Sports

33 Tokyo-bound Singaporean athletes need your support.

Over the last week, we asked 10 random people if they knew who were Singapore’s representatives at the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Not surprisingly, the only name all 10 could come up with was Joseph Schooling, Singapore’s gold medallist from the last Rio Olympics. 

Only two could name Quah Zheng Wen, and another handful said “our table tennis players” and “our table tennis foreign talents” without actually being able to name them.

The lack of knowledge (or rather ignorance) of Singapore’s top athletes headed to Tokyo is a sign of a greater problem – not many seem to bother about sports in Singapore or follow the exploits of our national athletes, even those who are at competing at the highest levels.

Worse, there’s only interest when an athlete wins, as evidenced by the lavish accolades bestowed on Schooling when he lifted Singapore’s first ever gold medal at the Olympics in the 100m butterfly event in Rio.

Or when the National Stadium only fills up when the Lions have successfully qualified for the finals, as seen when Singapore made the finals of the two-legged Asean Championships in 2004, 2007 and 2012.

But athletes need support in their respective journeys leading up to the major games like the Olympics, and even after they make the cut. 

Another respondent said that he did not know where to get information about our athletes and said there was no one go-to place where one could read up or access information about Singapore’s Tokyo 2020 Olympians and Paralympians. 

Fair point, since the Singapore National Olympic Council and the Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC) are two separate bodies, and which disseminate information separately. 

For example, the recent appointment of flag-bearers for the Team Singapore contingent only featured the 23 Olympians and made no mention of the Paralympians. 

Photo: SNOC

The SNPC had information about its 10 Paralympians on its website, but the two separate stories were buried at the bottom of the website.

Which is why Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s call for Singaporeans to support the nation’s athletes headed to Tokyo is timely.

In a Facebook post on 14 July, PM Lee asked that the rest of Singapore “join me to cheer on our athletes for the Olympics and the Paralympics” and added that “your support means a lot”.

“The pandemic has made this a very challenging year for athletes preparing for the Games.”

He added that “our athletes have persevered in their training and are raring to go” and that “their focus, resilience and adaptability to changing circumstances are inspiring!”

For the record, there will be a total of 33 Singaporeans representing the Lion City in Tokyo – 23 at the Olympics and 10 at the Paralympics.

Team Singapore Athletes in Tokyo for Olympics and Paralympics:

Shanti Pereira 

Loh Kean Yew 

Yeo Jia Min 

Jonathan Chan 

Freida Lim 

Caroline Chew 

Amita Berthier 

Kiria Tikanah 

Tan Sze En 

Joan Poh 

Ryan Lo 

Kimberly Lim 

Cecilia Low 

Amanda Ng 

Adele Tan 

Joseph Schooling 

Quah Ting Wen

Quah Zheng Wen 

Chantal Liew 

Clarence Chew 

Feng Tianwei

Yu Mengyu 

Lin Ye 

Nur ’Aini Binte Mohamad Yasli

Laurentia Tan

Gemma Foo

Maximillian Tan 

Yip Pin Xiu

Nur Syahidah Alim

Muhammad Diroy 

Steve Tee Wee Leong

Sophie Soon Jin Wen

Toh Wei Soong

Main Photos: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Facebook

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