SINGAPORE — The actions and behaviour of athletes representing Singapore at major Games have an impact not only on the local sports fraternity, but also on the larger community, said Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) president Tan Chuan-Jin on Wednesday (14 September).
Tan - who is the Speaker of the Singapore Parliament - was giving an address at the Major Games Award Programme (MAP) awards presentation ceremony and Team Singapore appreciation dinner at Singapore Expo, where SNOC and Tote Board rewarded 68 athletes with a total of $860,000 for winning medals at this year's SEA Games and Commonwealth Games.
"I just want to remind all athletes and officials that even as we represent Singapore - and I know you do take it very seriously and very passionately - please do remember that we do have shared responsibilities," he said.
"By competing for Singapore, you all are, in many ways, role models. And that's a responsibility that, while we are not perfect, let's endeavour to do the best we can.
"So let’s continue to stick to the goals, focus on your performance, look after your teammates, and be as exemplary as you can."
While Tan did not refer to any incidents in his speech, his comments came after news last month that Olympic gold-medallist swimmer Joseph Schooling and national swimmer Amanda Lim admitted to consuming cannabis, possibly while competing at the SEA Games in May.
The Straits Times reported that the duo's MAP awards have been put on hold.
Athletes lauded for achievements at major Games
There were smiles all around Wednesday's event, as Singapore athletes were lauded for their achievements at the two recent major Games. In total, $495,000 were awarded to the SEA Games medallists and $365,000 to the Commonwealth Games medallists under the MAP.
Singapore sent a 424-strong athlete contingent to take part in 33 sports at the Hanoi SEA Games in May, and came home with a 47-gold, 46-silver and 71-bronze medal haul. Along the way, the athletes broke five Games records, 16 national records and 41 personal-best milestones.
Meanwhile, another 66 athletes took part in nine sports at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in July, and returned with four golds, four silvers and four bronzes. Paddler Feng Tianwei also received the David Dixon award for the most outstanding athlete at the Games, after becoming the Games' most bemedalled table tennis player of all time with 13 medals.
Badminton couple Terry Hee and Jessica Tan could celebrate earning their first MAP award as a mixed-doubles duo, after they clinched a historic gold medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
While Tan admitted that the monetary award would be very helpful for the financial commitments that come with being a recently-married couple, Hee added that they expect their on-court rivals to take them far more seriously, now that they are Commonwealth Games gold-medallists.
"We have already seen that higher-ranked opponents were fully focused and prepared against us at the Badminton World Championships last month, so it is a challenge that we have to take on," he said.
"This is what it is, things will get hard, but it gives us motivation to get better too. I feel that we're already more confident during crucial parts of the match, so I hope we can push on to better results."
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