Monday, 28 September 2015

Singapore sets aside S$75 million to host ASEAN Para Games 2015

Govt wants to use event to boost disability sports culture in Singapore
By Adelene Wong, TODAY, 27 Sep 2015

Some S$75 million has been set aside for the hosting of the ASEAN Para Games (APG) in Singapore (Dec 3-9) which the Government hopes will be a catalyst to help transform and strengthen the culture for disability sports here.

This was revealed by Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong today (Sept 27) at an event to promote the biennial multi-sport regional games for disabled athletes.

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Speaking at the Unified Football Tournament held at Toa Payoh HDB Hub today, which saw Singapore football legends and school students playing seven-a-side football with Team Singapore cerebral palsy footballers, Wong said that Singapore will be ready to host the APG for the first time come December.

“We have set aside something close to S$75 million for this Para Games. All the detailed plans are in place, so we are just finalising the details, and we will be ready in December,” he told reporters on the sidelines. “Preparations are all in the final stages. Most of the technical details are being taken care of. We have been talking to all the different countries.”

Around 3,000 athletes and officials from 11 countries will be taking part in the APG, which will be the second major regional Games that Singapore is hosting in its Golden Jubilee year.

In June, the Republic hosted the South-east Asian Games for the first time since 1993. The Games, which cost S$324.5 million, featured 4,370 athletes from the region competing in 402 events in 36 sports.

This December’s APG will feature 15 sports. The list includes traditional sports such as swimming and athletics and four new ones — badminton, bowling, sailing and shooting. Singapore will be competing in all 15 sports.

Although Singapore’s contingent of 166 is almost five times smaller than the 747-strong army it sent to June’s SEA Games, it will be the Republic’s largest yet at the APG. About 60 per cent will be making their APG debuts.

“In terms of athlete preparations, I think they are all training very hard,” said Wong. “(For) some of them, (it will be their) first-time participating, so they are excited, maybe a bit nervous. But certainly, they are all training very hard.”

The Minister said that more community engagement activities will be held over the next few weeks leading up to the APG. He is also hoping that Singapore’s hosting of the event will be a game-changer for disability sports in Singapore.

“It is really a big push by us to get as many people to participate as possible. In fact, (for) some of the sports, we didn’t even have a team a year ago,” he said. “We are doing this not just because of the Games, but (because) we hope that the Games will be a catalyst to help us transform and strengthen the sporting culture for disability sports.

“I think there is a lot that we can do here. Because when we talked to people in the community, we found that the awareness levels are not high, participation rates can be better, and there are people who may not be aware of the benefits of participating in sports, or they may be afraid because of individual insecurities or fear. There may be some access issues, access to the equipment or facilities.”

The Singapore ASEAN Para Games Organising Committee will be using events such as today’s Unified Football Tournament to generate awareness of the APG and para-sports. The event drew close to 5,000 people over the weekend who saw Singapore ex-internationals such as Lionel Lewis, Fandi Ahmad and Nazri Nasir playing in teams made up of members of the national cerebral palsy team and students. Today’s event also saw the NTUC Fairprice Foundation pledging a S$50,000 donation to the APG.

“It was a fun and enriching experience for me,” said Mandy Loo, a mother of two boys. “We didn’t know much about disabled sports or the athletes. However, after today, we began to apppreciate our athletes and their sports. We are already planning to catch a few sports in December.”

A powerlifting community event will be held next month followed by two roadshows and an ASEAN Para Games Carnival in November.

Fast facts:

* At the last Asean Para Games in Myanmar, Singapore took part in five sports.

* Singapore’s previous largest contingent was at the 2008 Games when 59 athletes took part.

* Singapore’s record haul at the Para Games was in 2001 when they bagged 16 golds, 10 silvers and 11 bronzes

* Entry to all events at this December’s APG is free. For more information, go to

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