Asean Para Games: 24 golds for Singapore, and a lasting legacy

The flags of the 10 competing Asean nations being displayed during the closing ceremony of the 8th Asean Para Games last night. Close to 100,000 spectators attended the week-long event hosted by Singapore, which achieved a record haul of 24 golds.
The flags of the 10 competing Asean nations being displayed during the closing ceremony of the 8th Asean Para Games last night. Close to 100,000 spectators attended the week-long event hosted by Singapore, which achieved a record haul of 24 golds.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The first Asean Para Games (APG) held in Singapore drew to a close yesterday but is expected to leave a legacy that lasts beyond last night's closing celebrations.

With close to 100,000 spectators attending the week-long event, the 8th APG showcased the athletic skills of people with disabilities to a wider public and in doing so, altered perceptions.

Success for Singapore came on several fronts. This was the Republic's best showing at the Games, with a record 24 golds to surpass the 16-gold haul from 2001.

Organisers will hope it has also paved the way for a more inclusive Singaporean society.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the guest of honour at the closing ceremony at Marina Bay Sands, said: "All of you have done your best. I congratulate you for your efforts. I hope you've made new friends and you'll take away good memories."

He was joined by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu at the Sands Grand Ballroom.

Thailand were crowned overall champions again with 95 golds, with Indonesia second wth 81 golds.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam wrote in a Facebook post yesterday: "They (the para-athletes) are role models on how we should focus on what we can do to be the best that we can be regardless of circumstances."

Kuala Lumpur, which staged the 2001 and 2009 editions, will host the next APG in 2017.

Jonathan Wong

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2015, with the headline '24 golds and a lasting legacy'. Print Edition | Subscribe