AG2018: Debutants show promise for future of Singapore sports
02 September 2018
Lee Yao Cheng
Team Singapore may not have bettered their medal haul from the 2014 Asian Games, but the athletes that made their debut at this edition showed huge potential for what is to come.
As the 2018 Asian Games comes to an end on Sunday, Singapore’s athletes have delivered a total of 22 medals - four golds, four silvers and 14 bronzes - just three fewer than the 25 medals from Incheon.
Fireworks during the Closing Ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games.
Two golds came from Singapore’s Olympic champion Joseph Schooling, while another two came from sailing and contract bridge.
In addition, one Asian Games record, eight national records and 18 personal bests were set at this outing.
"Our athletes showed no fear coming up against some of the world’s best athletes to fight for every point and victory. With a contingent formed largely of debutants, the results are very encouraging and hopefully, this indicates greater successes for them in the future,” said Singapore’s chef de mission Lee Wung Yew.
Of Singapore’s 264 athletes sent to compete in Indonesia, 75 per cent of them were debutants. And of athletes that won a medal, a similar percentage were debutants as well.
TeamSG silat exponent Nurzuhairah binte Mohd Yazid celebrates with her medal during the 2018 Asian Games.
The former Olympian highlighted a number of sports that made a mark in this year’s Asiad. The men's contract bridge team, the silat team and ju-jitsu exponent Constance Lien were all debutants who clinched a medal.
"(Swimming) has proven to all of us that they're developing good depth with some very fast swims by the young team,” he added.
"We won our first fencing team medal and these athletes are very young and very hyped up. They will be aiming higher now and hopefully (aiming) to qualify for the Olympics one day."
Our TeamSG fencers (L to R) Melanie Huang, Amita Berthier, Maxine Wong & Tatiana Wong celebrating their foil women's bronze medal win.
Singapore Sports Institute's Richard Gordon, head of High Performance for Sport and Athlete Life, also underlined the fact that Singapore is going through a transition period where younger stars are emerging to take the place the veterans.
"There’s been some very encouraging performances in that regard... the number of personal bests and national records we have broken by the emerging contingent coming through gives us good grounds for hope,” he said.
"Overall, we feel that we have made some progress over 2014, though the headline figures showed we have one gold fewer and ... fewer medals, but its only by a small number.”
"This is a long-term project. We know it takes eight to 12 years to develop high-performance athletes. It’s not something that's going to change overnight.”
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