SINGAPORE – Over 1,650 student-athletes from all 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-countries took centerstage as the 9th ASEAN Schools Games opened Friday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Department of Education (DepEd) Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali, Philippine Sports Commissioner Charles Raymond A. Maxey, Philippines Chef-De-Mission (CDM) Rizalino Jose T. Rosales, deputy CDM Cesar Abalon spearheaded the strong 223-member Philippine contingent as they marched their way into the stadium.
Roaring cheers from thousands of spectators welcomed all the participating delegations from the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Brunei Darrussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and first-timer Myanmar.
Tan Chen Kee, who is the Ministry of Education Divisional director, said the ASEAN Schools Games is an important sporting platform for student-athletes to come together and compete with the best from other regions.
“Through competing with the region’s best, I hope our student-athletes - like past athletes - will hone their sporting abilities and attain important values such as sportsmanship, resilience, and team work,” said Tan, who is also this year’s ASEAN Schools Games Organizing Committee chair.
“I am confident that our students will be good hosts as they forge deep and enduring friendships with their ASEAN friends,” she added.
Ng Chee Meng, who was the guest of honor for this year’s sporting spectacle, declared the 9th ASEAN School Games open.
Discus throw player Eric Yee led the oath of sportsmanship while Swimmer Jade Lim was accompanied by her father, Tong Hai, a former football player, as they carried the torch and lit the cauldron.
Maxey, for his part, said that he’s planning to visit all eight playing venues to show his support to the Filipino athletes competing in eight sports events including basketball, volleyball, swimming, track and field, table tennis, lawn tennis, artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, and sepak takraw.
“I am planning to watch the swimming heats Saturday at the Singapore Sports School,” said Maxey as Filipino athletes get tested early as swimming, athletics, and gymnastic events start today.
Maxey also attended the ASEAN Schools Sports Council 71st Technical Meeting along with Umali, Abalon, and Rosales last Friday morning held at the Marriott Tang Plaza.
Swimmer Jade Lim, daughter of former Singapore national soccer player Lim Tong Hai, is the torch bearer for the 2017 ASEAN School Games. (Ministry of Education Singapore Photo)