SINGAPORE - The Singapore Asean Para Games (APG) took centre stage in the heart of the city on Saturday as a host of activities were held at the Marina Bay Promenade, including a mass rally to galvanise public support for the Dec 3-9 sports meet.
Hundreds of local able-bodied and para athletes gathered to witness the ceremonial lighting of the APG flame as well as the official Team Singapore flag presentation, which was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.
Said Ms Fu: "Let us come together as one for Team Singapore in the forthcoming Asean Para Games.
"Through the Games, we hope that more Singaporeans of different abilities will realise their potential, participate in sport and lead active and healthy lives.
"Our athletes have been training very hard, and we need everyone to rally behind them. Your support will make a difference."
The carnival at Marina Bay included live performances, demonstrations of selected para sports and the Singapore Disability Sports Council's Reindeer Walk-a-Wheelathon, an annual 2km walk to promote an active and healthy lifestyle and an inclusive society.
Swimmer Yip Pin Xiu, the Republic's first Paralympic champion, was unveiled as the country's official flag bearer for the APG and received the national flag from chef de mission Raja Singh. Para bowler Thomas Yong was the official pledge taker.
Said Yip: "It is a great honour... as this is the first time that we are competing at this level on home ground. It is also going to be the first time that most Singaporeans can get to experience a para Games.
"All of us are training hard and we hope to see Singapore get behind us, dressed up in red to support us at the games and beyond."
Hosted in Singapore for the first time, at a cost of $75 million, the eighth APG will see 3,000 athletes and officials from 11 participating countries. Entry is free to all events.
Singapore will be represented by 157 athletes, with more than 60 per cent of them debutants. The country's best showing was at the inaugural 2001 edition in Kuala Lumpur where it won 16 golds, 10 silvers and 11 bronzes.
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