The Sunday Times says

Root for Spore's para athletes

Asean Para Games organisers should be lauded for championing a spirit of inclusiveness, given the differential treatment of those with disabilities in many societies and the considerable empathy deficit that still exists. Instead, they were flamed for an "inclusive" transport plan that will require para athletes to take the train when heading for competitions.

The ends are spot-on (promoting social mixing and visibility) but the means are somewhat off-target (making the Circle Line "the primary mode of transport" for disabled athletes). It's not train breakdowns and station blackouts that make people baulk at the idea but a comparison with athletes in general who are ferried privately when representing their nation - for example, to reduce any anxiety over being late for an event. Hence, even the fact that there are only two stops between the Games Village and the Sports Hub doesn't seem to cut much ice with detractors.

Ironically, the less than popular train plan did wind up nudging a good number of Singaporeans to rally behind para athletes. Every little step towards developing sports without boundaries helps to close the wide gulf between those participating in mainstream events and others gamely taking part in disability sporting challenges.

Garnering popular support for the Asean Para Games is too important to be left to chance. The Games will wrap up the zesty SG50 celebrations; a record number of para athletes will be flying the flag for the nation; and the over 2,000 athletes and officials to be hosted here should be shown just what inclusive sports means to Singaporeans. These are reasons enough for the Kallang roar to rise to a crescendo at the end of the year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 18, 2015, with the headline 'Root for Spore's para athletes'. Print Edition | Subscribe