London will soon herald the Summer Olympics of 2012, and Singapore will be one of the keen participants at the most prestigious sporting event of the world.
With the presence of fierce competition and the relative youth of Singapore, her athletes may not have been able to secure as many medals as their counterparts from other countries. Notwithstanding this, they have the true Singaporean spirit of sportsmanship that we should all aim to emulate.
Singapore’s athletic heroes have more than done the country proud with their sheer resilience and passion for the sports they excel in. Their talents have helped to create some of Singapore's most remarkable sporting moments.
Singapore’s Weightlifter Extraordinaire Wins The First Olympic Silver Medal
Tan Howe Liang has the distinct honor of being the first person in Singapore’s comparatively short sporting history to win an Olympic Medal. A participant in the 1960 Olympics in Rome, he won the Olympic Silver Medal for weightlifting in the lightweight category. What made this sporting moment one to remember is that he also broke the oldest standing World Record for the Clean and Jerk event in 1958.
Tan, who emigrated from China with his parents in 1937, began his weightlifting career after becoming intrigued by weightlifting at the then-Gay World amusement park. The lack of financial support meant that the weightlifter had to fuel his passion by financing his training expenses out of his own pocket.
Tan failed in his 1956 attempt at the Olympics in Melbourne after blacking out. Working as a mechanic, he is said to have promised his father that "one day, I will be the strongest man in the world”.
He certainly did, reaching out to the nation by being the first Singaporean to secure an Olympic silver medal. In the hearts and minds all over Singapore, he will remain a sporting legend.
Image Source: http://redsports.sg
Mr C Kunalan Blazes the Mexico Olympic Trail
Singapore’s most prolific track and field athlete also made contributions to our nation’s bid at the Olympic Games. At the 1968 games in Mexico, he ran the 100 metres with a time of 10.38 seconds, setting a ground-breaking national record that stood for 33 years before being shattered by U.K. Shyam in 2001. The role model for track and field athletes in Singapore has won a silver and 4 bronze medals at the Asian Games and 15 medals at the South East Asian Peninsular/South East Asian Games.
Kunalan came late into the sport. A footballer , he was persuaded by sprinting great Tan Eng Yoon to take up running when he entered the Teacher’s College. He was running the 100m in 10.9 seconds, the 200m in 22.3 seconds and the 400m in 50.9 seconds. He was forced into his first retirement in 1970 after an injury, but soon anchored the 4x400 metres relay team to achieve a gold at the 1975 SEA games.
He has retained his humility despite a long string of athletic successes. An Assistant Professor known affectionately as Mr K at the National Institute of Education, his current research interests are in the areas of coaching and exercise science. His contributions will be forever etched in the hearts and minds of all.
Image Source: http://mylearningpod.org/2011bcps44/?p=6380
Elite Swimmer Ang Peng Siong Wins the “B” Consolation Final at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics
Ang Peng Siong, celebrated swimmer and Singapore National Olympic Council’s Sports Man of the Year for 1982, 1983 and 1984, made Singapore sporting history at the Los Angeles Olympics when he dominated the 100m freestyle Olympic B finals in a record time of 51:09 seconds. In the 1988 Seoul Olympics, he made a near miss of the A finals by just one place.
By far, the swimmer is one of our nation’s most illustrious sports men. His swimming career began when he represented Singapore at the South East Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1977. The then prodigious young swimmer won a silver medal for the 4x100 metre relay. Swimming once again in this event at the SEA games of 1979, he helped claim the gold medal.
He went on to make his debut at the Asian Games of 1978 at the tender age of 16 and was the first Singaporean swimmer to be offered an overseas scholarship at the University of Huston.
Ang was awarded the Public Service Medal in 1983 and 1984, and the International Olympic Committee’s trophy for sports and studies. One of the board of governors at the Singapore Sports School, he announced his retirement from competitive swimming in 1993.
As the National Head Coach, Ang now grooms the national team headed for the Olympic Games in London. He will continue creating Olympic moments for Singapore together with his proteges.
Image Source: http://www.treefrogsoaps.ca/2012/04/ang-peng-siong/
The Impregnable Joscelin Yeo Represented Singapore at the Olympics Four Times
Joscelin is the only Singaporean to have represented the country four times in the Olympic Games,having done so at previous Olympic games in Barcelona, Atlanta and Athens. Together with team-mates Tao Li, Nicolette Teo, and Ho Shu Shong, she participated in the Women’s 100 metres relay event.
She has also the only Singaporean to have been a four time National Flag Bearer at the Olympic Games. This outstanding lady was the second recipient of the Pingat Jasar Gemilang (Meritorious Service Award), given in recognition of her sporting efforts.
Yeo became a member of the Singapore National Team in 1990. She made her debut at the South East Asian Games in Manila in 1991 where she won two silver and three bronze medals. In the 2005 Manila SEA Games, Yeo won six gold medals and set a new record for the 100-meter butterfly event as the first woman to complete it under a minute. She is the only Singaporean to have achieved at total of 40 golds at the event, and is clearly one of the nations most enduring sports ambassadors.
Yeo published an autobiography, On The Move: My Career, My Story, in 2004. In the book, she described the burden of living up to the expectations and the reasons behind the public perception of her as being media-unfriendly. She now runs a swimming school called Yeo’s Aquatics, together with her older brother.
She is a Nominated Member of Parliament and a program coordinator for the New Creation Church, and her contributions continue to shape the lives of many Singaporeans.
Image Source: http://forums.sgclub.com/singapore/swimming_singapores_quah_141954.html
Badminton Trooper Ronald Susilo Makes it to The Quarter Finals of the Men’s Singles in the 2004 Summer Olympics
Ronald Susilo, a true master of the badminton racket, defeated Number 1 seed Lin Dan of China and Bjorn Joppien of Germany in the first two rounds of the game. He was defeated by Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand in the Quarter Finals of the Badminton Men’s Singles. He battled hard for Singapore yet again in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, but there was no denying number 2 seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia. He was trounced 13-21, 14-21 in the men's singles round of 32, performing well against tough competition.
Of Indonesian Chinese origin, Susilo’s badminton career began when he joined the Singapore Badminton Association at the age of 19. He was a silver medallist at the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and a bronze medallist at the Sea Games in 2003.
Ronald now uses his talents to help aspiring badminton players hone their badminton skills. He has established the Ronald Susilo Badminton Academy, catering to their various levels of passion. Their training ground is at the Anglo Chinese School (Independent).
Image Source: http://forums.sgclub.com/singapore/swimming_singapores_quah_141954.html
Benedict Tan Chi Loong Sails His Way Into The 36th Spot at the 1996 Olympic Games
The Sports Rehabilitation doctor has certainly made waves in the sailing scene in Singapore. He participated in competitive sailing at the 1996 games in Atlanta, his Laser finishing a proud 36th of 56 boats. He has become Sportsman of the Year three times for his sporting efforts and abilities, and has also won the Singapore Youth Award. He has won gold medals for sailing at the SEA games and Asian Games, the first person to achieve a gold medal for the country at the games since 1982.
The ex-national sailor's sporting abilities do not confine themselves to sailing. He has also become one of the country's best marathoners, coming in third after M Rameshon and Daniel Ling at the Standard Chartered marathon in 2008. By his own assessment, Dr. Tan was never a runner, but this outstanding achievement clearly broke another sporting barrier.
The National Olympic Committee Athlete’s Commission chairman and medical doctor is now a consultant at Changi Hospital’s Changi Sports Medicine Centre, and had not only made his mark in sailing. He was also the first doctor to practice sports medicine in a restructured hospital. He has written a book entitled The Complete Guide to Laser Sailing and has authored books on weight management.
By far, he is one of Singapore’s most prolific athletes, and his sporting and medical expertise has enriched many lives.
The Magnificent Tao Li Becomes the First Singaporean Swimmer to Enter an Olympic Final
The 22-year-old Tao, a Singapore Sports School student, made our nation’s sporting history by becoming the first Singaporean to ever enter an Olympic final. Representing Singapore at the Beijing Olympics off 2008, she qualified for the 100 metres butterfly finals, ranking fourth behind Australia’s Lisbeth Trickett and the USA's Christine Magnuson and Australia's Jessicah Schipper with a time of 57.54 seconds.
On August 11 later in the year, she emerged 5th in the 100 metres Women’s Butterfly finals with a time of 57.99 seconds. The following day, she participated in the 200 metres Butterfly Heats and did not qualify for the semi finals, but her time of 2 minutes 13 seconds has set a national record in Singapore.
Tao Li is a bona fide sports woman who has consistently done the country proud, not just at the Olympics but on many other occasions. She has represented Singapore in the South East Asian Games and the Asian Games, having won golds in individual events and in the 100 metres relay with team-mates Ho Shu Shong, Nicolette Teo and Joscelin Yeo.
She has gleaned many other accolades, including gold medals in the 100 metres backstroke, the 100 and 200 metres buterfly and the 100 metre relay. For her sporting efforts, she was named the Sports Woman of the Year by the Singapore National Olympic Council in 2008.
In March 2012, Tao underwent surgery to remove a cyst in her right knee and repair a left ankle ligament. Initially worried that her hopes for securing a medal for Singapore would be dashed, these fears have been allayed. Named one of the 60 Team Visa athletes by the credit card magnate, she will be offered financial support for her swim in the 100m Butterfly race at the Olympic games, and looks forward to contributing to Singapore's medal efforts.
Image Source: http://redsports.sg/2008/11/13/tao-li-swimming-4/
A Stellar Olympic Fourth by Sports Woman of the Year Jing Jun Hong
Jing Jun Hong, a consummate athlete and sports woman, did not have the good fortune of securing a medal win for table tennis at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. However, her near-miss fourth placing was certainly a celebrated sporting moment which brought recognition for her and Singapore.
The celebrated sports star, originally from Shanghai, became a citizen in 1994. Already known for her skills, she was hailed as the 3rd best player in China. She claimed a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1995, surrendering the gold to Chai Po Wa of Hong Kong.
The recognition that Jun Hong received for her efforts at the 2000 Summer Olympics at Sydney motivated her to continue doing her sporting best for the country. She went on to win golds at the 2001 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and the 2003 SEA Games in Hanoi. In the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Jin Hong got through to the third round before being defeated.
She believes that the Olympics is where “athletes really have to go” to achieve the peak of their sporting careers.
Image Source: http://www.badmintoncentral.com/forums/showthread.php/66502-Jing-Junhong-Singapore-s-Table-tennis-FT-who-has-made-good
An Extraordinary Olympic Finish by Table Tennis Great Li Jiawei
Currently ranked world number 15 by the International Table Tennis Federation, the five-time Sportswoman of the Year defeated the Chinese second seed Wang Nan and eventually emerged fourth at the Beijing Olympics after being defeated by China’s Zhang Yining. She had initially come into the game firing aggressive shots, but could not stop Zhang from saving four game points. She broke down after her loss, and not even a phone call from Prime Minister Lee Hisen Loong could console the distraught the diligent sports woman.
However, this tough lady eventually succeeded in her medal efforts in the team event. Together with team-mates Feng Tianwei and Wang Yuegu, she trounced South Korea for the Silver Medal in the team category of the competition. They were presented with the Pingat Jasa Gemilang (the Meritorious Service Award), an award that was only given to athletes twice before.
The student of the Beijing Shichahai Sports School was spotted by Singaporean talent scouts and was offered the opportunity to train in Singapore. She won gold and silver medals for team events at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. She was second in the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals, and obtained silver medals at the 23rd Southeast Asian Games. In the same year, she won the Singapore Youth Award and was Her Word’s Young Woman Achiever of 2005.
She went on to achieve a silver medal and two bronze medals for the individual and mixed double events at the Asian Games in Doha the following year.
Jiawei took a year off from table tennis to raise her child, Tian Rui, but returned to the table tennis stage with a vengeance in 2010. She guided the women's team to gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and went on the win the women's doubles title with Sun Beibei. She ended the same year victoriously with a silver medal at the 18th Asian Games.
The young mother has worked really hard to boost Singapore's hopes for a medal at the coming Olympic games, and remains optimistic about their chances against opening rivals Japan and Poland.
Image Source :http://nbnl.globalwhelming.com/2008/08/01/beijing-olympics-opening-ceremony-leaked-live-on-singapore-channel-5-on-080808/
Singapore’s Table Tennis Talents Win the Second Silver Medal
Li Jiawei, Feng Tianwei and Wang Yuegu, our country’s top table tennis players, did the country proud again when they procured her second silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, beating the South Korean Women’s table tennis team of Dang Ye Seo, Kim Kyung Ah and Park Mi Young in the semi-finals, assuring Singapore of at least a silver medal. They had brought an end to the country’s 48-year medal drought.
They lost to host country China in the battle for the gold, but the determined efforts of these talented sports women had already paid off. Said Singapore's then President S.R. Nathan, proud supporter of the peddlers' medal efforts: “'In the finals, our team met a formidable team with a world reputation; they did their best and therefore have no reason to be disheartened. In my eyes, they remain proud.”
They certainly contributed to one of Singapore's most momentous occasions in her sporting history. The world No 3 table tennis team is about to enter their next Olympic battle at London and are optimistic about their medal chances. They have had the luck of the draw and will not likely face hot medal favorites China at least until the finals.
Image Source: http://tabletennista.com/2012/7/a-silver-is-not-promising-for-singapore-in/
Singaporean athletes will continue to make big ripples, if not waves, in time to come. As the London Olympics draw near, the sporting moments they create will surely become ones to cherish and remember for an entire lifetime.