By Stefanus Ian
The last time our TeamSG Cerebral Palsy (CP) Footballer Syafiq Sulaiman was away for more than a week from his family was during his Basic Military Training stint during National Service but the ASEAN Para Games (APG) debutant was clearly excited to fly to Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
Our TeamSG CP Footballers (From L to R) Muhammad Shafiq Bin Ariff, Muhammad Firdaus Bin Mohamed Noor, Ismail Bin Abdul Kadir, Peter Kam and Syafiq Bin Sulaiman
“I have no idea what to expect, but I got my teammates with me,” said the 27-year-old with a laugh, on the sidelines of the sending off ceremony.
Seeing the turnout at the sending off ceremony at Changi Airport terminal two, Syafiq said he is raring to compete and do his best on the pitch.
“It’s made me realise I have so many people behind me on this APG trip, behind us, behind CP football, friends and family, the whole nation, really,” added Syafiq.
The debutant CP footballer will be part of the largest away contingent that Team Singapore is sending with a total of 90 athletes comprising 21 debutants. Team Singapore will also be competing in 11 out of the 16 sports on offer at the 10th ASEAN Para Games in Kuala Lumpur.
The send off event at Changi Airport terminal two was also attended by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, who called on the athletes to be “the best ambassadors for Singapore”.
“When you are out there, you’re wearing the flag… You’re not just representing yourself, you’re not just representing your sport, you are also representing the country,” said Minister Fu.
“Do your very best, don’t give up, show what you are made off, the steel in you so that we can all be very, very proud of you out there,” she added.
For Shiam Jerome Ratnagopal, founder of Non-Goverment Organisation Dis.is.able, the growth in the number of athletes bids well for the para sports scene in Singapore.
“Dis.is.able focuses on raising the awareness of the public about para sports and our para athletes and this being the largest away contingent bodes well for the scene,” said the 27-year-old.
“We hope that this will continue to not only encourage more participation in the different para sports associations in Singapore but also to spur on our national para athletes to greater heights.”
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