Team Singapore delegation during the Athletes' Parade [Photo by Sport Singapore / Action Images via Reuters]
Team Singapore athletes, officials and fans proudly took part in a breath-taking Opening Ceremony for the 8th ASEAN Para Games (APG) with the inspiring and colourful show celebrating the passion and talent of athletes of all abilities.
Setting the tone for what promises to be an action-packed and uplifting week of competition, the combination of music, dance, light and sound, involving more than 1,400 participants, delighted the 6,000 people inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium and the millions watching live on television and other platforms throughout the region.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu highlighted the unique quality of sport. “Sport can bring out the champion in all of us. It also breaks down barriers and helps us to appreciate the talents of those with different abilities.”
Ms Fu, who is also the Chairperson of Singapore ASEAN Para Games Organising Committees (SAPGOC) added, “The ASEAN Para Games is not just a sporting competition. It is a milestone for every Singaporean, as we mark the start of a movement to build a more inclusive society.”
Under the competition’s motto of ‘Celebrate the Extraordinary’, the show comprised five acts, each with a distinct but related theme, which encapsulated the APG’s spirit of pushing boundaries while fostering friendship and solidarity.
Participants perform during Movement 1: Stretching the Boundaries [Photo by Sport Singapore / Action Images via Reuters]
Participants take part in Movement 3: Shooting for the Best [Photo by Sport Singapore / Action Images via Reuters]
Along with the contemporary show, brought together by Creative and Music Director Philip Tan and anchored and inspired by persons with disabilities, the fans warmly welcomed the parade of the competing athletes from the 10 nations of the ASEAN region.
“Tonight we celebrate the presence and participation of our athletes, officials and the ASEAN Para fraternity,” said Dato Zainal Abu Zarin, President of the ASEAN Para Sports Federation (APSF).
“In the next seven days we will experience many memorable moments, off and on the field. Moments that will inspire and move us all in many ways, moments that provide us insights into the true meaning of life….stories of grit, discipline and eventual triumphs. It starts here tonight in this amazing stadium,” he added.
The ceremony was also the conclusion to the APG Torch Parade. The Parade began at Marina Bay Sands, where the honours of lighting the APG torch was given to Royce Seah of the Association for Persons with Special Needs and the Ooi family of Team Nila Volunteers.
The 5.5 km walk took the contingent past Gardens by the Bay and Tanjong Rhu, with the journey finally ending at the Singapore Sports Hub Water Sports Centre, in time for the start of the APG Opening Ceremony.
A total of 18 torchbearers participated in the parade, during which the torch was passed alternately between a member of a sponsoring organisation and a volunteer, in a gesture recognising the significant contributions of both the corporate partners and the community.
The Opening Ceremony concluded with the lighting of the 8th ASEAN Para Games Cauldron via a torch relay by seven local athletes – Kalai Vanen (Powerlifting), Benson Tan (Swimming), Aishah Samad (Shooting), Toh Wei Soong (Swimming) and Tay Wei Ming (Badminton). Tay joined final torch bearers, Yip Pin Xiu (Swimming), Aloysius Gan (Boccia) to light the cauldron to mark the start of the Games.
(L-R) Singapore's Gan Kai Hong Aloysius, Tay Wei Ming and Yip Pin Xiu light the cauldron [Photo by Sport Singapore / Action Images via Reuters]