163 shortlisted for Asean Para Games

163 shortlisted for Asean Para Games
Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, with members of the Asean Para Games football team. He has urged all shortlisted athletes to give their all in training in order to meet selection criteria.

More than 100 athletes are expected to fly the country's flag when Singapore hosts the ASEAN Para Games for the first time in December, about twice the size of the contingent from the last edition in 2013.

They will come from the 163 shortlisted to form the training squad for the Dec 3-9 event.

Team Singapore currently have athletes training in 14 of the 15 sports that will be contested.

There are hopes that the Republic can also field a team for the five-a-side football competition.

Every sport has its own qualifying events and criteria in the lead-up to the Games and the list of athletes is expected to be finalised around August.

Singapore Disability Sports Council vice-president Raja Singh, who was yesterday appointed chef de mission of the country's contingent, said while the hope is to have as many athletes getting the nod to compete, the long-term target is to build a bigger pool of disabled athletes.

He said: "We're looking at getting as many disabled people playing sport as possible, that's the ultimate vision."

At the last ASEAN Para Games in Myanmar, Singapore fielded 52 athletes across five sports.

Sports like archery, powerlifting and chess will likely see Singapore representation for the first time in December.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, who was guest of honour yesterday in the unveiling of the training squad, encouraged the athletes to spend the next few months training hard to qualify.

He said: "You will (all) have to earn your place in the squad.

"That means you have to train hard and make the selection standards.

"It's going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of you.

"The ASEAN Para Games will be the last major event to wrap up the year-long celebration so you can be part of the final birthday present for Singapore's 50th birthday."

Sport Singapore chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin said close attention is being paid to accessibility issues for the December Games and host most of the events in the Sports Hub's vicinity.

"We're trying very much to play the majority of sports at the Sports Hub and the Kallang area so that we can concentrate our efforts," he added.

"When we need to, we will amend the infrastructure for that purpose."

maychen@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on May 3, 2015.
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