SINGAPORE: Team Singapore’s mission at the Beijing Olympics is to break Singapore’s 48-year-old medal drought.
The contingent representing Singapore at the Olympic Games left for the Chinese capital on Saturday morning. Despite the very early hour, hundreds of students and cheerleaders greeted the VIPs and athletes at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3.
Those taking part in table tennis, shooting and swimming were part of the official send-off.
Singapore’s sailors are already in China, while the rest of the contingent who are taking part in badminton and athletics will leave later in the week.
Singapore is confident of returning with a medal as it believes it is sending the best prepared contingent to the Games.
The republic’s top female paddler, Li Jiawei, showed up with dark shades at the airport as she was suffering from a sore eye that would heal in two or three days.
The sportswoman said she is ready for the challenge ahead.
“It’s normal to have pressure. After all these years, I am used to it. This is due to people’s expectations of me. I hope I won’t disappoint this time round,” she said.
And Singapore officials are wary of raising expectations.
Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also the president of the Singapore National Olympic Council, said: “We must hope for the best and put our support behind them. As you know in any competition, what happens on that day is what counts. Many, many things come together – the temperament of the athletes, how the other athletes are doing…
“What we want to do is to put our support behind them. All the team officials are behind them, Singaporeans are behind them and we just want to cheer them on.”
Channel News Asia