SINGAPORE - Team Singapore's 90-strong contingent departed for the Kuala Lumpur Asean Para Games (APG) on Wednesday (Sept 13) morning carrying with them a mixture of hope, excitement and nerves.
The Republic will be fielding its largest away contingent for the Games. They will be competing across 11 sports.
The athletes are hoping to improve on their best away showing of 16 golds, 10 silvers and 11 bronze medals won at the inaugural APG, which was also held in Malaysia in 2001.
At the last edition of the APG held on home soil, Singapore finished with 24 golds, 17 silvers and 22 bronzes.
Ahead of their departure at Changi Airport, which was attended by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, Singapore's chef de mission Shirley Low said: "We hope to better the medal haul from the last 2014 (away) Games in Myanmar. Over the last four years, the athletes have proven that they have continued to develop and excel in their respective sports internationally.
"It's not just about the medals, but I hope that each of them can reach their own levels of excellence and improve on their personal bests."
At Myanmar in 2014, Singapore won seven golds, 10 silvers and nine bronzes.
Para-swimmer Theresa Goh, 30, who has competed at every edition of the APG, said: "It feels nostalgic and a bit strange, because I feel like I've come a full circle since the first Games in KL. I vaguely remembered the first APG, but just that I am not clueless when I go there anymore.
"The meets are never the same. I'm excited to go back to the pool at Bukit Jalil and looking forward to see if there will be new faces competing in my class."
Debutant Magesvaran Sangily, 39, is thankful to be given the opportunity to go for the Games. He is part of the CP (cerebral palsy) football team.
Said the father of two children who are one and four: "After having my kids, this is like the next milestone in my life."