Team Singapore athletes and officials celebrate their return from the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia
By Cheong Wei Ming
We’re back. And there is more work ahead. Yes, it was a well-deserved “Welcome Home” accompanied by a keen awareness of the need to step up training for Team Singapore’s SEA Games athletes returning from Indonesia today (Nov 23).
Walking through the arrival gates of Changi Airport Terminal 3 this afternoon, athletes in wushu, traditional boat racing and cycling were greeted with rousing applause at the Welcome Back Ceremony. Among those present to greet them were Chef de Mission Dr Tan Eng Liang; Minister of State (Community Development, Youth and Sports) Madam Halimah Yacob; and Singapore Sports Council’s CEO Mr Lim Teck Yin. They were joined by the athletes’ families and friends as well as supporters from Team Singapore.
Discipline & Perseverance
Paying tribute to the athletes’ “discipline and perseverance” throughout the SEA Games, Madam Halimah said, “Our achievements included not just medals but also the spirit that we showed of Team Singapore.” She told the athletes, “You were an inspiration to watch,” adding that they would inspire younger Singaporeans to develop interest in sports. She also acknowledged the support from team managers, National Sports Associations (NSAs), sports doctors, families, friends and Singaporeans in general. Looking ahead, she said there should be ample time to improve our performance for the 2015 SEA Games which will be held in Singapore. “We will look at which sports we are strong in, and further strengthen them. For our poorer performances, we will look into the reasons behind them and work on them to do better in 2015,” she said.
For the athletes’ families, all that can wait. For now, they simply want to celebrate the athletes’ success. Mrs Tao Kok Liu, mother of wushu gold medallist Tao Yi Jun, said, “I am very proud of her. She put in a lot of hard work to balance her work and training.” As for the athletes, the whole experience of being in the SEA Games is unforgettable. Said Tay Yu Juan, who was in the same team as Yi Jun which won gold, noted, “What was most memorable for me was seeing how other athletes competed. They had such high standards. I was awed by their performances.” Which explains why Welcome Back also means more work ahead.