SINGAPORE - Minister for Social and Family Development (MSF) Tan Chuan-Jin visited various para-athletes on Tuesday night in a show of support ahead of the Asean Para Games (APG).
He met members of the track and field team at the Kallang Practice Track and listened as they gave him feedback about the training leading up to the Dec 3-9 Games on home soil.
He then spoke to the para-table tennis team who were training across the road at the Singapore Sports Institute, before sitting in for a gym session involving the national goalball team.
Said Mr Tan: "They are very much like every other able-bodied athlete, putting in a lot of dedication, a lot of hard work we do not see... They are all representing Singapore and flying the flag...
"In some ways you could say they face even more challenges than able-bodied athletes but the determination and drive they have is something we can all emulate and learn from."
Singapore is hosting the APG for the first time. The 8th edition of the Games will feature 3,000 athletes and officials from 11 participating nations, competing in 15 sports.
The Republic is sending its biggest-ever contingent of 160 para-athletes, with more than 60 per cent of them debutants, as it aims to better the country's best showing of 16 golds, 10 silvers and 11 bronzes at the inaugural edition in Kuala Lumpur in 2001.
Said Tan Beng Leong, 53, who will compete in the Class 1 division of table tennis: "I'm aiming for a gold medal. I feel proud competing in front of a home crowd because this will be the first time my family will see me play."