Parliament: MCCY to 'honour and celebrate' Team Singapore athletes

Singapore's Olympians and Paralympians will be invited to the Parliament sitting.
Singapore's Olympians and Paralympians will be invited to the Parliament sitting.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong will move a motion at the upcoming Parliament sitting in October to celebrate the achievements of Singapore's athletes at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In a media statement on Tuesday (Sept 28), his ministry said that the Republic's athletes inspire Singaporeans through sport to strive for excellence, and that "their indomitable spirit to achieve for the nation" unites Singaporeans and instils pride.

The motion reads: "This House congratulates our Team Singapore Olympians and Paralympians, in particular Ms Yip Pin Xiu, our 5-time Paralympic Gold Medallist, for their achievements at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games."

Mr Tong will also speak on how the Government's investment in the high-performance system seeks to support and create opportunities for all Singaporeans who possess the talent and passion to participate in elite-level sports.

Singapore's Olympians and Paralympians, and key representatives and officials who have supported our athletes throughout the Tokyo Games, will be invited to the Parliament sitting.

Promising in a Facebook post that it would be a "special occasion", Mr Tong noted that the pandemic had made preparations for Tokyo challenging.

"Yet, it was evident that such adversity only served to propel them to do even better," he said, noting national records, personal bests and new rankings were set at the Games.

At the July 23-Aug 8 Olympics, 23 Singaporean athletes competed in a record 12 sports, and although none managed a podium finish - the Republic had claimed medals at three consecutive Games prior - there were other highlights.

For example, Yu Mengyu went on an inspired run to the semi-finals of the women's individual table tennis competition, eventually finishing fourth, while sailing pair Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low placed 10th in the women's 49er FX event, becoming the first Singaporean sailors to reach a medal race at the Olympics.

And at the Aug 24-Sept 5 Paralympics, para swimmer Yip was triumphant in the women's 100m and 50m backstroke S2 events, retaining the titles she had won at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016. Yip, 29, had also won the 50m backstroke S3 gold medal at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008.

Her wins stirred a spirited public debate about monetary incentives for medallists at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Each Paralympic gold medal earns its winner a $200,000 reward, which is one-fifth of the payout for an Olympic gold medal.

In an interview with The Straits Times after her wins, Yip and other members of the para sports fraternity called for parity in the amounts of cash incentives for medallists at the Paralympics. This was later echoed by former diplomat Tommy Koh in an opinion piece published in ST.

The topic also evoked a strong response from Singaporeans who shared their views - some opposing the call for equal cash rewards - in the ST Forum page and on social media.