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Asean Para Games Opens With Rousing Ceremony

Performers at the finale of 2015's opening ceremony of the 8th Asian Para Games at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The week-long Games, which Singapore is hosting for the first time, will see about 1,200 para athletes compete in more than 300 events. ST Photo: Desmond Wee

A new chapter in Singapore's sporting history was written in 2015 as the country extended a heartfelt welcome to the region's top para athletes at the 8th Asian Para Games (APG) opening ceremony.

The 90–minute spectacle featured more than 1,400 performers — able-bodied and people with disabilities — and was divided into five acts. Each celebrated the enduring journey of a disabled athlete.

Declared open by ex-President Tony Tan Keng Yam, the week-long Games will see about 1,200 para athletes compete in more than 300 events. The Republic hosted the APG for the first time and had offered a record 15 sports.

Among those at the Singapore Indoor Stadium for the sold-out show were Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.

In her opening address, Ms Fu hailed the athletes.

"You have overcome challenges in life and shown us that sport is truly without boundaries. Your fighting spirit will inspire us to live better through sport and spur us to face life's challenges with courage," she said.

The loudest roars from the 6,000 spectators were reserved for Team Singapore's 154 representatives, led by flag bearer and swimmer Yip Pin Xiu. She later joined badminton player Tay Wei Ming and nine-year-old Aloysius Gan, who has cerebral palsy, as the final torchbearers to light the Games' cauldron.

There was more to cheer as Singapore beat Indonesia 1–0 in 2015's opening match of the cerebral palsy football tournament.

Separately, sailors Jovin Tan and Desiree Lim secured their spot at 2016's Paralympics in Rio. The two, however, will be racing against each other in the Hansa 303 class at the APG.


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