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.
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:
Some ministers have jumped on the bandwagon of praise, highlighting Liew’s sportsmanship.
Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin
Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Grace Fu
The SEA Games should not be about gold medals
Before we forget, I would like to remind many of us (Mothership.sg 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?”
A specially designed poster by Community, Youth and Sports Minister Lawrence Wong
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
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
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.