The Commonwealth Games Singapore (CGS) announced today the appointment of Olympian swimmer Mr Mark Chay (35) as the chef de mission to Team Singapore for the upcoming Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Chay’s appointment was announced by the CGS at an event to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to Singapore today.
Chay recently served as assistant chef de mission to the 29th SEA Games contingent and was also chef de mission to the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games team, which won two historic gold medals for Singapore. The former Sportsman and Sportsboy of the Year represented Singapore in five editions of the SEA Games, two Asian Games, two Commonwealth Games (1998 & 2002) and two Olympic Games. The multiple SEA Games medalist is currently the CEO of International Sports Academy and also serves on the Singapore National Olympic Council’s Athletes’ Commission.
The Gold Coast edition of the Games will take place from 4 to 15 April 2018. Team Singapore will be represented by a maximum number of 69 athletes, based on the allocation set by the organisers, with the CGS revealing the first slate of athletes in January 2018. The Commonwealth Games will feature 275 events in 18 sports including an integrated para-sport programme for seven sports.
Chay was recently in Gold Coast for the chefs de mission seminar and shared his observations on the sidelines of the Queen’s Baton Relay event. He said, “The facilities in Gold Coast – sports, training and athletes’ village venues – are impressive and operationally-ready. The Commonwealth Games has a unique integrated para-sport programme which means this is the only major Games where our para and able-bodied athletes come together to compete as one contingent. I look forward to being part of this team and hope to take an athlete-centric approach to work with the team to ensure a competition-conducive environment at the Games.”
Former gymnast Lim Heem Wei will assist Chay as the assistant chef de mission. The 28-year-old, who competed at the Commonwealth Games (2010, 2014), Asian Games and SEA Games was the first Singaporean gymnast to qualify for the Olympic Games (2012). The 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medalist and SEA Games gold medalist is currently the sport development manager at Singapore Gymnastics.
At the Glasgow 2014 Games, Team Singapore athletes clinched a total of eight gold, five silver and four bronze medals. Swimmer Joseph Schooling brought home the first medal in swimming at the Games, and shooters Teo Shun Xie and Jasmine Ser outperformed their peers to set Games records in the women’s 10m Air Pistol and 50m Rifle 3 Position events. Singapore has previously won medals in these sports at the Games – Badminton, Boxing, Gymnastics, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis and Weightlifting.
The Queen’s Baton Relay is a Games tradition that celebrates the Commonwealth’s diversity. The Gold Coast 2018 Relay is set to be the longest, spanning 230,000km over 388 days and will make its way through six Commonwealth regions of Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Oceania.
There was plenty of excitement at the Botanic Gardens this morning as guests caught the first glimpse of the Queen’s Baton. Athletes from para athletics, gymnastics, swimming, shooting, rugby and table tennis joined Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, President of Commonwealth Games Singapore at the Queen’s Baton stopover at Botanic Gardens.
The Queen’s Baton arrived from Brunei Darussalam. While in Singapore, it will stop over at significant landmarks such as the Merlion Park and Marina Bay Sands and preside at various activities organised by different communities until it departs on 31 October for Nauru. Baton bearers in Singapore include athletes who have qualified and are vying to qualify for the Games.
Swimmer Roanne Ho (25), whose timing at the SEA Games meets the qualification criteria set out by the CGS said, “The Gold Coast Games will be my first Commonwealth Games and I am really excited to compete there. Since my surgeries last year, recovery and training have been on track. Setting a new national record and winning the SEA Games was a bonus. It’s not time to rest on my laurels, the timings at the Commonwealth level are much faster and I believe I have more in the tank to push further. Having the opportunity and privilege to be part of the Queen’s Baton Relay is a reminder of the work I have to put in and certainly motivation for me to work even harder.”
Shooter and recent SEA Games gold medallist Martina Lindsay Veloso (18), who was only 14 years old when she took part in the Glasgow Games, echoed similar sentiments, “Being part of the Queen’s Baton Relay brings back fond memories of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, which was my first senior major Games. This time, I hope to qualify in more than one event and will aim to better my fifth placing in 2014.”