Team Singapore take to Orchard Road to celebrate 90-day countdown

Painting the town red took a whole new meaning in Orchard Road on Saturday as Team Singapore athletes, volunteers and well-wishers came out in force to showcase their support ahead of the SEA Games.

The largest-ever Team Singapore flag, measuring 10 metres by 7 metres, was passed along the popular shopping district on Pedestrian Night, while the first of 30 Games "Torch Up!" art installations was launched in front of the ION Orchard mall.

Amid the festivities, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong called on the public to get behind Team Singapore as they compete against over 5,000 of the region's best athletes in 36 sports at the June 5-16 Games.

He said: "In 90 days, we will host the SEA Games - the region's most iconic sporting event. The spotlight will be on Singapore, so let us all come together as a nation, as One Team Singapore, to give our athletes the boost to reach their best."

Besides mingling with local athletes like rhythmic gymnast Tong Kah Mun and silat world champion Shakir Juanda, the public were given the chance to experience sports such as football, rugby, basketball and badminton in the middle of Orchard Road.

Tong said: "It was heart-warming to see all these people cheer me on in this demonstration as One Team Singapore, and to do it in the heart of Orchard Road is really amazing! I really feel that such an enthusiastic home ground support will make a significant difference in my performance come June at the SEA Games."

There were also live performances from local artistes such as the Sam Willows and Daphne Khoo, who sang tunes from the Games' official album, Songs of the Games.

Lim Teck Yin, chairman of the Games' organising committee, said: "We are the hosts and we should make all our guests - athletes, officials and friends from the Southeast Asian community feel welcomed. So, let's own the Games and extend the best hospitality to the region."

To engage the regional community, Nila's Quest, a web-based digital game specially created for the upcoming Games, was also launched. Featuring Games mascot Nila, players will follow him on a quest to all 11 Asean countries to collect flames to contribute to the final "Torch Up!" art installation to be unveiled in June.