Asean Para Games: Praise for athletes in closing ceremony at Marina Bay Sands

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Asean Para Games closing ceremony.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Asean Para Games closing ceremony. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
The ASEAN Para Games flag is passed on to Malaysia.
The ASEAN Para Games flag is passed on to Malaysia.PHOTO: STSPORTSDESK/TWITTER
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) and Minister Grace Fu (right) pose for a photo at the Asean Para Games closing ceremony.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) and Minister Grace Fu (right) pose for a photo at the Asean Para Games closing ceremony.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - The 8th Asean Para Games, the first edition to be held in Singapore, drew to a close on Wednesday night with the dousing of the Games' cauldron at Marina Bay Sands.

In a closed-door ceremony held in the Sands Grand Ballroom, athletes and officials celebrated a successful Games that saw Thailand regain top spot in the medal table with 95 golds, 76 silvers and 79 bronzes. The event was attended by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister of Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.

Team Singapore also did well as hosts, with their best-ever haul of 24 golds surpassing the 16 won during the inaugural Games in 2001. Swimmer Theresa Goh, with five golds from seven events, was the Republic's top-performing athlete.

In her address, Ms Fu made special mention of national swimmer Yip Pin Xiu, who broke the world record for the women's 50m backstroke (S2) while taking gold in an event three classes higher. She also noted the performance of Malaysian swimmer Yeo Yi Lin, who persevered to finish her event despite feeling off colour.

There was also mention of table tennis player Jason Chee, who led Singapore to a team gold three years after his accident in the navy.

"Their fighting spirit epitomises the values of the APG," she said, while also thanking volunteers for giving their time and effort to help make the Games a smooth and successful one.

Said Ms Fu: "It has been Singapore's honour to host this Games. It has truly been our privilege to be touched and inspired by the courage and determination of our athletes."

She also noted a letter in The Straits Times' forum on Wednesday by Mr S. B. Sivaganesh, which said: "Our children need to see our athletes' endeavours and performances, hear their stories and understand the true human spirit that transcends disability."

Added Ms Fu: "This is indeed the legacy of the APG that you have left behind."

In a Facebook post, President Tony Tan Keng Yam praised the athletes as well as all who made the Games a success.

He wrote: "As the 8th ASEAN Para Games conclude tonight, I would like to congratulate all the para athletes on overcoming their challenges to compete in the Games. All the participants have done their families and their countries proud. They are role models on how we should focus on what we can do to be the best that we can be regardless of circumstances.

"I would also like to thank the organisers, officials and many volunteers who have given of their time and energy to make the games a success. Well done everyone!"

To symbolise the passing on of hosting rights to Malaysia, Ms Fu handed the Asean Para Sports Federation (APSF) flag to outgoing president Zainal Abu Zarin, who handed it to Malaysia's deputy Youth and Sports minister M. Saravanan.

The next Games will be held in Kuala Lumpur in 2017.