Para Games to spur disability sports

Organisers of the ASEAN Para Games intend to give the local disability sports scene a huge boost.

This is why the Singapore ASEAN Para Games Organising Committee (Sapgoc) announced yesterday afternoon a partnership with Community Chest, the fund-raising arm of National Council of Social Service, at the National Stadium.

The tie-up sees Sapgoc's proceeds from the Games' merchandise sales matched dollar-for-dollar under ComChest's Care and Share movement.

The funds will then be donated to selected voluntary welfare organisations across Singapore.

With greater awareness and excitement levels among the public, this augurs well for Team Singapore during the Dec 3-9 Games and beyond.

The news comes after last August's announcement that Marina Bay Sands had signed on as the official Games' Village.

"What we want to achieve is the involvement in the private and people sector to co-create the Games," said Sapgoc's executive committee chairman Lim Teck Yin, also Sport Singapore CEO.

"This is a celebration for Singapore, of Singaporeans. Our athletes are epitomising that spirit of resilience and ruggedness that (former prime minister) Mr Lee Kuan Yew spoke about when Singapore was newly independent.

"We think that, through the Games, that spirit really shines through and we need a lot of support and participation."

Sapgoc aims to raise $5 million in sponsorship deals, although Lim admitted its target is "as much as we can get".

Traditionally held a few weeks after the SEA Games, Lim also believes that the ASEAN Para Games are now granted a "distinct identity" from its cousin.

"They have their own identity, pride and platform to stand on. Separating it out actually signals to everyone that it is with a different story and cause but still one Team Singapore," he added.

The Republic won seven golds, 10 silvers and nine bronzes at the last Para Games in Myanmar last year, and more than 160 athletes across 15 sports are hoping to compete on home soil this year as possibly the largest-ever contingent.