Public urged to cheer on athletes

All Singaporeans - not just the athletes - have a role to play in the SEA Games, said Minister for Manpower and Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin.

He urged the public to rally behind the athletes, echoing what Sport Singapore chief executive Lim Teck Yin had said just days earlier about showing support through the ups and downs.

Said Mr Tan, who is also president of the Singapore National Olympic Council: "The thing about being a die-hard supporter is: Up or down, we must be there to cheer on our athletes in whatever event it is.

"Sometimes the most moving moments are not when they win, but even in defeat or even when they falter, (when) we are there backing them up."

Mr Lim had spoken specifically about the national Under-23 football team, a side that have been criticised recently following poor results. Drawing inspiration, perhaps, from the event at the Sports Hub Library where he helped launch a book that documented inspiring stories of local athletes, Mr Tan noted how challenges, sacrifices and

setbacks athletes face and make often go unnoticed. "I've not met any athlete that is not proud to be competing for Singapore. When we watch from the sidelines, we may have a lot of comments, feel that the performance was not up to the mark or disappointing, but what we don't see is so many hours put in, so much effort not just by the individual but also... many people behind the scenes," he said.

While much has been said about at least repeating Singapore's record haul of 50 gold medals from the 1993 SEA Games, Mr Tan said he has chosen not to focus on a targeted number.

He said: "What's important is, have we prepared as well as we could?

"Let's support (the athletes) as best as we can... and then see where it goes. Hopefully we'll be pleasantly surprised, and I'm sure we will."

This article was first published on April 18, 2015.
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