Step aside gold medals, SEA Games 2015 shall be about heart & fighting spirit

Winning gold medals should be the icing on the cake of good sportsmanship.

Martino Tan| June 10, 06:05 PM

If you spent 24/7 online, you would have read TODAY newspaper's story on June 10, 2015, about marathon runner Ashley Liew's praise-worthy sportsmanship.

It was reported that Liew, who suddenly found himself leading his competitors during his marathon race as the rest of the pack had followed the wrong route, then decided to slow down to wait for them instead of capitalising on their mistake.

The lead was a mere 50 metres, but any lead is still a lead.

And thanks to TODAY, we now know that Liew's gesture of sportsmanship had been inspired by British Olympic cycling champion Bradley Wiggins. He told TODAY:

“It is not always about the medals, but also the things you do in between.”


Here's Liew at the finish line:

Ashley Liew


Some ministers have jumped on the bandwagon of praise, highlighting Liew's sportsmanship.

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin


Posted by Tan Chuan-Jin on Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam

marathoner Ashley Liew displayed true sportsmanship during the SEA GAMES 2015 He was trailing in the...

Posted by K Shanmugam Sc on Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu

my mind, this is a real Champ! Hope to congratulate Ashley Liew in person. I am now a big fan of him.

Posted by Grace Fu on Tuesday, June 9, 2015


The SEA Games should not be about gold medals

Before we forget, I would like to remind many of us ( included) that we are all guilty of focusing too much on the number of gold medals we will achieve.

And the examples are many.

The Straits Times: "Can we hit the big 8-0?"

ST_80_gold Source: Straits Times screenshot


A specially designed poster by Community, Youth and Sports Minister Lawrence Wong

50th birthday Singapore! Our athletes have just won 50 gold medals at the SEA GAMES 2015, matching our last record...

Posted by Lawrence Wong on Tuesday, June 9, 2015


We cannot help but notice the presence of dignitaries -- President Tony Tan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong -- in gold medal matches like table-tennis and netball, or sure-win football match (Singapore vs Cambodia).

I am sure they attended other events too, but it appears to many that their presence are noticed in the more important glamour gold medal events on television and social media.

President Tony Tan

an exciting match this afternoon in which the Singapore Netball team won against Malaysia! Congratulations to...

Posted by Dr Tony Tan on Sunday, June 7, 2015


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

has been heartening to see Singaporeans coming together in the wake of the #SabahQuake - especially our Team...

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Monday, June 8, 2015


In fact, The Straits Times sports editor Marc Lim wrote in a commentary last Saturday (June 6) that it would be a "travesty if the only legacy and memories to emerge from the 2015 SEA Games relate to the number of golds won by Singapore".

For instance, Lim highlighted how badminton athlete Grace Chua made the bold move to put aside her studies to focus on badminton.

So, how about giving that extra support to the lesser known athletes?

While ministers Lawrence Wong and Tan Chuan-Jin are fully backing the SEA Games with their presence, I wonder if other ministers can be less "risk-adverse" and give their moral support to all our athletes.

Yes, they may not have any hope of obtaining a gold medal or making your Facebook post "viral".

But your presence will mean a lot to many athletes from Team Singapore.

And I will conclude by paraphrasing Lim,

“It is not always about the latest viral Facebook post, but also the things you do in between.”

Oh, good guy Liew eventually finished eighth in the marathon with a timing of 2hrs 44min 02secs.

The marathon was won by compatriot Soh Rui Yong in 2:34.56.

Despite ending the race empty-handed, Liew will always be remembered for his sportsmanship.



Top photo from here.

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