Singapore Government Press Release
Media Division, Ministry of Information, Communications and The Arts,
MITA Building, 140 Hill Street, 2nd Storey, Singapore 179369
SPEECH BY MR ABDULLAH TARMUGI,
MINISTER FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND SPORTS,
AT SSC HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY
ON FRIDAY, 11 JANUARY 2002 AT 8.00 PM,
AT THE FULLERTON HOTEL
RAdm Teo Chee Hean,
President of Singapore National Olympic Council
Minister for Education and 2nd Minister for Defence,
Distinguished Inductees of Singapore�s Sports Hall of Fame,
Ladies and gentlemen,
This evening we honour Singapore�s finest athletes who have earned a place in our national sporting history. They are a special breed of individuals, blessed with exceptional talent, strength and drive to excel. They have given much of themselves to achieve great sporting success and have inspired thousands of young athletes and touched the hearts of Singaporeans.
The late Chua Phung Kim and Tan Ser Cher were pioneers in Singapore sports. They gave Singapore early recognition in international competitions through their achievements in the Commonwealth Games in 1958 and 1963.
Fandi Ahmad captured the hearts and imagination of thousands of Singaporeans with his mastery on the soccer fields and his engaging personality. Sheik Alau�ddin Yacoob Maricar put Singapore on the world map of silat when he established himself as the World Champion, not once but twice. Canagasabai Kunalan set the standard by which athletic excellence is measured when he held the record of Singapore�s fastest man for almost as long as independent Singapore�s history. Their achievements have stirred the public�s imagination. As if these were not good enough, they have continued to contribute to sports and help develop younger athletes. We certainly hope that under your watchful tutelage, young protégés will rise up to fill your very big shoes.
Patricia Chan - our first golden girl of the pool whose achievement as the most bemedalled Singaporean athlete from the SEAP and Asian Games, remains a legend in her own right. Jesmine Ho � our latest golden girl on the lanes, having won the Championship of the World Bowling Masters, has shown us that being the best in the world is not something impossible. Both of you have done our women proud and, perhaps, put some of us men to shame.
These athletes have earned their rightful place in the Hall of Fame. But the Hall would achieve little if it is merely a collection of memories of glory; something for us to celebrate about and reminisce on in future. It gains meaning if it serves to remind and motivate us to strive for excellence and to understand that this can only be achieved through intense effort, commitment, dedication and passion. It becomes meaningful if what is on record in the Hall serves to instil national pride in us.
I know the amount of effort and sacrifices that our top athletes have to make, day in, day out. Often, their families and loved ones too have to accommodate their routine and demands. And I�m sure you are aware of the burst of pride that fills our hearts when our athletes mount the winners� rostrum in the regional or international competitions; or the anguish when our team falls in the hands of another team.
These are among the reasons we are putting more emphasis, attention and resources on sports in Singapore.
Today, the sports environment has become tougher. The last SEA Games gave us an indication of how much our regional competitors have improved and how much we have to catch up. The standards have been raised.
In response, we must spare no effort to support and develop our athletes. The Singapore Sports Council has over the years developed a comprehensive package of support for our athletes, including training assistance, study grants, scholarships and sports medicine and science services. With more resources under our Sporting Singapore blueprint, you can expect this support to increase over the next few years.
To groom top athletes, we must have a strong base. We have therefore decided to create a conducive environment to develop our young budding athletes. The Sports School, scheduled to open in 2004, will be an incubator for our promising young sportsmen and sportswomen. With a high degree of flexibility in the curriculum and a world-class sports training programme, we believe it is a conducive setting for the young school-going athlete to excel in his sport. If we are successful, I envisage, years from now, the top graduates from the Sports School being inducted into our Sports Hall of Fame.
The National Sports Associations (NSAs) form another major area under the Sporting Singapore blueprint. Their effectiveness has a direct bearing on the performance and achievement of our athletes. We are now reviewing how we should support our NSAs and how we can ensure their effectiveness. We would like the NSAs to have long-term plans, good management practices, broad-base development programmes, high-performance athlete management systems as well as international sporting achievements. NSAs who have done well in these areas can expect to receive more support from the SSC. NSAs which are lacking in some of these areas should start addressing them.
While we can provide more support and create more conducive environment, the athlete himself must be highly motivated and want to excel at his sport on the world stage. This is where our great athletes in the Hall of Fame have a role to play. As sports icons, you will become a role model for others after you. You will be a source of inspiration and motivation for young athletes. They will look up to you. Share your experience with them; give them guidance and encouragement for what you share with them may well change the course of our sports development.
Let me conclude by congratulating our inductees. For all those precious moments and timeless memories, we say "thank you" and wish you the very best life can bring. I am proud and honoured to induct you into our Hall of Fame. I wish everyone a pleasant evening.