes sports medicine, sports science, physiotherapy, nutrition, and also psychological support before, during and after the Games so that our athletes can be single-minded and focus on giving their very best in dealing with the competition.

    i. Take for example SSI’s Bio-mechanist Marcel Rossi.  Marcel supported our Para swimmers in Tokyo. He would take a video of them at each race, and analyse their every motion, every stroke, and on that basis guide them to make real time adjustments between the heats in the morning and the finals in the evening to optimize performance for the next race.

    ii. Our sports scientists studied para-archer Syahidah’s gait and posture, to build a seat customised fully to fit her body structure, her weight, and her shooting position, so that she would have stability and comfort, with each arrow she dispatches.

    iii. A specially designed year-long nutrition programme was also made for Nur ‘Aini so that she could get into competition weight while building up sufficient strength at the same time. This paid off, and she attained her personal best lift in her qualification event leading up to Tokyo. It was a very credible performance of 77kg and I know that because I tried it at about 50kg and I struggled.

    e. To ensure the mental well-being of our athletes, SSI also sent sport psychologists to support our team on the ground in Tokyo.

    f. Our sailors, Kim and Cecilia were accompanied by their team psychologist, Joyce whose task was to keep them focused and in positive spirits during the Games. It was a long and enduring race, several races.

    i. I saw for myself how critical this was – Kim and Cecilia if you meet them, they have an intuitive bond between them and an outstanding chemistry. When you are out at sea, battling the wind, the waves, your opponents, for a few hours, this can make all the difference.

    MCCY’s support for High Performance Sport

  40. So Mr Speaker, at this juncture, let me reiterate the Government’s commitment to supporting and enhancing sports for all,

    a. Both in growing the base so that we can have more active participants and more athletes at the grassroots;

    b. And in supporting our elite athletes as they chase success on the podium at world’s best international events.
  41. The Government invests about $70 million annually into the HPS system, or High Performance Sport system.
  42. But it is not just about the financial commitment.
  43. At the heart of it all,

    a. MCCY’s commitment in both active grassroots sport participation and also HPS is rooted in our fundamental belief that we must give every aspiration the best possible chance of being turned into a reality.

    b. For every individual – the opportunity to harness their own talents and chase their own dreams.
  44. And I stress the word “individual” – because no two athletes are alike, even in team sports.

    a. The smallest detail and differentiating factor can matter a lot.  And our athlete support structure needs to be personalised and adaptable as such.  

    b. Members could see from some of the examples I have outlined earlier how we approach each elite athlete uniquely, differently, and how we support them with differentiated curated support.
  45. We will also continue to work with our sports stakeholders in our ecosystem.

    a. From our schools, to NSAs, SNOC and SNPC, ActiveSG as well as private academies and clubs,

    b. Working together to build a strong, cohesive, vibrant sporting culture in Singapore.

    c. For us to achieve sporting success on the international stage, we will need a single-minded desire and pursuit, to excel. And a unity of purpose, amongst all our stakeholders coming on board, pulling together in the same direction and making sure that we produce the best that we can, at many more of these international elite events.

    Building up disability sports

  46. Mr Speaker, allow me to now speak now on disability sports – its significance, its tremendous value to society, its growth over the years, and the efforts which MCCY and our partners, will continue to take to nurture its development in Singapore.
  47. Sir, sports has the unique ability to transcend some of the everyday barriers that we might come across in our daily living – be it linguistic, cultural and perhaps even in social acceptance. This applies to many of us I’m sure, but perhaps more so, for persons with disabilities.
  48. Sport can help reduce the stigma and discrimination which is sometimes associated with a disability

    a. because, through sport, community attitudes can be transformed.

    b. And in sports, we see more of the skills and achievement, and correspondingly, see each individual more for their abilities instead.
  49. In turn, sports can also transform the person with disability, in an equally profound way.

    a. by empowering persons with disabilities, filling them with self-belief and confidence,

    b. to level their playing field,

    c. to help them gain a higher degree of independence,

    d. and help them realise their full potential.
  50. Through participation in sports, they are empowered to improve their own quality of life, stay healthy, be strong, be confident, independent contributing members of society.
  51. It also promotes inclusivity. And I found that the pool, the tandem bike or the horse, can really be such a great leveller.

    a. For Wei Soong and Sophie, being in the pool meant that they are like any other swimmer. Their disabilities are no longer an obstacle to sport participation. That was how they started on their journey – and today, they are full-fledged Paralympians, just a whisker away from being on the podium in Tokyo.

    b. Gemma, who is also here today, took up horse riding when she was just 8, as a form of hippotherapy to help her with balance and coordination.

    c. She enjoyed it tremendously. Gemma has said before that whilst she is unable to run, being on her horse gives her an opportunity to ride while it trots, to feel like she is running. It gives her the freedom of movement which she otherwise would not be able to experience.

    d. Just being in the sport alone has helped her and others look past their disability. In fact, it has given Gemma an added ability to do great things, feel self-confident, build and boost her own self esteem.

    e. Wei Soong, Sophie and Gemma’s stories, and the stories of so many others who have journeyed on this similar path, is a testament to the value which disability sports has in Singapore, playing such a pivotal part to building inclusivity in society.

    f. And it’s not just about elite sport performance, but really about the difference that mere participation can make.

    g. We must therefore do all we can to make disability sports more accessible and encourage even more participation.
  52. Mr Speaker, the Government knows the value that sport can bring, and will continue to put our resources into promoting disability sports.

    a. We have stepped up on the support and funding of the entire disability sports ecosystem, including through SportSG’s SportCares.

    b. The Disability Sport Master Plan places emphasis on grassroots development, encouraging more to take part in sport, lowering the barriers to entry and enhancing the resources to facilitate participation.

    c. We now have 8 inclusive ActiveSG Gyms, and 6 inclusive swimming complexes across the island. These facilities have been retrofitted with equipment like inclusive gym machines and pool wheelchairs to make it far more accessible.

    d. And we are on track to make every single ActiveSG Gym an inclusive one, by 2026.
  53. Beyond financial support and physical infrastructure, the people skills are also important.

    a. We must have more who can administer, who can conduct and coach disability sports because these are the natural multipliers for the sport.

    b. To date, 2800 coaches, educators, volunteers, staff and students are trained to support disability sports in one way or another.

    c. We have also established links with the International Paralympic Committee, Special Olympics, educational institutions like Republic Polytechnic, other partners like KK Hospital and social service agencies like SG Enable and the Society for the Physically Disabled to deliver training programs, hold workshops and outreach programs, so that even more will feel confident that they can lead and teach disability sports.
  54. The SDSC and Special Olympics Singapore have also been a major driving force for disability sports in Singapore.

    a. The SDSC has extended its reach to manage and support disability sports programs in 18 sports, across the community and we want to grow this, both in terms of development and also at high-performance elite levels. SDSC has also further diversified and tailored its programmes for different disability groups.

    b. The Special Olympics Singapore, in addition, offers 9 sports and 5 athlete-centred initiatives for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

    c. Both organisations continue to play an active role in the development of coaches and technical officials, as well as efforts to raise awareness and the standards and participation in disability sports and strengthen Singaporeans’ affinity with Team Singapore athletes with disabilities.
  55. SDSC also works closely with SSI to promote inclusion at a higher level, with our NSAs, to integrate disability sports into the mainstream offerings, alongside able-bodied sports programs.
  56. SDSC, Special Olympics Singapore and SNPC have also an established system of identifying talent from the pool of grassroots, developing a pathway for these elite athletes to progress through to Major Games representation for Singapore.
  57. Mr Speaker, all these steps have been positive. Since we hosted the ASEAN Para Games in 2015, we have seen a marked growth in interest and participation.

    a. In 2016, 1 in 3 persons with disabilities participated in a sport at least once a week.

    b. Today, that number is 1 in 2.

    c. But we can still do more, to push this further, and we will.
  58. A few members of this House have asked if we can also do more to reduce the disparity in cash awards between the Major Games Award Programme (or MAP) for able-bodied athletes and the Athletes’ Achievement Awards (or AAA) for para-athletes.

    a. The MAP and AAA are private award schemes that are managed by the SNOC and SNPC respectively.

    b. They were started in 1990 and 2002 respectively. And since their inception, these awards have been funded entirely by private sponsors.

    c. The award amounts offered under both schemes are raised and determined by the SNOC, and SNPC respectively, along with their sponsors. Individually, the awards under each of the schemes are tiered based on the standard, the size and the field of competition for each Major Games. In other words, Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, SEA Games.

    d. The different in cash quantums does not reflect how Government values our para-athletes vis-à-vis our able-bodied athletes. In our eyes, they are all Team Singapore athletes, and each athlete, abled or disabled, has his or her own intrinsic value, which we value, recognise and appreciate.

    e. SNPC is working on enhancing the cash awards for para-athletes in Major Games. They have already had discussions with a few entities to do so.

    f. And I have discussed these efforts with President SNPC, Prof Teo-Koh, on several occasions, and will continue to support their engagement with corporate entities and private funders towards this objective.

    g. SNPC will announce the outcome of their efforts in due course.
  59. Sir, I would add that besides focussing on the cash awards for medal finishes by our athletes, it is as important, if not more so, for resources to be put into growing the base, and uplifting the entire disability sporting ecosystem.

    a. I have said previously – lowering the barriers to entry, opening up more facilities and programs, enhancing the coaching and training framework, bringing onboard more disability sports into the field and realm of SNPC and SDSC, and drive the integration between disability sports with mainstream sports in the NSAs. 

    b. More athletes will benefit from this, and more pathways to success and to the elite representation will open up. If we can do this, take these steps, opportunities such as those which Wei Soong, Sophia or Gemma had, can be even more accessible.

    c. Opportunities across a whole spectrum of participants at different levels, not just for elite sport levels.  

    d. Because we believe that participation in disability sports alone can bring about such value.
  60. So, Mr Speaker, we will continue to work hard, to foster an inclusive society through sports where people of all abilities can come together to experience, to play, to socialise and if they are able to, to excel at the highest level in sports, and through this, to help Singapore and Singaporeans to build deep social connections.

    Inspiring a nation

  61. Mr Speaker, I have spoken at length about many things this afternoon that are important and central to MCCY’s mission and values when it comes to sports.
  62. But allow me to circle back to my original motion, for this House

    a. To thank Team Singapore athletes for flying our flag so high, and with such distinction at Tokyo 2020.

    b. All of you in this Chamber today have put Singapore amongst the world’s best.

    c. We congratulate you for your exceptional performances, for your indomitable fighting spirit on the world stage. You gave everything and left nothing behind in Tokyo.

    d. Your accomplishments brought cheer and joy to our nation, lifted our spirits in perhaps one of the most trying and difficult periods in Singapore’s history.

    e. More importantly, your efforts inspired and united Singaporeans from all walks of life as they tuned in to support your Paralympic and your Olympic journey.
  63. Just as the greats who have come before you, these men and women, our athletes, have made many personal sacrifices to carry our country’s hopes, our flag and our aspirations to the very pinnacle of sports.
  64. These are also the same men and women who have and will continue to inspire generations of athletes to come after them, to rise up, stand on their shoulders, reach higher, and bring even more honour and glory to our nation.
  65. Mr Speaker, I beg to move.
  66. Thank you.


Last updated on 05 October 2021