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Speech by Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister of State For Ministry of Finance and Transport, at The Sports Superstar Awards 2007, Wednesday 27 February 2008, Intercontinental Hotel

27 Feb 2008

Mr Tan Ju Seng, President of Singapore Disability Sports Council

Ms Nancy Chia, Organising Chairman of Sports Superstar Awards 2007

Distinguished guests, families and friends

A very good evening to you.

2. I am very pleased and honoured to join you today to witness the crowning of our superstars and to give due recognition to the people who have made significant contributions to the disabled sports arena.

3. The sporting scene in Singapore has become more prominent over the past year. In fact, just last Thursday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to let Singapore host the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2010. This was truly a proud moment for all of us in Singapore. Words cannot describe how proud I felt when I got to know that we had been successful in our bid. It vindicates the efforts of the bid committee as well as Singaporeans from all walks of life who had supported the YOG bid. We had indeed "blazed the trail" and led the way in pursuing new opportunities.

4. "To dare to dream" must be the state of mind of all our athletes. Our athletes must first and foremost be "dreamers". Athletes need to dream the impossible and have the attitude to want to make it happen. Having been part of my school softball team before, I now what this means. I hope that this frame of mind is within each one of us here today - one that is undeterred by the odds and fired by a passion to reach beyond one's potential.

5. Besides clinching the 2010 YOG, there have been other exciting sporting developments and achievements. These include appointment of the preferred bidder for the Sports Hub, release of the Sporting Culture Committee's recommendations on building a strong and self-sustaining sporting culture, as well as strong performances by Team Singapore athletes at the recent Southeast Asian Games and ASEAN Para Games. What made the Para Games most memorable was that Theresa Goh rewrote her previous world record with a sensational timing of 52.62s in the 50m breaststroke. As public interest in sports grows, I urge the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) to take this unique opportunity to raise awareness of the sports scene for the disabled in Singapore.

6. The SDSC has done an excellent job in reaching out and touching the lives of participants. For example, the Junior Athletics Development Programme and the National Disability League were both set up to help beginners learn how to play sports in a spirit of having fun. The SDSC also conducts workshops, talks and programmes, such as the Disability Sports Conference, which have helped to change the perception of participation in sports by the disabled. I believe that these programmes have not only encouraged the disabled to adopt an active lifestyle through sports, but also through the confidence gained from participation, spurred many onto realising their dreams and potential in life.

7. Another area I would like to commend the SDSC is in the conducting of selection trials where our potential athletes can discover their talents and abilities early. This has enabled the SDSC to identify the best athletes and to give them the opportunity to represent Singapore in international competitions. This has proven to be a successful model with Singapore's athletes coming home with seven gold, eight silver and four bronze medals at the ASEAN Para Games just last month.

8. I should also commend SDSC's partners and donors for their generosity towards supporting disability sports. With your continued contribution and support, I am certain that the disability sports arena will flourish even more.

9. Indeed, all of you are stars in your own rights. Whether you are here as an athlete, a coach, a volunteer or a donor, you are here because of your ardent commitment to the development of sports for the disabled in Singapore.

10. Singapore will be participating in the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games this September. All of us in Singapore will be rooting for all the athletes who will be there. Let the spirit of excellence in you be like the Paralympic torch that shines ever so brightly.