Get behind Team Singapore

Get behind Team Singapore
The triumphant Singapore women’s squash quartet of (from left) Mah Li Lian, Lina Ong, Josephine Choo and Della Lee showing off their golden haul during the 1993 SEA Games.

CHEF de mission Tan Eng Liang remembers the noise around the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex at the 1993 SEA Games very clearly.

The roaring rendition of Majulah Singapura that greeted then-14-year-old swimming sensation Joscelin Yeo and her record nine gold medals was deafening and carried this clear message to the Team Singapore athletes - we are here and we are behind you.

Such vociferous backing will once again be crucial when the Republic hosts the region's biggest sporting event in June for the first time in 22 years, noted Dr Tan.

The veteran sports administrator, who served as chairman of the Singapore Sports Council (renamed Sport Singapore last year) from 1975 to 1991, will again reprise his role as head of the Republic's contingent.

Now a Singapore National Olympic Council vice-president, he will be joined by former national fencer and ex-Nominated Member of Parliament Nicholas Fang for what is expected to be the country's largest squad to the Games.

Dr Tan told The Straits Times yesterday: "The success in 1993 was built on the passion and commitment of the athletes and officials as well as the tremendous support of the people of Singapore.

"The same ingredients will be needed this time around."

From the old National Stadium and the now-defunct Victor's SuperBowl in Marina South to the Yio Chu Kang Sports Hall, Singaporeans turned up in force to cheer their local sporting heroes who delivered 50 gold medals, still the country's best-ever result at the biennial Games.

"There won't be any problem motivating our athletes. I'm sure they are all aware how important this SEA Games is," noted Dr Tan who competed in water polo at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Home advantage is a double-edged sword though, as it inevitably also brings increased levels of expectation.

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