Let us revisit some of the sporting milestones of the year, proving why 2015 was pivotal in the growth of local sport. Besides the nation growing in stature at international and regional competitions, everyday Singaporeans also got their fill by participating in or supporting a range of sporting events.
Hosting regional and international sporting meets
During this year’s 28th SEA Games and 8th ASEAN Para Games (APG), Singapore conducted competitions for over 40 sports and played host to more than 13,000 athletes and officials from across 11 Southeast Asian nations, doing so with great aplomb. These events were held at state-of-art competition venues and backed up by efficient transportation networks.
Prior to these Games, a series of roadshows and outreach programmes were conducted across the island to bring the nation together, including the Torch Up! series and the highly successful Make-A-Nila campaign, which involved more than 500,000 Singaporeans!
Meanwhile, para athletes from across the region also arrived to take part in a series of invitational competitions and exhibition matches to raise the public’s awareness of the various sports ahead of the APG.
Besides the APG and the SEA Games, Singapore also welcomed the world for events such as the WTA Finals, during which Agnieszka Radwanska won her first ever Billie Jean King Trophy, as well as the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix and the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships.
The amount of success and support all of these events enjoyed certainly indicated that Singapore was well on its way to becoming a pivotal sports hub for the region.
Simona Halep in action during the WTA Finals in October. Photo: SportSG
Spectacular performances from Team Singapore
Team Singapore did their part in making this year a memorable one, demonstrating grit, energy and expert technique while achieving the country’s best ever medal haul from the SEA Games and the APG.
To be more specific, Singapore finished second at this year’s SEA Games, our highest ever ranking at the meet thanks to the 84 gold medals collected, smashing 29 national and 25 Games records on the march to victory. Meanwhile, the country’s para athletes also did Singapore proud with their haul of 24 gold, 17 silver and 22 bronze medals from the APG.
It was at the APG that swimmer Yip Pin Xiu smashed the world record for the S2 category during her women’s 50m backstroke race - her final event at the Games and a fitting finale for the sporting year. Prior to that, Joseph Schooling followed up on his nine 28th SEA Games gold medals with a bronze at the FINA World Championships, marking the first time a Singaporean had ever made the podium at the renowned international meet.
Not to be outdone by the swimmers, Team Singapore bowler Shayna Ng finished with a pinfall of 5,587 to be crowned the All Events winner at the Women’s World Bowling Championships this December, which was also a first for the country.
Fans show their support at the OCBC Arena at the 28th SEA Games Netball competition. Photo: SportSG
An inclusive society through sports
Hot on the heels of an impactful APG, five Centres of Expertise will be set up steadily across the country to increase sports participation amongst persons with disabilities. These centres will offer tailored programmes and inclusive gyms with equipment for all users.
These are just one of the many recommendations from the Committee for Disability Sports, which was initiated in January, to spearhead the quest for greater inclusiveness of persons with disabilities via sport.
Yip Pin Xiu (left) and Theresa Goh are two of many success stories that highlight the power of sport in the quest for greater inclusiveness. Photo: SportSG
Volunteers back up major sporting events
The country’s multitude of sports volunteers was brought together under a single umbrella with the launch of Team Nila earlier this year. The volunteer network was a platform for Singaporeans, regardless of whether they were active in sport, to get involved and play a part in the nation’s growing sporting culture.
Urged on by the values of courage, passion and friendship, members of Team Nila were integral to the eventual success of the SEA Games, the APG and the WTA Finals, where they displayed an equal amount of enthusiasm for their roles and the sports contested.
Team NILA volunteers make a sea of purple as they follow the APG Games torch during the Torch Parade. Photo: SportSG
Sports for people from all walks of life
With 2015 marking ActiveSG’s second year, the range of programmes on offer was expanded to cater to various interests and demographics, in order to continue fostering a sporting lifestyle amongst Singaporeans. Some of the programmes introduced include aqua spinning, Nordic walking and piloxing as well as various youth sports camps, which ensured that sporting values were passed on to the next generation.
The decision to extend the period of utilisation for ActiveSG$ was also met with great enthusiasm by many Singaporeans eager to continue making use of the sport facilities and fitness programmes, a hint that 2016 might yet be another great year for the local sports scene!
The extension of the utilisation of ActiveSG dollars means more Singaporeans can benefit from living a healthier and active lifestyle in the year ahead. Photo: SportSG