Speech by President Tony Tan at the Appreciation Reception for Asean Para Games and Special Olympics Athletes/Officials

Ms Grace Fu

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth

Associate Professor Teo-Koh Sock Miang

President of Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) and Special Olympics Singapore

Members of the SDSC and Special Olympics Singapore

Team Singapore athletes and officials

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good afternoon

My wife and I are very happy to host this reception to congratulate all of you for your outstanding achievements at the ASEAN Para Games (APG) and Special Olympics in 2015.

The Games were special for Singapore, having taken place during our Golden Jubilee.  In both Games, you did our nation proud with your courageous and outstanding performances.  Apart from winning medals, you have broken records and achieved personal bests. But the Games were much more than medals and records.  Your participation has enabled us to come together as one nation to celebrate the different abilities of fellow Singaporeans.

Each one of you inspires us with your resilience and tenacity.  You have overcome tremendous challenges in your lives, trained hard with the support of your family, friends and coaches, and won the right to represent Singapore on the international stage.  At the Games, you were always striving for your personal best. 

We saw the pride in you when you stepped onto the arena as our representative.  

Hundreds of thousands came to watch you compete – many more watched online – and I’m sure many were in awe of your fighting spirit.  You defeated opponents who were much stronger than you; you did not give up but fought for every point when the odds were against you; you were gracious when you lost, and showed humility in victory.  

Those are the moments that we will remember for a long time to come.

Through your achievements, the public has come to know more about you, and about disability sport. Other persons with disabilities may also be motivated to overcome the odds, lead active lives, and even represent Singapore one day.

The Games also highlight the need for greater inclusiveness in our society. We have to ensure that no Singaporean is left behind, especially in a society as diverse as ours.  Every individual, regardless of ability, is capable of being extraordinary.  And as a nation, we should provide opportunities for all Singaporeans to pursue their passions, and in turn contribute to the success of Singapore’s future. 

Let me conclude by extending my heartiest congratulations to all of you. You have done Singapore proud and I wish you all the best for your future.

Thank you, and have a wonderful afternoon.