In the lead-up to the upcoming 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and 9th ASEAN Para Games (APG) in Kuala Lumpur, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, along with Malaysia’s Minister of Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin, joined Team Singapore athletes and Team Nila volunteers in a baton relay.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu (centre), Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin (right) and Team Singapore swimmer Yip Pin Xiu pose for a photo during the 29th SEA Games baton relay. Photo: Sport Singapore
The baton relay is the first of its kind in Games history and has passed through the capital cities of nine other Southeast Asian countries. The Singapore leg is the culmination of the relay circuit, and will be converted to a torch relay, which will continue through Malaysian states before concluding in Kuala Lumpur on 19 August for the SEA Games opening ceremony.
Ministers Fu and Khairy kicked off the 18-kilometre relay at *SCAPE and the relay passed iconic Singaporean landmarks such as the Istana Park, the Singapore Sports Hub, the Merlion Park and the Arts House, before culminating in the return to *SCAPE.
“Sports has this unique ability to bring people together and the SEA Games have always been able to bring people of different countries in Southeast Asia together, so this is really a good way to celebrate sport,” said Minister Fu.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu (second from right) and Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin (first from right) pose for a photo. Photo: Sport Singapore
“With this baton run, we’re generating rising expectations about the games and we’re getting all excited and ready and there’s a rising athletic and sporting chorus that’s going on in the region, so I’m sure Malaysia will put up a spectacular event in Kuala Lumpur in August.”
Minister Khairy was appreciative of the Singaporean organization, and credited Singapore for setting a benchmark for the organisation of the upcoming Games.
“We have a great act to follow,” said the 41-year-old. “Malaysia, as hosts this year, we follow, of course, in the footsteps of Singapore in 2015, where you showed Southeast Asia the best of what it is to become a host of the SEA Games and the APG.”
Minister Khairy also paid homage to Team Nila volunteers and pledged that he will do his best to ensure a successful Games.
For Team Singapore sprinter Shanti Pereira, participating in the baton relay was a fun experience.
“I got to run with the kids, and all of them were telling me that I was very slow,” laughed Shanti. “I guess participating in this is kind of making me more excited for the upcoming SEA Games.”
Team Singapore sprinter Shanti Pereira takes part in the 29th SEA Games baton relay. Photo: Sport Singapore
The 20-year-old, who is the reigning 200m women’s champion at the Games, had recently won the event at the Singapore Open and is on form for the upcoming Games.
“The Singapore Open was definitely a good competition, considering that it was only two days and I ran a lot of races,” said Shanti.
“But I achieved my goals there so I guess it’s a good sign and it’s a good step towards the last phase leading up to the SEA Games.”