KUALA LUMPUR - Following a record-breaking overseas performance by the country's national athletes at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, Team Singapore were given a grade of A- by chef de mission Milan Kwee and his team of officials.
The Republic won 57 gold, 58 silver and 73 bronze medals in Malaysia, surpassing the previous high-water mark from 10 years ago in Korat, Thailand when national athletes brought home 43 golds, 43 silvers and 41 bronzes.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday (Aug 30) to wrap up Singapore's results at the 29th edition of the biennial Games, Kwee said: "It has been a brilliant display by Team Singapore in Kuala Lumpur with debutants punching above their weight, seasoned athletes delivering as expected and surprises in bowling, golf and cycling which gave everyone something to delight in.
"A best away medal haul and the second-best ever performance by Team Singapore at the SEA Games - this is one performance Singaporeans can be proud of."
Singapore had sent its biggest away contingent of 560 national athletes with 303 in their first Games and 71 winning medals.
Overall, they set 15 Games records, 13 Singapore records and achieved 29 personal bests.
A total of 16 sports won golds, the second highest spread in Singapore's history at the Games. In 2015 on home soil, 18 sports accounted for the record 84 golds.
Singapore Sports Institute chief Toh Boon Yi said: "From a sporting Singapore perspective, this is encouraging. We see more and more people participating, putting time and energy in sporting pursuits. Even winter sports we have people taking it up.
"These are good signs that suggest sport is growing in the lives in Singaporeans."
Among the significant breakthroughs were a first men's cycling title in 20 years, a first golf men's team gold in 28 years while figure skaters Yu Shuran and Chloe Ing bagged the nation's first winter sports gold and silver winter sport Games medals.
Winter sports made its debut at the Games with ice hockey, speed skating and figure skating among the 38 sports offered in Malaysia.
Singapore participated in 35, skipping weightlifting, volleyball and sepak takraw.
Hosts Malaysia emerged as overall champions with 145 golds, displacing defending champions Thailand (72 golds). Vietnam were third with 58 titles, one ahead of fourth-placed Singapore. Indonesia, who will host next year's Asian Games, were fifth with 38 golds.
The next SEA Games will be held in the Philippines in 2019.
Kwee said: "Overall, we are pleased with the efforts and performance of Team Singapore and glad that this has been a safe and successful outing.
"While the team did well, there were also improvements to be made and so we feel an A-minus grade is befitting.
"We hope their results at the 29th SEA Games will be an indication of bigger things to come."
The next two major Games are the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia next April and the Asiad four months later in Jakarta and Palembang.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also commended the athletes and supporters in an Instagram post on Wednesday night.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday evening, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin celebrated the Singapore spirit that was on show in the Kuala Lumpur games.
He shared inspiring stories about Singapore athletes, commended the efforts of the coaches and support staff behind the scenes, and Singaporeans who travelled across the Causeway to support the nation's athletes.