Performers in action during the Opening Ceremony of the ASEAN University Games at Nanyang Technological University. Photo: Sport Singapore
The 18th ASEAN University Games (AUG) officially kicked off in Singapore as 1500 student athletes from 11 countries gathered at Nanyang Technological University on Sunday to mark the occasion.
This is the third time the republic will be hosting the biennial competition, with the second one last held here 22 years back.
In the previous edition of the AUG, held in, Palembang, Indonesia, Singapore finished seventh in the medal table, while hosts Indonesia finished top.
But chairman of the AUG organising committee Dr Tan Eng Liang said this sporting competition was not only about the pursuit of sporting excellence.
“The objective is definitely to foster friendship, pursue sports and of course to foster a mutual relationship,” said Dr Tan.
“It is competitive sports, it is education, it is culture. That’s why we introduced the non-sports events.”
Dr Tan Eng Liang speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the ASEAN University Games. Photo: Sport Singapore
Dr Tan also highlighted the power of sports in making friends and learning about different cultures. He recounted a story during the 1956 Olympic Games where he made friends that lasted a lifetime.
“Do you believe it, that girl wrote to me 30 years later because I left my address, and visited me in Singapore,” he said.
“So wherever you go, you can’t help but know your fellow water polo players and fellow swimmers. And later on, some of them will become good friends.”
Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung, who declared the AUG open on Sunday, said this friendly sports meet will form a building block for future bilateral relations in the ASEAN region.
The flag bearers during the Opening Ceremony of the Games. Photo: Sport Singapore
“Everyone will play hard and compete hard. But at the same time, we will make friends, strengthen bonds, and continue the efforts of earlier generations of people of ASEAN to build strong bridges across our nations,” he said.
The AUG, which features 16 sports, will run till 19 July.
If you are unable to make it down to the sporting arenas to catch the Games in person, you can watch selected matches LIVE on Sport Singapore’s YouTube channel.