Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin tries his hand out at powerlifting. (Photo by Sport Singapore)
Team Singapore powerlifters Kalai Vanen and Melvyn Yeo took a day out of their hectic training schedule to drum up support for the sport of powerlifting at the Unified Powerlifting Challenge at Marina Square on Saturday.
The event, which was graced by Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, and Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Kang, saw Kalai and Melvyn leading their respective teams in a friendly competition.
Mr Baey said community initiatives in the build-up to the 8th ASEAN Para Games (APG) has reached more than 200,000 Singaporeans and he hopes to see large crowds supporting our athletes during the Games.
Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Kang penning his well-wishes for our Team Singapore athletes at the 8th ASEAN Para Games (Photo by Sport Singapore)
"Our athletes with disabilities deserve our support. They are training hard, sacrificing their time to do Singapore proud, and from the response we are seeing, the public recognise that and are going to back them. It's an exciting time for para sports in Singapore,” he said.
Both Kalai and Melvyn were pleased with the reception to the community initiatives and that the event gave the APG “better exposure and greater public awareness”.
“It brings a lot more exposure and more exposure means more people will support the athletes at the Games,” said Melvyn, the 21-year-old with cerebral palsy.
Kalai, who lost his left leg at a young age of 22, added, “Promotional activities by Sport Singapore and the Singapore Disability Sports Council have been going on, but having it in a mall means that they (the organisers) really paid attention to promoting the sport.”
Wu Meng Ting, a member of the public who participated in the day’s activities with her friends from National University of Singapore, said, “Holding the event here is a very good idea because everyone can see it, and involving members of the public in the bench press challenge helps them experience how powerlifting is like.”
Team Singapore judoka Gary Chow pen dedications to fellow Team Singapore athletes competing in the coming ASEAN Para Games (Photo by Sport Singapore)
National judokas Gary Chow, Gabriel Yang, Khishigbayar Buuveibaatar, Indra Syahfirul and Ang Xuan Yi, as well as national basketball players Leon Kwek, Delvin Goh, Kelvin Lim and John Ng were also present to mingle with the public and try their hands out at the sport.
“Personally, I don’t really know much about powerlifting, so today’s event was an eye-opener,” said Gabriel.
“Coming here today and meeting both Kalai and Melvyn was very inspiring for me, because they are very confident about themselves and they are very willing to impart their knowledge to us.”
(From L to R) Team Singapore basketball players Leon Kwek, Delvin Goh, Kelvin Lim and John Ng having a good laugh with Team Singapore powerlifter Kalai Vanen. (Photo by Sport Singapore)
National basketball player Leon Kwek shared similar sentiments. “It shows the heart and belief they have in themselves, especially the fact that they can pick themselves up after facing such adversities in their lives,” he said.
From 3rd to 9th December, the 8th edition of the ASEAN Para Games will be held on home ground for the first time in history and will serve as a closure to the yearlong SG50 celebrations.
The Games will feature a record 166 athletes, including Kalai and Melvyn, the largest ever contingent by the Republic.