A corner of the Singapore Sports Museum, showcasing Singapore's rich sporting heritage (photo by SportSG).
The sporting heroes and heroines had gathered for the official opening of the Singapore Youth Olympic Museum (SYOM), which was held in conjunction with the re-opening of the Singapore Sports Museum (SSM).
The SYOM and the SSM showcases the memorabilias from the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010 and artefacts that choreographs Singapore’s sporting history respectively . Both museums together cover 2,200 sq m in total and can hold up to 500 visitors at any given time.
With sports pioneers like Tan Yoon Yin who founded the current Netball Singapore, and ex-national athletes like Majid Ariff and Arumugam Vijiaratnam present, it was a fitting tribute to the legacy that they had left behind.
“Today we are here more than just to celebrate the opening of a museum. I think we are meeting to reconnect with everyone in sporting Singapore, and to make the stories of our pioneers and heroes, our stories,” Sport Singapore Chief Executive Officer Mr Lim Teck Yin said in his welcome address.
The Singapore Youth Olympic Musem and Singapore Sports Museum were opened with a formal ceremony. From left to right: Mr Chris Chan (Secretary General, SNOC), Mr Ng Ser Miang (Vice President, IOC), Mr Lawrence Wong (Minister for Culture, Community & Youth), Mr Richard Seow (Chairman, Sport SG), Mr Lim Teck Yin (CEO, Sport SG), and Mr Robert Tan Jee Keng, a sports pioneer.
Mr Lim was joined by Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Communications and Information Mr Lawrence Wong, Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) Secretary General Mr Chris Chan and Mr Ng Ser Miang, (International Olympic Council) IOC Chairman, IOC Finance Committee in cutting the ribbon to declare the SYOM and Singapore Sports Museum officially opened.
Earlier in the evening, Tan, Majid and Vijiaratnam joined around 200 sports pioneers for a dinner reception at the OCBC Lounge in the National Stadium where they were recognised for their achievements and contributions to Singapore’s sporting history.
The pioneers were delighted to be recognised for their contributions, with many feeling like they were finally rewarded for their efforts.
Said Vijiaratnam, who is Singapore’s oldest surviving Olympian: “I’m very glad. It’s great that I’m being rewarded for my efforts and that people admire my contributions.”
Agreeing, Tan said: “I’m very proud and I’m so happy that people remember me. It’s nice to meet so many old faces who are also my friends.”
The task of gathering all the pioneers together for the tribute dinner fell to C.Kunalan and according to him, it was not an easy feat to track all of them down.
“We started in April and it was a very slow process. I had to rack my brains to think of the best way to do it because when I went to the National Sports Associations to look for the records, I couldn’t find them sometimes. But because Singapore is a small country, we managed to track them down,” explained the two-time Olympian.
Singapore spring legend Mr C Kunalan (left) gives an entertaining tour of the Sports Museum as Guest-of-honour Mr Lawrence Wong listens on.
The tribute dinner was also a chance for Singapore’s favourite footballing son and current LionsXII’s coach Fandi Ahmad and his mentor Majid to catch up. They were seen chatting animately throughout the night.
Said Majid, cheerfully, when asked what Fandi and him talked about: “I told Fandi that our jerseys last time were not as good as jerseys of the present day. The players then had to make sure the seamstress sewed our collars correctly!”