asean para games
‘Take a bow, Singapore’
SINGAPORE — Foreign athletes and officials at this year’s ASEAN Para Games, which came to an end tonight (Dec 9), have hailed Singapore for organising one of the best editions of the Games in its 14-year history.
From transport to accommodation, they praised the Singapore ASEAN Para Games Organising Committee (SAPGOC) for seeing to the wide-ranging needs of 2,500 para athletes and officials from 10 countries across 15 disability sports.
Past editions of the APG had quietly-staged events that paled in comparison to their SEA Games cousins.
However, Singapore’s decision to spare no expense and effort to host this year’s Games, spending up to S$75 million to stage the week-long affair, was praised and acknowledged by athletes and officials whom TODAY spoke to during the APG closing ceremony at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) tonight.
“I’m really impressed with how well prepared and organised the APG has been,” said Indonesia’s Marthin Losu, who won three gold medals and one silver in athletics.
“The facilities we get here are great and we feel really comfortable, which helped me to perform to the best of my abilities. For example, we didn’t need to worry when it rained because the National Stadium had a roof to shelter us. So there was no disruption for us at all, which was good for the athletes.”
Filipino chess player Menandro Redor was particularly impressed with the accommodation — all athletes and officials were housed in MBS during the Games.
“It was extremely convenient and relaxing in the hotel,” said the 30-year-old, who won four gold medals. “I especially enjoyed myself in the infinity pool. Overall, I’m happy with the Games here, and I’d give it a perfect score out of 10.”
The transportation of athletes from the hotel to the National Stadium was one of the more contentious issues raised before the Games, with SAGPOC coming under fire from certain quarters for suggesting that the MRT would be the primary mode of transport. However, Malaysian swimmer Yoong Chung Wei said he had no problems using the MRT to get to the Sports Hub. “The MRT is quick and very near to the stadium and the hotel,” explained the 20-year-old, who is Malaysia’s most bemedalled athlete with two gold and seven silver medals to his name.
“So I enjoyed taking the train whenever I could. Sometimes it was even better than taking the (shuttle) buses because we didn’t need to wait too long and it’s convenient.”
Along with the extinguishing of the Games cauldron tonight, Singapore officially ended their hosting duties as Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu handed over the APG flag to ASEAN Para Sports Federation president Zainal Abu Zarin. The flag was then passed on to the next APG hosts Malaysia, with Deputy Youth and Sports Minister M Saravanan receiving it on behalf of his country.
After the closing ceremony, Zolkples Embong, chief executive officer of the 29th SEA Games and 9th APG organising committee said preparations were already underway to get the country ready for both events. He added that there were many lessons his team could take away from Singapore’s hosting of the APG.
“Looking at how Singapore provides a lot of disabled-friendly facilities for the athletes, I think we will need to update our own facilities as well,” he said. “I’ve been really impressed with how they have managed to get so many volunteers involved. We also see how so much support has been given for their APG, and we hope that we will receive the full support from our government as well.”