NUS played host to almost 2,000 student-athletes and officials at the Games Village in University Town from 14 to 20 July as part of the 9th ASEAN Schools Games (ASG). For the first time, this included participants from all 10 ASEAN member countries — Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. About 250 athletes and officials from 45 schools represented Singapore in this year’s Games, which also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN.
The students, aged 13 to 18, competed in 10 sporting events — athletics; badminton; basketball; gymnastics; sepak takraw; swimming; table-tennis; tennis; volleyball; and for the first time, tenpin bowling.
Besides providing food and lodging, the Village had a social interaction zone with games such as carom and foosball, as well as traditional Asian games of capteh and congkak, to facilitate friendship and interaction among the athletes.
Badminton player Nicolette Tan from Eunoia Junior College was excited to be a part of the ASG. “It is an honour to be able to represent Singapore, especially on home ground with all the support from my friends and family…I also really liked the facilities here at NUS, the huge field and the many common spaces throughout University Town allowed us to interact with people from all walks of life,” said Nicolette, who hopes to study at NUS in the near future.
Athletics competitors and friends Suttikan Khammun and Athima Saowaphaiboon from Team Thailand agreed. “Everyone has been so kind and welcoming. Each night after the competitions, we get to play and laugh with new friends from all over the region here at beautiful NUS,” said Suttikan.
Team Singapore took home 24 gold medals, 27 silver medals and 27 bronze medals at the Games. The opening and closing ceremony was graced by Minister for Education (Schools) Mr Ng Chee Meng and Ministry of Education Senior Minister of State Dr Janil Puthucheary, respectively.
This is the second time that Singapore has hosted the annual ASG since its introduction in 2009, the last time being in 2011. The goal of ASG is to provide opportunities for student-athletes to benchmark their sporting talents, while promoting ASEAN solidarity and cultural exchange among youths as well as important life skills such as sportsmanship, resilience and team work.