Team Singapore divers and officials at the Istana Garden Party (Photo by Sport Singapore)
At the SEA Games Garden Party in the Istana on Monday, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong congratulated the Team Singapore contingent on their accomplishments at the SEA Games, saying the record medal haul could be the launching pad for more sporting success at regional and world level.
During the reception where President Tony Tan, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean were also present, Minister Wong dedicated the night to the athletes, whose hard work and sacrifices saw Singapore collect an unprecedented 259 medals at the Games.
“Tonight, we want to honour all our athletes. We want to appreciate all of you. That’s why all of us are here to thank you. This evening is really for you,” he said.
“Your performances inspired Singaporeans. You achieved your own personal bests. And for Singapore as whole, you broke new records. You achieved the highest ever number of gold medals, the highest ever number of total medals for the SEA Games.
“Many of you just went out of your way, pushed your limits. You rallied our whole nation together and you brought the whole country together with a tremendous sense of pride and unity for Singapore.
Minister Wong also said the collective experience will help lay the foundations for further success as the various sporting organisations work together to improve overall results.
“We want to ensure that more of our athletes can go on to excel, not just at future SEA Games, but also on a bigger stage – at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. And I know some of you are already training for your journey to Rio, so we will be behind you all the way.”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with Team Singapore athletes (L to R) Koh Sock Hwee (Golf), Stephanie Chen (Synchronised Swimming), Sarah Chen (Canoeing), Veronica Shanti Pereira (Athletics) and Quek Soo Teng (Volleyball) (Photo by Sport Singapore)
Track and field sprinter Veronica Shanti Pereira, who ended Singapore’s 42-year wait for a 200m Gold, found it difficult to contain her excitement at the glitz and glamour of the night’s events.
“The last time I came here it wasn't this grand. It was just all the athletes in the contingent attire. It's not like everybody dressing up,” the 18-year-old said.
“You don't really get a chance to have both the prime minister and president here with all the other athletes. So I feel very honoured that they are here and quite excited to see them.”