Effort more important than medals

Former swimmer Mark Chay, chef de mission for the Commonwealth Games, handing the Singapore flag to shooter Teo Shun Xie at a ceremony at Dunman High School yesterday. Observing are Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng (l
Former swimmer Mark Chay, chef de mission for the Commonwealth Games, handing the Singapore flag to shooter Teo Shun Xie at a ceremony at Dunman High School yesterday. Observing are Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng (left) and the Speaker of Parliament and Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin. ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN
(From left) Fong Kay Yian and Ashlee Tan (diving) and Chantal Liew (open water swimming) were presented with their upgraded medals.
(From left) Fong Kay Yian and Ashlee Tan (diving) and Chantal Liew (open water swimming) were presented with their upgraded medals.ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Games CDM Chay urges athletes to perform at their best

For Singapore, with 10 fewer athletes headed for Gold Coast 2018 while some teams are going through a process of rejuvenation, medals would not be the only measure of success at next month's Commonwealth Games.

For chef de mission Mark Chay, he hopes to see the team of 60 perform to their limits in Australia.

"I don't want to put the athletes under undue pressure," the 36-year-old former national swimmer said on the sidelines of the flag handover ceremony yesterday afternoon at Dunman High School.

"I hope to give them every opportunity to succeed. As administrators, our job is to ensure everything is taken care of, so the athletes have nothing to worry about. When that happens, the medals will come.

"Table tennis and shooting have always been sports that we do well in at the Commonwealth Games but the men's table tennis team are rebuilding.

"The beach volleyball and lawn bowls teams will be there for the first time.

"We have a very young contingent but I am looking forward to see how they do, so that we can project future performances."

IN FOR THE LONG HAUL

I don't want to put the athletes under undue pressure... We have a very young contingent but I am looking forward to see how they do, so that we can project future performances.

MARK CHAY, Singapore's chef de mission for the Commonwealth Games, who is keen to see how the younger athletes measure up.

SPECIAL MOMENT

I am very honoured to compete at the Commonwealth Games as it is by invitation only. And this is especially exciting for me as I am already 59. I am ready to do my best when the competition starts.

KALAI VANEN, para-powerlifter and bronze medallist in the 2015 Asean Para Games, on the para-sports programme which is integrated with the Commonwealth Games.

At yesterday's event, shooter Teo Shun Xie was announced as Team Singapore's flag-bearer.

The 29-year-old has fond memories of the previous edition in Glasgow, Scotland, where she won the women's 10m air pistol gold.

She said: "I hope I can repeat that success again on the Gold Coast. I had been training full-time for a year now and it has given me confidence ahead of the competition."

Powerlifter Kalai Vanen, who lost his left leg to cancer 30 years ago, is thrilled to be part of the action, saying: "I am very honoured to compete at the Commonwealth Games as it is by invitation only. And this is especially exciting for me as I am already 59. I am ready to do my best when the competition starts."

A total of 60 athletes, including four para-athletes, will represent Singapore in 12 sports at the April 4-15 Games. In 2014, the Republic sent 70 to Glasgow where they won 17 medals, including eight golds.

Chay will be assisted by former national gymnast Lim Heem Wei, who turns 29 on April 12.

He was handed the national flag by Speaker of Parliament and Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin, before he passed it on to flag-bearer Teo.

Mr Baey Yam Keng, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth, was also present at the ceremony.

Mr Tan said in his speech: "2018 has started out to be a significant and memorable year for Team Singapore. We competed at the Winter Olympic Games for the first time in February, and there are two more major Games - Asian Games and Youth Olympic Games - in our sporting calendar this year.

"I wish all the athletes preparing for these Games all the best."

Owing to doping violations at last year's Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, the trio of swimmer Chantal Liew (10km open water) and divers Ashlee Tan (women's 3m springboard and 3m springboard synchronised) and Fong Kay Yian (3m springboard synchronised) had their medals upgraded.

Yesterday, Mr Tan presented a silver medal to Liew, an individual silver to Ashlee and a gold for the synchronised event with Fong.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2018, with the headline 'Effort more important than medals'. Print Edition | Subscribe