Summer Special Olympics for Salbiah this time

Table-tennis player Nor Safik Nor Mohd Bahtiar waves the national flag at a send-off ceremony attended by Minister of State Sam Tan.
Table-tennis player Nor Safik Nor Mohd Bahtiar waves the national flag at a send-off ceremony attended by Minister of State Sam Tan.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

It is a dream for any athlete to represent Singapore and Salbiah Zakaria has had that opportunity not once, not twice, but thrice - and each time in a different capacity.

In 2013, she competed in athletics at the Asean Para Games in Myanmar. That same year, she was also a speed skater at the Special Olympics Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

And in two weeks, she can check off the Special Olympics Summer Games in Los Angeles, where she will compete in women's football.

Salbiah, 20, is one of 33 athletes in Team Singapore's Games contingent who had an official send-off yesterday at St Nicholas Girls' School. Mr Sam Tan, Minister of State, Prime Minister's Office and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, presented them with the state flag.

Salbiah, a striker, said: "We have been training for a year.

"Hopefully, we can bring a medal back for Singapore."

Mr Tan said: "The Special Olympics are for athletes with intellectual disabilities and, in Singapore, we believe in total inclusion.

"I will be flying to L.A. to support our athletes, to let them know that they have their nation's support behind them."

At the Games from July 25 to Aug 2, Singapore will contest seven sports - athletics, badminton, bocce, bowling, football, swimming and table tennis. It will be the first time the Republic are competing in table tennis and women's football.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 12, 2015, with the headline 'Summer Special Olympics for Salbiah this time'. Print Edition | Subscribe