Contributed by Lin Kuek
Catholic High, Tuesday, September 21, 2010 — The 19th Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 will see Singapore not only sending its largest-ever contingent comprising 68 athletes and 34 officials, but also a relatively young contingent with 55 debutants and 29 athletes who are aged 21 years and below.
Team Singapore will be represented in 8 out of the 17 sporting events featured at this year’s Games, as well as in three Para-Sports events – Para-Swimming, Para-Athletics and Para-Powerlifting.
A few firsts will be achieved by Team Singapore when Delhi 2010 begins on 3 October 2010. Team Singapore will be fielding women archers for the first time at the Commonwealth Games, in Vanessa Loh, Wendy Tan and Elizabeth Cheok; and in Synchronised Swimming in Gayle Esther Lee. Also for the first time in a major Games, Singapore will be represented in women’s weightlifting through Helena Wong.
Leading the Singapore charge as Chef-de-Mission is Ms Annabel Pennefather, Vice President of the Commonwealth Games Singapore and Singapore’s most prolific female hockey player. Ms Pennefather is a seasoned Chef- de-Mission, having led Team Singapore to sporting glory in four previous major games.
The honour of carrying the Singapore flag this year rests with 2008 Olympics silver medalist, paddler Feng Tian Wei. Tian Wei received the Singapore flag from Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Mr Teo Chee Hean, who is also the President of the Commonwealth Games Singapore at the 19th Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 Flag Presentation ceremony held at Catholic High School today. 2006 Commonwealth Games silver medalist Zhang Jin led the Team Singapore contingent in reciting the National Pledge.
“The Commonwealth Games is an important facet of our sporting history. The story of Singapore’s participation in the Commonwealth Games is a story of perseverance through ups and downs, in 14 editions of the Games so far. I am proud to state that over the last few editions, our progress has been on the up,” said DPM Teo. “To all Team Singapore athletes going to Delhi, thank you for putting in the hard work. Do your best in the true spirit of sportsmanship, and continue to uphold the Team Singapore’s values of pride, performance and perseverance. At all times keep the Singapore flag flying high.”
For the very first time, Team Singapore is sending a representative – Gayle Esther Lee – to compete in the Synchronised Swimming event in the Commonwealth Games. Gayle, who is a student at Stanford University in California, had represented Singapore in the 13th FINA World Championships in July 2010 as well as the Japan and Swiss Open in 2007.
“I love both swimming and artistic gymnastics, so I took up synchronised swimming as it’s a combination of these two sports. It’s a dream come true to represent Singapore for the first time in the Commonwealth Games and I am looking forward to competing against some of the world’s finest synchronised swimmers,” said Gayle.
The Team Singapore contingent includes three young Team Singapore athletes – archers Vanessa Loh and Elizabeth Cheok, as well as swimmer Arren Quek – who just competed at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games.
Singapore’s table tennis team, who accounted for four of the five gold medals achieved by Team Singapore at the last Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, will be looking to continue their golden run in Delhi 2010. Set to make his debut in Delhi 2010 is Singapore Sports School student Pang Xue Jie, who is the youngest on his team at the age of 18.
In addition, 20 Team Singapore shooters have qualified for a variety of events, making the shooters the largest group in the Singapore contingent. The team includes 2009 SEA Games Gold medalists Gai Bin and Jasmine Ser; and multiple SEA Games medalist and Olympian Lee Wung Yew.
Commenting on the contingent, Chef-de-Mission, Ms Pennefather said: “Every athlete in the Singapore contingent should go into the Commonwealth Games wanting to do his or her best. I expect to see performances which demonstrate fighting spirit and are targeted at achieving personal bests. If all our athletes approach their respective competitions with this mindset, for some their very best would translate to personal bests and/or new national records. For others it would mean medals. I also want every Team Singapore athlete to enjoy the Games experience, to learn from it and to be worthy ambassadors of Singapore combining sporting excellence with sportsmanship and discipline.”
Three of the Team Singapore athletes, Theresa Goh, Adam Kamis and James Leow, will be representing Singapore in the Elite Athletes with Disability (EAD) events in New Delhi, taking part in Para-Powerlifting, Para-Athletics and Para-Swimming respectively.
Delhi 2010 will be Adam’s maiden appearance at the Commonwealth Games.
“Running gave me renewed hope after my accident in 2003. In 2008, I started competing professionally and began training with the national team. I am extremely thrilled to have the chance to represent Singapore at this year’s Commonwealth Games, and I will certainly try my best to do my country proud,” said Adam.
To cheer on Team Singapore for the Commonwealth Games and the upcoming Asian Games, the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) has released the second cheer song that represents a unified Singapore voice that will inspire and spur on our national athletes in their quest for medal glory.
“Go! Go! Singapore!!” was officially launched at the Flag Presentation ceremony today. The cheer song was performed by Juz-B, a talented young group that has won the hearts of many in China and Taiwan, and recently bagged the top prize at the 2nd Asian A Cappella Festival/Competition. “Go! Go! Singapore!!” was co-written by Ocean Butterflies, Juz-B and the SSC.
Singaporeans and members of the public who wish to keep abreast of Team Singapore’s performance at the Commonwealth Games can sign up for a free SMS alert service through the Team Singapore website at www.teamsingapore.com.sg.