On August 7, Games chef de mission Ben Tan said that Team Singapore’s athletes have displayed fierceness, resilience and professionalism at the Tokyo Olympics.
In a virtual press meeting, Dr. Tan said that he was truly inspired by the performances of the athletes like swimmers and football players.
Professionalism of Team Singapore
Dr. Tan said, “From the way our athletes have carried themselves, I am truly inspired. We look at the true meaning of sport which is a display of the human spirit. For example, we look at Yu Mengyu and Feng Tianwei, they are seasoned paddlers, they are very experienced and you can see their work ethic. So from them, I learned what professionalism is.”
In the women’s singles match in table tennis, Yu was placed in fourth place while Singapore was defeated by China in the quarter finals of the team event. Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low was also used by Dr. Tan as an example of professionalism by their best performances by any Singaporean at the Olympic games.
Both Lim and Low made historical records by being the first sailors to land a qualification for the medal race at the Olympics, landing in tenth overall.
“Sailing is a European-dominated sport, very difficult for Asians and even more difficult for tiny countries like Singapore to break through into the upper rungs. Yet they analysed what would be required to get there and they worked backwards and checked the boxes systematically one at a time.”
Dr. Tan noted that while fencers Amita Berthier and Kiria Tikanah, as well as badminton players Loh Kean Yew and Yeo Jiamin, faced opponents who were “certainly stronger,” they were “very fearless.”
He also applauded rower Joan Poh’s “tenacity and drive,” as well as divers Jonathan Chan and Frieda Lim, open-water swimmer Chantal Liew, and equestrienne Caroline Chew, all of whom he regarded as “pioneers” in their respective sports.
He added, “It’s never easy to be the first person, because you are the one that has to pave the way for others.”
Dr. Tan also mentioned that Singapore’s athletes had to deal with the problems of preparing for the Olympics while dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak, and that they handled the “curveball” that it posed “quite effectively.”
Swimmers’ Disappointing Performances
However, SSI or Singapore Sport Institute head, Toh Boon Yi stated that while most of Team Singapore performed well in the Games, the swimmers did not perform well to meet the expectations for them.
Mr. Toh said, “By their own admission, our swimmers have already acknowledged that. And we have to go back and review what could have been done better, what were the issues.”
“All of us felt disappointment, from the swimmers to the officials to the general public, because we had very high hopes. High hopes framed from our last performance at the 2016 Olympics. But that was five years ago.”
Decline in Performance Trend
Mr. Toh stated that they observed that the trend of poor performances are prevalent these past few years.
“We saw those trends, and we were working with all the people around to see to it that we could address some of the issues and the problems, we have to go back to the drawing board,” he stated.
Dr. Tan, a former national sailor himself, said that disappointment is part of sport and BBC football.
He also stated, “That’s the nature of competition. You have 80 participants, there’s only one winner. So we need to accept that you can’t win all the time. I’m quite sure everyone in Singapore has personally faced disappointments in their own personal lives. In time to come our Olympians will show us how champions actually deal with disappointments.” Checkout 12Play and discover how to bet on sports.