The year that will be embedded in our sporting DNA
How this year has set the benchmark for Singapore Sports
The year 2015 seemed to be the year for our local heroes as they outdid expectations and raised the bar high during both the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games. From breaking records to sending the message in various sporting events to our neighbouring countries, nobody could or even dared to predict 2016 would leave 2015 as a distant memory.
2016 was the year of the biggest global sporting meet; with the Olympics scheduled as the highlight of every sporting calendar in every country. With athletes all over the world having their sights on a podium finish at Rio de Janeiro, not many would have dreamed that our little red dot could stand a chance to leave our mark.
Everything changed as local sporting hero Joseph Schooling had other ideas. He made history by clinching the very first Olympic Gold medal for Singapore, but also beating his idol, US Olympian, Michael Phelps! What ensued was a huge celebration in Singapore held in honour of Schooling’s victory.
Most of the hype lightened after a month as Rio was preparing for its second major sporting event, the Paralympics! It was a sporting meet that would pit the world’s best para-athletes against each other as they break all boundaries and limitations.
Hearing the national anthem at the biggest sporting meet when Joseph Schooling won was a proud moment for us but little did we know it was the first of many to come. Local Paralympian swimmer, Yip Pin Xiu ensured that we did not only hear it for a second time but a third as well!
(Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh posing with their Paralympic medals)
Two Paralympic Gold medals sent shockwaves through our nation as we have never had success of this magnitude in the sporting scene in our 51 years of existence. We had another round of excitement as the celebrations went on after her arrival back in Singapore.
Fast forward to December 31st and much has gone on since then. Much emphasis on the call to bring equality in recognition to both para-athletes and able bodied athletes was one such matter. We could bring up a host of other topics but we at Dis.Is.Able will like to focus on these few.
What has actually come out of all this?
- We have now broken the mental barrier of the inability to achieve greatness. The DNA of both Joseph Schooling and Yip Pin Xiu have unlocked that (and in style if we may humbly add).
- The awareness of the para-sporting scene has come into greater existence
- Support from both the government and private sectors have increased as there has been a spike in the number of pilot projects dedicated in raising awareness for para-sport.
- The athletes may have erased the “study first, sports second” mentality embedded in us. The doors of being a professional athlete might have been a taboo topic in Singapore but hopefully not in the near future.
The para sports scene has taken a great step forward in having many pilot projects set in place and an increased keen interest from Singaporeans since the Paralympics. Now the possibility of grooming yet another local athlete who can compete at the highest stage looks to be even closer in sight!
This however will not be possible if not for a collective effort. An effort that can only come from us, not only to recognize the importance of raising awareness for the disability scene as whole but to actually be part of the movement. 2017 will be the beginning for many new opportunities and we must maximise the chance to propel our nation forward!
It took 51 years for Singapore to push the door ajar and give us the glimmer of hope to consider the possibility of positioning ourselves as a force in the global sporting scene. Now it’s time to “kick” that door fully open in 2017 and dare to challenge the world just like Joseph and Pin Xiu!
Pictures by : Dis.Is.Able
Malay Mail Online
Article by : Dis.Is.Able