After a remarkable showing at this year’s Olympics and Paralympics, Team Singapore athletes were treated to a tea reception at the Istana by President Tony Tan on Saturday afternoon.
Team Singapore athletes pose for a photo during the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics Istana Tea Reception at the Istana. Photo: Sport Singapore
Among the athletes who made their appearances, were Gold medallist Joseph Schooling and Yip Pin Xiu, as well as Bronze medallist Theresa Goh.
In a speech, President Tan paid tribute to the medal harvest and also praised the efforts of the rest of the Team Singapore athletes.
“I had the opportunity to meet and interact with some of you during your training sessions earlier this year. What I sensed then was your tremendous determination to do your best, and do Singapore proud in Rio,” he said.
"It is this strength of character in each and every one of you which embodies the spirit of the Games, and continues to inspire all of us."
Six young teens from the SportCares Foundation, which works with low-income and at-risk youth, honoured the Olympians and Paralympians with an original poem. As athletes trying to make their mark in the sporting world, the SportCares youth spoke about the challenges faced by the Olympic athletes. They praised “everyone who has come before us” for inspiring all athletes to reach for the stars. (For more on this story, please click here)
While the Olympics are inevitably the paramount event for any sportsperson, for sailor Sara Tan, what made the experience an amazing one was the journey to the Games where she discovered and built her strength of character.
Team Singapore sailors chatting with President Tony Tan and Mrs Mary Tan during the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics Istana Tea Reception. Photo: Sport Singapore
“The process of getting to the Olympics was all about that. We had to persevere through a lot of things,” the 26-year-old said.
“I think the thing that made the experience most amazing was the lead-up to the Games.
“Because we had a very routine kind of lifestyle, so when I think about the Olympics, I think more about that than about the actual Games itself because the Games just went by so fast.”
Team Singapore para-equestrian Maximillian Tan also shared a similar experience, perhaps in testament to the unyielding spirit that this Games has inculcated in the athletes.
He said: “One of the things that I did learn and takeaway from this competition is that, whatever happens, just continue riding.”