Tokyo 2020

'Thank you, Team S'pore'

PM Lee encourages athletes to learn from the experience and strive to improve

Mr Lee Hsien Loong noted that divers Jonathan Chan (left) and Freida Lim were trailblazers as the country's first Olympic divers. Singapore was also represented for the first time in equestrian (Caroline Chew) and marathon swimming (Chantal Liew).
Mr Lee Hsien Loong noted that divers Jonathan Chan (left) and Freida Lim were trailblazers as the country's first Olympic divers. Singapore was also represented for the first time in equestrian (Caroline Chew) and marathon swimming (Chantal Liew).ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Mr Lee Hsien Loong noted that divers Jonathan Chan (left) and Freida Lim were trailblazers as the country's first Olympic divers. Singapore was also represented for the first time in equestrian (Caroline Chew) and marathon swimming (Chantal Liew).
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed the Republic's national athletes in a Facebook post yesterday, thanking them for representing Singapore 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 yesterday.

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 the country's first Olympic divers.

Singapore's 23 athletes competed the Tokyo Games across a record 12 sports, and took part in three - diving, equestrian and marathon swimming - for the first time.

This progress was noted by Mr Lee, who said "it is heartening to see Singapore represented in more types of sports".

The bulk of the contingent - 17 athletes - was making its 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 local sailors to qualify for a medal race at the Games. They eventually finished 10th of 21 overall, which was Singapore's best sailing result at the Olympics.

Table tennis player Yu Mengyu also reached new heights in her career, making the third-place play-off.

While there are no national records or personal bests in marathon swimming owing to the unpredictability of conditions, Chantal Liew also impressed, clocking 2hr 8min 17.9sec - her fastest 10km race.

But there was also disappointment, with Singapore 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 of the three 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."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2021, with the headline ''Thank you, Team S'pore''. Subscribe