SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed Singapore's national athletes in a Facebook post on Friday (Aug 6), thanking them for representing the country at the Tokyo Olympics.
His remarks came as Team Singapore's participation drew to a close, with diver Jonathan Chan the last athlete in action in the men's 10m platform event on Friday (Aug 6).
Mr Lee wrote: "Just to qualify for the Olympics is no simple feat. To Jonathan and the rest of our athletes, know that you are counted among the best in the world, and Singapore will always cheer you on. Thank you for flying the Singapore flag high!"
He noted that Chan and fellow diver Freida Lim were trailblazers as Singapore's first Olympic divers. Singapore has 23 athletes at the Tokyo Games, across a record 12 sports, and was represented in three - diving, equestrian and marathon swimming - for the first time.
This progress was noted by Mr Lee, who said that "it is heartening to see Singapore represented in more types of sports".
Most members of the contingent, 17, were making their first appearance at an Olympics.
In terms of performance, women's 49er FX sailors Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low made history by becoming the first Singapore sailors to qualify for a medal race at the Games. They eventually finished 10th of 21 overall.
Table tennis player Yu Mengyu also reached new heights in her career, making the bronze medal play-off.
While there were no national records or personal bests in marathon swimming owing to the unpredictability of conditions, Chantal Liew also impressed, clocking 2hr 8min 17.9sec, the fastest time she had ever taken to cover the 10km distance.
But there was also disappointment with the Singapore team returning without a medal for the first time since the 2004 Athens Games.
The contingent's highest-profile athletes, the swimming team led by 2016 Olympic champion Joseph Schooling, also did not perform to their potential, with none making it out of the heats.
But Mr Lee encouraged the contingent to learn from the experience and strive to improve.
He said: "Some of you may be disappointed with your results, but may the experience inspire you to strive to improve, and to be faster, higher and stronger."