Good showing at Asean Para Games

Runners before the Women's 200m final during the 8th Asean Para Games on Dec 4, 2015.
Runners before the Women's 200m final during the 8th Asean Para Games on Dec 4, 2015.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

My friend and I took our children to the Asean Para Games on Tuesday, and I left with my heart full of respect and awe at the tenacity and perseverance of the athletes I witnessed.

I commend the organisers for an event well planned and executed, and I thank the many volunteers who sacrificed their time and energy.

It was humbling and inspiring to witness people with disabilities overcome all odds in order to move their bodies to meet the sporting challenge.

We saw how cerebral palsy boccia players focused and pushed every working muscle they had in order to throw their balls; how swimmers with stumps for arms and withered legs cut through the water with grace and speed; how wheelchair basketball players skilfully dribbled and raced in their wheels across the court; and how table-tennis players strained to catch the ping-pong ball with their bats, even though they were strapped in wheelchairs.

We cheered on table-tennis player Stanley Lim during his game against a Thai opponent.

Even though he lost the game, he told us, when we went to take a photograph with him: "I will come back next time and win."

Every athlete, whether he won or lost the competition, is a winner and a champion in my eyes.

Kudos to the volunteers who helped out at the Games.

Not only were they cheerful when we had queries, but they also went the extra mile to help us - there were so many who approached us voluntarily to ask if we needed directions or whether we wanted to join the guided tour.

I was very impressed by the level of excellence of their service.

The organisers did a fantastic job. We received goodie bags full of snacks and were constantly offered free bottles of mineral water as we walked through the carnival. Clappers and flags were readily given to us (even when we asked for extras).

During intervals, the masters of ceremony entertained the spectators with games and even gave out free gifts.

The entire Sports Hub was buzzing with activity and excitement. I felt so proud, as a Singaporean, that we have such a world-class sporting facility and that we can host international sporting competitions with great aplomb.

I have taken my children to participate in many activities during the holidays, but I must say, this one day spent at the Asean Para Games was the most enjoyable and meaningful of all.

Eileen Ng (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2015, with the headline 'Good showing at Asean Para Games'. Print Edition | Subscribe