Team Singapore's home away from home

Team Singapore's home away from home
Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong (centre) visiting a room in Team Singapore’s quarters.

IN THE same way that Myanmar's capital city of Naypyidaw is sprawled out over lush greenery, the SEA Games' Athletes Village is also a collection of two-storey blocks dotted sparsely over an expansive countryside.

While some Games villages comprise densely-packed flats that resemble Singapore's condominiums, like that at last year's London Olympics, this version is grouped into 10 clusters of blocks flung out across a hilly terrain.

A three-minute shuttle bus ride takes one from the main gate to the cluster where Team Singapore are staying.

The athletes are housed in five blocks of eight rooms, with each room containing six beds. The beds are occupied on a rotational basis since some athletes compete earlier and depart by the time the later batch arrives.

There were few complaints from the athletes when Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong paid them a visit on Friday , chatting and eating with them at the cluster's dining hall.

Discus king James Wong said he would have preferred a big dining hall for all the Games' athletes to mingle in, instead of having their meals within their own clusters.

"Minor quibble. What's important is that our rooms are comfortable, and we are not distracted from our preparations," he said.

Mr Wong praised the athletes' positive spirit as they pit themselves against the region's best sportsmen.

He said: "I've watched quite a few competitions in the past few days. There have been ups and downs - of course some could have done better, but others have surpassed themselves. What's important is that they competed in the right spirit.

"This is the first time I'm attending the SEA Games live, and I'm impressed by the warmth of the Myanmar people. It's something we must learn as we prepare to host the next SEA Games."

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