The Singapore 2015 Launch Party in full swing at The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay. (Photo by VoxSports)
A launch party to officially mark Singapore’s preparation for the 2015 Southeast Asia (SEA) Games and 2015 ASEAN Para Games (APG) was held at Gardens By The Bay’s events plaza The Meadow on Saturday evening.
In addition to the unveiling of the several features planned out for the Games next year, athletes who participated in the 2013 SEA Games and 2014 APG were also celebrated for their achievements at the party.
The occasion was graced by Singapore President Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, and Acting Minister for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth Chairman of the Singapore Southeast Asian Games (SINGSOC) Steering Committee, Mr Lawrence Wong, to unveil the official logos for both tournaments.
The event was also used to introduce the Games’ motto to “Celebrate the Extraordinary”, and the mascot of Nila the Lion, which also featured as the Singapore National Games mascot in 2012.
Nila, the official mascot for the 2015 SEA Games and 8th Asean Para Games,
makes an appearance at the party. (Photo by VoxSports)
Mr Wong addressed the crowd in a speech, and stressed upon the importance of hosting the SEA Games, before urging the public to volunteer their services if possible, with the host nation aiming to gather 15,000 volunteers.
"Today, we not only celebrate Team Singapore's achievements but also launch our campaign to 2015, which is also the year of our Golden Jubilee (a celebration to mark Singapore’s 50th anniversary)," Mr Wong said.
He added: "The Games is more than just about sporting events. They are about the hopes and dreams of individuals and communities. They are about the human spirit and our shared aspirations. The Games will bring together ordinary people with extraordinary dreams. At the end of the day, whether the Games can be truly extraordinary will depend on all of us as Singaporeans."
Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) Secretary General Mr Chris Chan revealed that the launch was also used to display Singapore’s efficiency in preparing for the Games, with SEA Games Federation foreign delegates being present at the launch after arriving in the city-state for a council meeting earlier in the day.
Southeast Asian Games Federation Council Member Mr Khin Maung Lwin of Myanmar was impressed with the launch.
"I was quite surprised, even though it’s still another 15 months to go [for the 2015 SEA Games], but all the volunteers are here so it shows that Singapore has a lot of qualified young talented people," Mr Lwin said.
Several athletes revealed that they could not contain their excitement as the countdown to the Games began, with the draw of competing at home appealing to them the most.
"Playing away from your country and now you got the chance to play on home ground, I am really excited," said Khairul Anwar, captain of the Cerebral Palsy Football which won the silver medal at the previous APG.
"The AFF Suzuki Cup finals (Singapore played host to Thailand in the first leg), we are hoping for that kind of atmosphere at the coming SEA Games."
"SEA Games means a lot and everything to me. We have been working hard for the SEA Games so I hope to get gold for Singapore here in my hometown," SEA Games 2013 football bronze medalist Sahil Suhaimi added.
"Well, the SEA Games is unique in the sense that you know most of the locals can relate to us," said para-athlete Jack Lai, Singapore’s only wheelchair racer at the 2014 Para Games.
"We are competing with our neighbours and we are competing within our own level of playing field so there will be much more exciting competition."