「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


Everyone's a sport

By Tan Ying Zhen


Singapore is known for many things, but athletic prowess is not one of them.

However, with the 28th Southeast Asian Games held in Singapore recently from the 5th to the 16th of June, there were several great moments for our tiny island nation.

Singapore had its best SEA Games performance so far, with 84 gold medals, 73 silvers and 102 bronzes. We emerged second in the medal tally, just behind Thailand with 95 golds.

Singapore's star swimmer Joseph Schooling also impressed with his record-breaking swims. He took part in nine events and bagged nine golds, while breaking the Games record for every single one, including a 33-year-old national record.

These triumphant moments were worthy of celebration, but what many friends and I found most inspiring was an athlete who did not win a medal.

Marathon runner Ashley Liew had found himself with a 50-meter lead during his 42-km race. He realized his rivals had followed the wrong route.

Instead of charging ahead, Liew slowed down to wait for his competitors to catch up. In an interview with local newspaper TODAY, he said, "I would not have felt comfortable taking advantage of the situation."

He recalled how fellow athlete Soh Rui Yong had done a similar thing before. Liew had fallen down during the 2011 Army Half-Marathon in Singapore and Soh had waited for him.

Liew said, "It is not always about the medals, but also the things you do in between."

No medal there, but we see true sportsmanship.

It's not just athletes who display sportsmanship. We also see sportsmanship in the fans and spectators, such as in the recent 2018 World Cup qualifiers between Singapore and Japan. In a shock result, Singapore held Japan to a 0-0 match.

On the Japanese Twitter-sphere, many people praised Singaporean goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud. He had made 18 saves altogether despite the pressure put on by a boisterous crowd at Saitama Stadium.

The Japanese fans displayed sportsmanship in their gracious compliments and recognition of an excellent performance by an athlete, never mind that he was playing against their country.

Sports is never just about winning, is it?

Even as we celebrate the records, victories and miracles, what moves us just as much, if not more, is the dignity of the human spirit. It transcends national and cultural boundaries, for in our quest for the best, we all experience the same exhilaration and disappointment, the same laughter and tears, the same dreams and hopes.

The motto of the Olympics: Citius, altius, fortius, or "Faster, higher, stronger," comes to mind. Strength surely is not just about physical strength, but about mental strength and our recognition of true sportsmanship as well.



The Japan Times ST: July 17, 2015

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版