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'Be proud of yourself': President Halimah congratulates Singapore athletes after Tokyo Olympics

'Be proud of yourself': President Halimah congratulates Singapore athletes after Tokyo Olympics

The Singapore contingent walks during the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony on Jul 23, 2021. (Photo: Kong Chong Yew/SNOC)

SINGAPORE: President Halimah Yacob praised the efforts of Team Singapore athletes at the Tokyo Olympic Games during a virtual engagement session on Thursday (Aug 12), noting that they should be proud of themselves regardless of the results they have achieved.

In the engagement session attended by 15 athletes including swimmer Joseph Schooling and table tennis player Yu Mengyu, Mdm Halimah noted that there were "no shortcuts" to becoming an Olympian and the athletes had put in an "incredible amount of hard work and sacrifice" to accomplish that feat.

Also in attendance were Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong, Games chef de mission Ben Tan and Sport Singapore chief Lim Teck Yin among others.

"The sheer effort and determination that you have taken to reach this stage, especially with the disruptions and uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, is tremendous," said Mdm Halimah.

"You can be proud of yourself, regardless of what results you have achieved and what others say, and we are proud of you too."

Congratulating the athletes, Mdm Halimah noted that representing Singapore at the Olympics was a "remarkable achievement". "To compete on this world stage is a feat that most people can only dream of," she added.

IGNORE THE HARSH WORDS

Mdm Halimah also urged the athletes not to pay attention to some "harsh words" that were written online.

"Emotions run high in sports, including from fans and spectators. It is one of the many aspects of sports that captivates. During this period, every social media post and media coverage got thousands of people supporting and appreciating your efforts, and many stand inspired by you," she said.

"As part of receiving diverse opinions in a public space, some may have questioned your abilities or dedication. A few may have made even hateful comments. Rather than paying attention to them, I urge you to take a step back and be assured that no one can take away your dedication to excellence. Ignore those harsh words and use that energy to spur you on to your next goal instead."

She noted that each of Singapore's athletes has been an "inspiration". 

"When you competed in the Games over the past few weeks, many of us back home were glued to the TV to witness your exhibition of skill and passion on the world stage. I am sure that many young Singaporeans were inspired by you," said Mdm Halimah.

Mdm Halimah also thanked every person who have worked behind the scenes to support the country's athletes.

"An old proverb says it takes a village to raise a child. I think it goes without saying that it will take more than a village to raise a child to be an Olympian," she said.

"Stakeholders from across the sporting ecosystem will have to continue working hard to create an environment where our athletes can thrive, and our future athletes can be nurtured. As Olympians, I hope that you will use your experience and knowledge in this regard, and give back to the fraternity, so that we can build a better sporting nation."

Team Singapore sent 23 athletes across 12 sports to the Tokyo Olympics, of which 17 made their Games debut.

"For many of you, this was your first appearance at an Olympics. It must have been quite an experience, and one that I am sure will fuel your aspirations towards achieving greater heights of sporting excellence and returning to this global stage in the future," said Mdm Halimah.

"Be it in Paris 2024, LA28, Brisbane 2032, and everything in between, we are all behind you as OneTeamSG."

Source: CNA/mt(ta)

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