Photo by Nicky Loh/Getty Images for SSC
By Cheong Wei Ming in Jakarta & Jason Cai in Singapore
Team Singapore’s athletes competing at the SEA Games received their “report card” today (Nov 21) as Chef de Mission Dr Tan Eng Liang assessed their performances at a wrap up press conference held at Sultan Hotel in Jakarta. The overall appraisal? The athletes did well with their 42 gold, 45 silver and 73 bronze medals.
Rising To The Challenge
Congratulating them, Dr Tan – who was joined by Mr Chris Chan, secretary general of SNOC, and Mr Lim Teck Yin, CEO of SSC - said, “Many of them have exceeded their expectations despite the high level of competition here in Indonesia.” Noting the many young stars who rose to the challenge, he said, “This bodes very well for sports in Singapore and I am very excited for their bright futures.”
In grading the performances of the various sports, he singled out swimming and table tennis for special praise. Swimming, for instance, produced exceptional performances worthy of an A+, he noted. Overall, the swimmers won 17 gold, 9 silver and 13 bronze medals. They also set 21 personal bests and broke 4 SEA Games records as well as 7 national records. “The statistics for swimming speak for themselves,” he said, adding that our “young aggressive swimmers will be in the forefront for the 2015 SEA Games.”
Lesser Known Sports
It wasn’t just the established sports which were singled out. Some of the lesser known sports earned praise too. One of them was canoeing which delivered 2 gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze medals. On the canoeists, Dr Tan said, “Their performance was a quantum leap forward.”
But the Chef de Mission also had strong words for sports which did not perform up to expectations. For instance, fencing and shooting were disappointing “based on what was expected of them”. Other sports that under delivered included silat, rowing, open water swimming, wrestling, softball, karate, judo and boxing. Performing even worse were the sports which did not deliver a single medal, he said. These were archery, football, dragonboat, weightlifting and sepak takraw.
Apart from assessing the teams in different sports, Dr Tan also singled out some individuals for their noteworthy performances, including gold medallists Yukie Yokoyama (sailing) and Fu Mingtian (badminton). On the latter’s performance in the final of the women’s singles, for example, he said, “We saw her spiritedness and mental strength… Under intense environment, she was solid like a rock. That performance of hers warrants our admiration.”
Yet it was clear that Dr Tan wasn’t just looking at the colours of the medals. Athletes like 100m sprinter Gary Yeo, discus thrower/shot putter Wan Lay Chi and bridge player Ng Lai Chun also deserved a pat on the back, he noted. His view was shared by Mr Chris Chan, secretary general of SNOC, who said, “There are so many unsung heroes that we should not just focus on the gold medallists.” On the men’s 4x100m relay team, for example, he said, “They had slick baton change and understanding among each other. They showed that through their teamwork, they managed to beat their best time.” SSC’s CEO Mr Lim Teck Yin summed up the high spirit among Team Singapore athletes here with his observation. “They represent the spirit of excellence, determination, fighting spirit, and the will to win,” he noted.