SINGAPORE - The 9th Asean Schools Games (ASG) drew to a close on Thursday (July 20) as Singapore handed over the Games' hosting rights to Malaysia during the closing ceremony at Universal Studios Singapore.
There, Senior Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary handed the Asean Schools Sports Council flag to Zainal Abas, deputy director of the sports division at Malaysia's Ministry of Education.
The closing ceremony followed five days of sporting competition from July 15-19, where student-athletes from the 10 Asean member nations competed against one another.
Dr Janil said: "Student-athletes and educators play a very important part in bringing Asean a little bit closer together. We are friends from across many oceans, and the competitions in the last few days have only made these friendships stronger.
"I hope you will find ways to stay in touch with the new friends whom you have made."
ASG organising committee chairman Tan Chen Kee said she was "heartened to see so many Asean friendships being rekindled and strengthened, and many new friendships being made".
Tan, who is also the Ministry of Education's divisional director of the student development curriculum division, added: "Through the 9th ASG, student-athletes not only had the opportunity to hone their sporting talents, (but) they also gained greater cultural awareness of their Asean neighbours."
Singapore's chef de mission Tan Teck Hock, who is also principal of the Singapore Sports School, commended the hosts' contingent.
"They came together to compete as one Singapore schools sports team, often with team-mates whom they were initially unfamiliar with," he said. "The development of a stronger character and the ability to work well in teams will put them in a good stead in their sporting careers and in life."
About 1,650 student-athletes and officials were involved in the July 14-20 ASG.
Singapore bagged 24 golds, 27 silvers and 27 bronzes. The Republic was third in the overall medal table, behind leaders Thailand (29 golds, 26 silvers, 32 bronzes) and Indonesia (25-33-29).