SEA Games: Extra special sixth for Ser

Taking the pledge at the SEA Games flag presentation ceremony yesterday were (from left) para athlete Suhairi Suhani, flag-bearer for the Asean Para Games, APG paddler Aaron Yeo and Jasmine Ser, flag-bearer for the SEA Games.
Taking the pledge at the SEA Games flag presentation ceremony yesterday were (from left) para athlete Suhairi Suhani, flag-bearer for the Asean Para Games, APG paddler Aaron Yeo and Jasmine Ser, flag-bearer for the SEA Games.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Shooting star will be flag-bearer for biggest Team Singapore for away SEA Games

At just 26 years old, she is already a veteran of five SEA Games, with multiple medals from the biennial regional meet.

But, for Jasmine Ser, her sixth SEA Games outing next month in Kuala Lumpur will be extra special.

The shooter will be front and centre of the Team Singapore contingent as the flag-bearer during the opening ceremony.

Filled with pride, Ser and para sprinter Suhairi Suhani received the national flags from their respective chefs de mission - Milan Kwee (SEA Games) and Shirley Low (Asean Para Games) - in a ceremony at the Sports Hub's OCBC Square yesterday morning.

Said the shooter: "I will give my utmost best in representing Team Singapore and I would like to support every one going for the Games. I hope they could enjoy the Games, give their best and not worry about anything else.

"Personally, I love my sport, I love every shot that I shoot in every competition to bring out the passion that I give, and I want to make sure that I give my best from the first shot to the last shot."

Similarly, the cheerful and affable Suhairi could not hide his delight, calling his duty as a flag- bearer as "a remarkable honour".

The 20-year-old added: "Being given the opportunity to push myself to do better each time when facing some of the best athletes in the region is priceless."

Both contingents will be the largest sent by Singapore for away Games. The SEA Games contingent for KL eclipses the 422 that represented the nation at the 1997 Jakarta Games, while the 94 para-athletes for the APG is almost double the 57 that took part in the 2008 edition in Thailand's Nakhon Ratchasima.

SEA Games chef de mission Kwee said there is no medal target, even though expectations are high after the Republic stormed to a record 84 golds in the 2015 edition on home soil.

The 70-year-old is convinced Team Singapore will deliver, saying: "The athletes are mentally prepared for the SEA Games and I don't forsee any problems. I have been watching them train and have spoken to them. I am confident."

For the athletes competing in national colours, they are eager to improve on previous showings.

Para table tennis player Aaron Yeo, 38, who will be at his second Games, said: "I hope to do better than the last APG, when I got a silver in the men's singles. This year, hopefully I have a good chance of getting a gold.

"For the team event, we hope to match our achievement at the last Games (Singapore won gold).

"I've competed in many countries like Belgium, Taiwan and Thailand. It will not feel unusual for the team, even though it was be an away Games."

Billiards ace Peter Gilchrist, who is a world champion and proud owner of three SEA Games singles golds, the doubles gold has always eluded him at Asean level.

But the England-born player is determined to fill that empty slot in his cabinet in Kuala Lumpur.

He said: "It will be nice to win two gold medals (for men's billiards singles and doubles). My partner Glenn Yeo has been playing well and he has improved a lot since last year.

"Training has been going good, there's no reason why we shouldn't put up a really good show. With a bit of luck, we have a chance of getting the gold.

"Preparations have been all good. We have been training on the tables that will be supplied at the SEA Games, so the conditions (in Kuala Lumpur) shouldn't be a problem."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 23, 2017, with the headline 'Extra special sixth for Ser'. Print Edition | Subscribe