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Grand Debut

Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Mr Chan Chun Sing (first from left) and Singapore’s Shooter, Gai Bin (first from right) sharing their thoughts on the Games, during the Send-Off Ceremony for Team Singapore’s SEA Games Athletes. (Photo: SSC)

By Jeannette Xavier & Kelly Ng

For the men’s water polo team, it may be Been There, Done That. For their female counterparts, however, it was a whole new experience when they joined other Singapore athletes at the official send-off for the SEA Games early this morning (Nov 8).


Words Of Encouragement

While the men’s water polo team, who leave for Indonesia on Wednesday (Nov 9), will be vying for their 24th consecutive gold medal, the women hope to shine as they - and their sport - make their grand debut at the SEA Games. Yes, like the guys, they are eyeing history of sorts. And they, facing pressure, could do with the words of encouragement given this morning at the Changi Airport by Guests-of-Honour Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Mr Chan Chun Sing.

All The Best

Mr Chan, for instance, told the Singapore athletes leaving for Indonesia: “When you focus on what you need to do, the results will take care of themselves. So, all the best to all of you. Regardless of the results, I want you to know that you are part of the team, and that Singapore will always be behind you, walking with you every step of the race. You will definitely do well, and we will be proud of you.”

Gold For Cheering

Apart from the women’s water polo team, others who left this morning included athletes from silat, sepak tekraw, shooting and swimming. Giving the 65 athletes a rousing send-off were family members, friends and a contingent of fresh-faced youngsters clad in red. These included the Young Team Singapore Ambassadors and students from the Institute of Technical Education. Armed with noisemakers, strong lungs and a great deal of zeal, these young supporters cheered with much fervor and gusto. Their loud cheers led Minister Teo to note  jokingly that he wished he could award a “gold medal for cheering” to the supporters.

Toughest SEA Games

The women’s water polo team could do with such strong support.  For team member Shauna Sim, playing at the SEA Games will mark the high point of her short career. And it had taken much for her to reach here. For instance, the fourth-year medical student had to juggle daily training with a heavy work load in school. Also spotted at the send-off was swimming star Tao Li. The poster girl of Singapore swimming, who will compete in nine events, called this her “toughest SEA Games”. Undaunted, she said she was confident of winning  some gold medals. “Competing in nine events is something new to me. But I am excited and looking forward to the challenge,” she said.