GOLD COAST - The bulk of Team Singapore's contingent of 60 athletes have arrived in Australia for the 21st Commonwealth Games and took part in Monday's (April 2) welcome and flag-raising ceremony at the Games Village.
Led by chef de mission Mark Chay, the Republic's athletes joined representatives from Cook Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jersey and Solomon Islands and were entertained by cultural dances and live music.
For beach volleyball players Lau Ee Shan and Ong Wei Yu, who are competing in their first major Games with the sport making its debut at these Games, it has been an eye-opening experience so far on the Gold Coast.
The 23-year-old Ong said: "We really didn't know what to expect. This is the first time we are staying in a village but it has been so fun. The atmosphere is relaxed and you meet so many different athletes, from different sports."
She and Lau bumped into Canadian pairing and world No. 1 Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, while Singapore shooter Martina Veloso caught a glimpse of England's diving world champion Tom Daley and was star-struck.
The 18-year-old Veloso said: "I've seen him three times but haven't had the chance to take a selfie with him.I will before I leave Australia."
The serious business of medals and personal bests starts on Thursday, a day after the opening ceremony.
Singapore won eight gold, five silver and four bronze medals at the last Games in Glasgow in 2014. The golds came from shooting (two) and table tennis (six) and both sports are expected to shoulder the burden of winning titles again in Australia.
But that does not mean there is less pressure on the rest of Team Singapore. Swimmer Darren Lim, who will race in the 50m and 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly, said he was aiming to make the finals and also notch PBs.
The 19-year-old said: "My stroke and technique have improved and I feel like I'm improving in the right direction."