Phua issues wake-up Call

Phua issues wake-up Call
Team Singapore members (from left) Shayna Ng, Theresa Goh, Yip Pin Xiu and Amanda Lim taking a selfie. With them is Singapore Disability Sport Council sports development officer Wong Mei Ling (centre).

At the 2012 Olympics, it was Joseph Schooling’s swimming cap and goggles which breached the rules.

At the Commonwealth Games in July, it was the swimmers’ caps with oversized logos.

And Jessie Phua, chef de mission for the Sept 19-Oct 4 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, does not want any repeats.

At yesterday’s Asian Games and Asian Para Games flag presentation ceremony, Phua, who was also chef de mission for the 2012 Olympics, declared that officials must not be caught napping.

Said Phua, who is also president of the Singapore Bowling Federation: “I told (the officials) I will be the nightmare from hell if they don’t do their job.”

She revealed that she had given team managers from 10 sports “a shelling” yesterday for arriving late for a meeting.

“I said ‘look, you are the very people our athletes depend on for support... I certainly hope that this is not a reflection of what you’re going to do at the Games.

“Let this be a wake-up call for all.”

Phua added that as one of four vice-presidents of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), she is attempting to create a registry of offenders, whose respective national sports associations must then explain why they are still nominating them for major games.

But for the 227 athletes who will fly the flag for Singapore in 20 sports in Incheon, she wishes only for them to do their best.

Singapore finished with four golds, seven silvers and six bronzes in Guangzhou four years ago.

Phua would not be drawn into setting medal targets, saying: “It’s like putting a sledgehammer over athletes’ heads and (saying) perform. All we ask from all of them is to put in their best performance.

“We are now not going there to be also-rans. We are there as serious contenders.

“We’re there to win, to do our best, and if that best brings along a medal, that’s fantastic.

“If there’s one sport that Singapore can count on to medal at the Asian Games, bowling would be it. We just don’t know how many and what colour, but the coaches have left no stones unturned.”

Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, the guest of honour at the Singapore Sports Hub, also declined to set medal targets.

Mr Tan, who is also president of the SNOC, said: “A good Asian Games would be seeing the (athletes) conduct themselves in an exemplary manner and perform to the best of their abilities.

“We always wish for medals because the thing about medals is it focuses the mind of the supporters... (but) it’s also important for the audience, the supporters, to also learn how to support (athletes) regardless of how they perform.”

Phua presented the Singapore flag to sprinter Gary Yeo while M. Lukshumayeh, chef de mission for the Oct 18-24 Asian Para Games, handed over the national flag to sailor Jovin Tan.

Fifty-three para athletes will be contesting in 11 sports.

Yeo, who is taking part in his second Asiad, told team-mates: “We have trained so hard and this is the stage to perform.”

This article was first published on Sep 2, 2014.
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