SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has issued a message of support for Team Singapore's Tokyo-bound athletes and also urged them to do their best "from preparation to competition".
In a Facebook post on Thursday (May 27), he noted that the sporting community is one of the groups hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
He referenced a campaign launched in April by Team Singapore to support the nation's Olympians and Paralympians ahead of both Games, which had been postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He wrote: "Team Singapore launched a campaign to support our athletes as they prepare for the Olympics and Paralympics, which were postponed last year due to COVID-19. Despite the disruptions, they have been training hard and making sacrifices, including deferring their studies.
"To our national athletes, I wish you all the best in Tokyo. Give it your all, from preparation to competition, and continue to fly the flag high!"
The Olympics will begin on July 23 and run till Aug 8, while the Paralympics are from Aug 24-Sept 5.
For the Olympics, the Republic will be sending athletes from at least nine sports to the Japanese capital, including swimmer Joseph Schooling, the defending champion in the 100m butterfly, and Jonathan Chan, the first diver from the country to qualify for the quadrennial Games.
At the last Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016, Singapore had 25 athletes who competed across seven sports.
Chan, 24, remarked that it was nice to see PM Lee throwing his support behind Team Singapore.
"It is definitely nice to know that PM Lee is supporting us and has our back or even has us on his radar," he said. "We are all preparing for the Olympics with the assumption that it is going ahead despite the concerns of the global pandemic so this is a boost for us to know that we are being thought of."
Rower Joan Poh, 30, thanked Mr Lee for showing "his concern towards us athletes especially during such a trying time for many. I am sure the country will do their best to support us , keep us as safe as possible while we play our part to the fullest".