SINGAPORE - Three major sporting events beckon for Singapore's athletes in the next three months, and all roads lead to the SEA Games on home soil next June.
With the Commonwealth Games kicking off the packed calendar later this month, a rallying call has gone out to the Republic's sportsmen and women competing in Glasgow: Set a winning note that will rub off on Singapore contingents in other competitions.
"Many of our athletes are working towards the SEA Games so these other competitions along the way are important stepping stones and confidence boosters," said Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, who was appointed president of the Singapore National Olympic Council on Monday.
"We expect all of them to peak at the right time... be in tip-top shape next June."
Mr Tan was speaking on the sidelines of the flag presentation ceremony for the Commonwealth and Youth Olympic Games (YOG) contingents at the Sports Hub yesterday.
Nanjing hosts the second YOG next month. The Asian Games then takes place in Incheon in September.
"We've got all these major markers along the way, which ensure we stay on our toes and (enable us to) judge how we're progressing," said Mok Ying Ren, who will be Singapore's first male marathon runner at the Commonwealth Games.
Setting new personal bests and national records is the very least that Singapore chef de mission Low Teo Ping expects at the July 23-Aug 3 showpiece in Glasgow.
What the veteran sports administrator really wants is for the Republic to walk away with its best-ever performance at the quadrennial event.
At the 2010 Delhi edition, Singapore's 65-strong contingent clinched 11 gold medals, 11 silvers and nine bronzes.
"We've got 70 athletes going to Glasgow so it's logical to expect more medals this time round," said Low, who also served as the CDM for the 2010 Asian Games and 2007 SEA Games.
"Our athletes must go in with the mentality to outperform their qualifying times - this is not a holiday, they're representing their country with the eyes of the world on them."
Shooting and table tennis accounted for 26 out of Singapore's 31 medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Paddlers Feng Tianwei and Gao Ning as well as shooters Jasmine Ser and Gai Bin are tipped to stand on the podium once again, while the gymnasts are hopeful of winning a first Commonwealth gold.
"It's something we strive for - there will be stiff competition from Australia and Canada but we're in pretty good form and training well," said Singapore flag bearer Lim Heem Wei, a silver medallist in the women's balance beam event four years ago.
The Republic's 17 YOG athletes, which include 10m air rifle world champion Martina Lindsay Veloso, will be led by debutant CDM Mark Chay.
The former Olympic swimmer said: "I've been in their shoes so I can understand their disappointments and concerns.
"They are very young in sporting terms so I just want them to go out there, have fun, and do their best for themselves and the nation."
This article was first published on JULY 2, 2014.
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