Golden sub-51sec feat a fitting 51st birthday gift for S'pore

Singapore has won its first Olympic gold ("Historic moment for Schooling, historic moment for Singapore"; Aug 14).

It had eluded us for the longest time. There were moments when we were close, but just a tad short of being the best.

Isn't it a great coincidence? The nation barely celebrated its 51st birthday, then Joseph Schooling, our golden boy in swimming, turned in a sub-51-second feat in his pet 100m butterfly event - and broke an Olympic record. It was truly a historic moment.

From this point on, there is no turning back. The imagery of standing on top of the podium while our flag is raised and the National Anthem played is no longer a dream.

Once the limit is breached, it will only usher in a deluge of more successes in sports. It will motivate more athletes here to push themselves harder. They, too, could be next to take the stand.

We should all remember this day. We all have reason to be proud of what this little red dot is capable of.

Human ingenuity and tenacity can overcome all limitations. We, too, can live and deliver the true Olympic spirit. New records remain to be broken and no sportsman or sportswoman is precluded from taking part in that.

We may be small as a country, but we have transcended that by trying harder, keeping at it longer and not stopping until we get there.

Our Olympic athletes should all be recognised for their efforts for having come this far. They have done us proud. They are the select few among us who have persisted in sweat and tears. There must have been moments of anguish and trepidation, even self-doubt, in staying the course.

But there must be moments when all that is washed away, when one has prevailed and won.

For those of us who watch from the sidelines, we applaud them for giving their best.

Majulah Singapura!

Lee Teck Chuan