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Tokyo 2020 review

Response to parliamentary question on the review of Team Singapore athletes’ performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics


Mr Darryl David: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) whether there are plans to conduct a review of Singaporean athletes' performance at the recent 2020 Tokyo Olympics; and (b) how will this review be incorporated into any strategic plan for the 2024 Olympics.


Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law:

  1. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Singapore was represented by 33 athletes across 12 sports1 and six para sports.2  MCCY applauds all our Team Singapore athletes for their resilience and determination in overcoming the challenges and disruptions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to qualify and compete at the Games. We also recognise the tireless efforts of the joint Games Secretariat (comprising staff from Sport Singapore, Singapore National Olympic Council and Singapore National Paralympic Council) and the medical teams who supported our athletes in Tokyo.
  2. There were a number of encouraging performances at the Tokyo Olympics, such as breakthrough performances from paddler Yu Mengyu who finished  4th  in the Women’s Singles Table Tennis3 and the Women’s 49erFX crew comprising Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low who achieved the best ever performance by Team Singapore sailors at the Olympics.4 Team Singapore Paralympians achieved five National Records, seven Personal Bests and two Season Bests, including Ms Yip Pin Xiu, who successfully defended her Women’s S2 50m and 100m Backstroke titles which she won at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. On the other hand, we experienced our share of disappointments at the Games. Our athletes, more than anybody else, are disappointed when they do not perform up to their expectations and are motivated by the desire to come back stronger and better.
  3. After each Major Games outing, there is a thorough review of Team Singapore’s performance, incorporating views from the athletes, coaches and the National Sports Associations (NSAs). Following the return of our contingents from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, we have already commenced our review, which takes into account not only the performance of the athletes, but also the operating environment and challenges in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics and during the Games. This allows us to analyse performance systemically, and to consider this against the backdrop of our national High Performance Sports (HPS) system and strategies. An important priority is to enable our national athletes to train and compete uninterrupted amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation, to ensure that preparations for upcoming international competitions and Major Games are not affected. We will also refresh our understanding of the competitive landscape, and learn from the experience of other countries and their HPS systems.
  4. Each review contributes to the continued improvement of our HPS system and strategies, including how we strengthen our talent pathways and optimise the training and development of our athletes. This allows us to continually learn and build on our experiences for future Major Games, including the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond. Our current focus is to prepare for the busy Major Games schedule in 2022, including the Southeast Asian Games and ASEAN Para Games, the Commonwealth Games, as well as the Asian Games and Asian Para Games.

1 The 12 sports are: Athletics, Badminton, Diving, Equestrian, Fencing, Gymnastics, Marathon Swimming, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis. Team Singapore made its Olympic debut in Diving, Equestrian and Marathon Swimming.

2 The 6 para sports are: Archery, Athletics, Cycling, Equestrian, Powerlifting and Swimming. Team Singapore made its Paralympic debut in Men’s tandem cycling and powerlifting.

3 Mengyu improved on her performance from Rio 2016 (Quarter Finals) to achieve 4th position in the Women’s Singles Table Tennis in Tokyo. Although ranked 47th in the world and nursing an injury suffered earlier this year, she beat Cheng I Ching (WR 8) in the 3rd round and Ishikawa Kasumi (WR 10) in the Quarter Finals. She is the third Singaporean table tennis player to reach the semi-finals in the singles event at the Olympics (after 2000 and 2012).

4 The 49ER FX crew set the best performance by the sailors in any Olympic Games to achieve overall 10th placing out of 21 crews and became the first Singaporean sailors to qualify for a medal race at the Olympics. The crew also came out top among competitors from Asia.


Last updated on 04 October 2021