SINGAPORE — As part of Singapore Aquatics' (SAQ) 85th-anniversary celebrations in 2024, the national sports association will be launching an Aquatics Hall of Fame to pay tribute to generations of athletes who have contributed to one of the top sports in Singapore.
The Hall of Fame will honour the accomplishments of swimmers, water polo players, artistic swimmers and divers who have regularly delivered medals at major Games and world championships - and, of course, brought Singapore's first and only Olympic gold medal, with Joseph Schooling's monumental triumph at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
SAQ has formed a nomination panel to select the inaugural batch of Hall of Fame inductees next year. Inductees will have to be Singaporeans or permanent residents, and they are not reserved only for athletes - those who have positively influence the sport as administrators, coaches or in media will also be eligible.
“The Hall of Fame, when launched next year, will celebrate the rich legacy of Singapore Aquatics in the past 85 years," said former swim queen Patricia Chan, who chairs SAQ's legacy council.
“It is not just to pay tribute to our sporting heroes. More importantly, it is a way for us to tell our stories to future generations.
“For example, we want people to know that, yes, you may be familiar with swimmer Joseph Schooling, but did you also know that Singapore also had a world-beater in Ang Peng Siong when he was the fastest man over 50 metres?
“The Hall of Fame will serve to honour people who have taken the plunge before, even as we dive into the next chapter of our aquatic story.”
Saying farewell to Toa Payoh Swimming Complex
The proposed launch of the Aquatics Hall of Fame was announced on Sunday (15 October) at a "Farewell to Toa Payoh" party, which brought together past and present aquatic athletes as they commemorated the closing of the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex, which will make way for the construction of a new regional sport centre as as part of the Toa Payoh Integrated Development project.
SAQ president Mark Chay said that an important step for the association as it turns 85 next year is to bring together aquatic athletes from all backgrounds and across all generations.
Initiatives like the Aquatics Hall of Fame will link the past to the present, but Chay believes it is also important to engage the aquatics alumni and get them more involved, with upcoming major events such as the 2025 World Championships and the 2029 SEA Games in Singapore.
"These events are as much for the community as it is for the athletes," Chay said.
"Whether it is being part of the organisation of these events, volunteering for various roles or serving as mentors to some of our up-and-coming swimmers, we want to foster a closely-knit aquatics community in the coming years.”
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