Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC show appreciation of athletes' families at luncheon

On the piste, epee fencer Cheryl Lim has her duelling sword, plastron and mask to protect her during bouts.

Off it, she relies on a group of people who have supported her passion for the sport since she was 15 years old.

Family, for the 22-year-old Lim, is what helped her get this far in fencing.

As she gears up for the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games here from June 5-16, Lim took time out from her rigorous training schedule to take her family to an athletes' luncheon at the Pasir Ris Sports Centre yesterday.

The event was in tribute to Team Singapore athletes and their families, who are residents of Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, and was graced by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is the grassroots adviser to the area.

Last month, Pasir Ris-Punggol was the first heartland estate to launch the "Paint the Town Red" movement that saw housing estates and community spaces dressed in the red of Team Singapore.

Lim was among 10 other athletes from silat, basketball and sailing, who attended the event.

"Sports is not something you can do easily by yourself; family support is very important for us athletes," Lim said as she introduced her accompanying family - her parents, two brothers and two cousins - to the media.

"Whenever I have a tough match or lose a competition, they are always there to pick me up and encourage me forward.

"It's been that way since my first fencing competition when I was 15.

"Regardless of how late I return from training or competition, my dad will always be there to pick me up from wherever I am."


Lim, who will compete in the individual epee and team epee events, is one of Singapore's medal hopefuls in the sport, which will run from June 3 to 7 at the OCBC Arena Hall 2.

The Republic Polytechnic graduate, who finished sixth at last year's Asian Games and has been training full-time since obtaining her diploma last June, said she is ready for her debut at the biennial event.

"Training has been good. We've had two overseas training competitions since the start of the year, in Hong Kong and South Korea," she said.

"The coming week will see the final leg of preparation. We're prepared and we'll do our best. Fencing in south-east Asia is not weak, and Indonesia and Vietnam are our main rivals.

"We just have to go in with our best form and see what happens."

At the start of yesterday's luncheon, Mr Teo gave some words of encouragement to the athletes and their families, emphasising the need for support of Team Singapore during the Games.

"This was a good occasion to meet with athletes of the Pasir Ris-Punggol area. We also invited them to a kindergarten's sports day event," said Mr Teo.

"I had two purposes for the event. One was that I hope the athletes motivate the kindergarten kids so that when they grow up, hopefully they can represent Singapore as well.

"And also, for the athletes to know that we are behind them all the way at the SEA Games."

This article was first published on May 25, 2015.
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