Team Singapore's athletes have met expectations at SEA Games, athletics singled out for praise
SINGAPORE: Team Singapore's athletes have done well at the 31st SEA Games and met the expectations set for them, said Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) chief Su Chun Wei on Sunday (May 22).
Speaking at a wrap-up press conference for the regional meet, Dr Su said that Team Singapore can be "very proud" of their achievements at the Games.
"We have set ourselves expectations internally (for Team Singapore) that we hold ... We have achieved that at the first instance," he told reporters.
"We are proud of what they have achieved. We want Team Singapore to not be satisfied with whatever achievements, but to always aim to do better," he added.
As of Sunday, Team Singapore has a total haul of 47 gold, 44 silver, 70 bronze medals. A total of 61 out of the 161 medals were clinched by SEA Games debutants.
There were also five Games records, 12 national records and 34 personal best performances at the Games, said the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) in a press release.
"Gold medals, silver medals and bronze medals are all very important measures of success. And we'll continue to encourage and spur our Team Singapore on to bring back the medals. As a process, we believe they will and we have demonstrated we can," said Dr Su.
"But it is the stories behind each of these athletes' journey and their determination to excel that truly inspire us as one Team Singapore ... We need this inspiration to keep the passion and the determination going.
"So I want to say that success goes beyond the medals and more importantly, I hope that all Singaporeans can continue to rally behind and resonate with what Team Singapore personifies as values."
Singapore's athletics team was singled out for praise.
They ended the Games with one gold, three silver and seven bronze medals. Five national records were set and eight personal best performances were recorded. This is the sport’s best performance since 1993.
"They have demonstrated a great turnaround from previous editions and demonstrated an exciting new era and we hope to see that they've improved from strength to strength," said Dr Su. "And this is something that we will watch very carefully."
SNOC secretary-general Chris Chan said he was "delighted" with the showing of the athletics team, adding that he hoped it would be the spark that spurs interest among young athletes beyond the school level.
"This showing is very encouraging," he added.
At the last edition of the Games, Singapore’s athletics contingent did not win a gold or silver medal, and bagged three bronze medals.
Other sports highlighted for their good showings included swimming, pencak silat, fencing, wushu, and bowling.
On the other hand, there were other sports that will "require reflection" where they can do better, said Dr Su. These sports include volleyball, basketball, handball and rowing.
"Some of these sports have come, they have tried their best but they've fallen short," he said.
"I think they have a lot to reflect, a lot to go back, regroup and determine to do very much better. And so we are committed to work with them to make sure that the only way up is the trajectory that we aim for them.
"We encourage them, but we want them to be able to do this in a very honest way and to reflect to do better."
Dr Su noted that the outcome of the men's football team was not what was "envisioned" – the team has not made the semi-finals of the Games since 2013.
"We could have done better in the beginning, but I think as the competition went, we have witnessed how the Lions have shown the determination to do their best," he said.