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Wed, Jun 03, 2009
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Flagged for AYG success

[top photo: Flag bearer Quah Ting Wen at the AYG Flag presentation ceremony at Raffles Institution.]

By Dawn Tay

THE heat is on, with less than a month to go to the very first Asian Youth Games (AYG).

And national swimmer Quah Ting Wen, chosen to be the nation's official Games flag-bearer, arguably feels the pressure more than the other Singapore athletes.

Yesterday, she received the flag from national shooter Lee Wung Yew, the Republic's chef de mission for the June 29 to July 7 Games, during a ceremony at Raffles Institution.

Witnessing the ceremony were Deputy Prime Minister and Singapore National Olympic Council president Teo Chee Hean, as well as the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

Bowler New Hui Fen recited the Games pledge on behalf of the 90-strong Singapore contingent.

After the ceremony, Ting Wen admitted: "I am honoured, but kind of nervous. What if I dropped the flag?"

Despite the 16-year-old's jitters, the Raffles Institution (Junior College) student feels a "sense of leadership" because she is one of the oldest athletes in the Singapore contingent.

Having smashed three national records in March and featured in last year's Beijing Olympics, does Ting Wen feel the pressure to deliver a coveted medal for Singapore?

She hesitated, before replying: "I don't really feel any pressure, as I don't really know who the competition is.

"I'm not really looking at medals every time I go into a meet. It's more about achieving my personal-best times. So, if a medal comes along, it'll be a bonus."

She will be competing in the 50m, 100m and her pet event, the 200m freestyle. She has not decided if she will compete in the 200m individual medley.

Meanwhile, Lee has set Singapore's target for the AYG at five medals - including a possible gold.

And where will the gold come from?

For now, he is keeping mum, as he explained: "These are kids and they're under a lot of pressure (from) the home-ground support. I don't want to put more pressure on them."

DPM Teo added: "I would be happy if every athlete performed to their best, even if he or she were to finish without a medal."

dawnt@sph.com.sg


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