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Singapore Sports School 26th Southeast Games Send-Off Ceremony

Speech by Mr Chan Heng Kee, Chairman of Singapore Sports School Board of Directors and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, at the Singapore Sports School 26th Southeast Games Send-Off Ceremony on 18 October 2011.

Good evening.

Let me first congratulate those amongst us who have been selected to represent Singapore at the upcoming 26th Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia. You join an illustrious group of student-athletes and alumni who are flying the flags of the school and of Singapore.

Blazing A Trail In Singapore Sports

In 2005, one year after its opening, Singapore Sports School had six student-athletes representing Singapore at the 2005 Sea Games in the Philippines. Today, we have the privilege of sending off 47 student-athletes and alumni to the 2011 Sea Games, or eight times the number in 2005.

Over three Sea Games from 2005 to 2009, our student-athletes won a total of 50 medals for Team Singapore - 23 Golds, 18 Silvers and 9 Bronzes. In the process, they broke 12 Sea Games records and many more national records. In a short eight years of existence, the School also produced five world champions with six world championship titles.

These are significant achievements. They are a sign of the progress we are making in nurturing sporting champions an indication of the talent and commitment of our student-athletes. And just as important - a reflection of the dedication of our coaches, officials and staff as well as our parents.

A Holistic Development

As chairman of the School, I would, however, be very disappointed if the School and its students excel only in sports. Between the School's board and management, we are clear that the School's mission must be more than that. At Singapore Sports School, we strive to nurture "Learned Champions with Character". To parents who have entrusted your children to us, we give you our commitment not just to bring out the sporting potential of your children, but to also further their academic development and character building.

Academically, we are doing well. Out of every 100 Sports School graduates, 93 are eligible for progression into a local Junior College, Pre-University or Polytechnic programme. Sixty per cent of the first two cohorts have gone on to pursue their degrees in either local or overseas universities. Some have won prestigious university scholarships. 

Whether it is at the sports arena, within the classroom or in public, and whether it is during training, competitions or in daily life, we emphasise five core values: Respect, Integrity, Responsibility, Excellence and Resilience. Just as we feel proud when our students and alumni blaze the trail in sports, we feel equally fulfilled when we see them grow into fine young men and women. And just as pleased when they contribute back to society, as many have done this year through various fundraising and community activities.

Doing Singapore Proud

Ladies and Gentlemen, the School's Sea Games contingent this year is 47-strong. We have representatives in 11 sports. The largest group are the swimmers, which has 11 representatives. The smallest - shooting and wakeboarding - has one athlete each.

Within the contingent, we have 31 debutants. They include four 15-year olds - Marc Ong in Golf, Liang Xiao Yu in Badminton and Lee Mei Shuang and Crystal Yap in Synchronised Swimming. These four are also the youngest in our School's contingent. Rather, the most seasoned Sea Games campaigners are swimmers Tao Li, Amanda Lim, Mylene Ong table tennis player Pang Xue Jie bowler Jazreel Tan and Track and Field athletes Calvin Kang and Stefan Tseng. This will be Tao Li's fourth Sea Games. For Amanda, Mylene, Xue Jie, Jazreel, Calvin and Stefan, this will be their third SEA Games outing.

To our student-athletes, whether you are playing in a team or individual sport whether you are a veteran or debutant and whether you bring home a medal or not, it is an honour to be part of Team Singapore. We - your families and friends your school your coaches, teachers and officials - are full of pride. And your fellow Singaporeans will be behind you.

Through hard work and sacrifices, you have come this far. In the month ahead - do your best. Enjoy the experience. Savour the learning. And do Singapore proud! I wish you the very best.