Singapore's paddlers celebrate Olympic medal win with fans
30 August 2008 1637 hrs (SST)
SINGAPORE: With the recent controversy over management issues in the team put firmly behind them, it was celebration time in the heartlands for Singapore's Beijing Olympic silver medallists.
A crowd, carrying placards, turned up at Ang Mo Kio's FairPrice Xtra a good hour before the arrival of Singapore's Olympian paddlers.
Some 100 fans were rewarded with an autographed poster.
Others behind the players were also given their due recognition by FairPrice who sponsored the celebrations.
Among them was team manager Antony Lee, who was moved by the accolade given by Ng Ser Miang, vice-president of the Singapore National Olympic Council.
Lee, who spent little time with his 5-month-old child in the preparations leading up to the Beijing Olympics, received a gift of milk powder from the supermarket chain.
Also honoured was Singapore's first Olympic medallist, Tan Howe Liang, who won a silver in the 1960 Games. He was acknowledged as the inspiration for Singapore's medal quest.
President of the Singapore Table Tennis Association Lee Bee Wah was given a pair of running shoes - a reflection of the the big shoes she has to fill in building on the team's Olympics success.
Mr Ng said the recent controversy involving the table tennis team has been a blessing in disguise, because they can learn valuable lessons from this incident as they prepare for their next big challenge, the 2012 Olympic Games.
He said it gave the National Sports Associations "something to ponder on how we should really do team-building and resolve issues first."
After the weekend celebrations, the paddlers will have to prepare for another competition - the Women's World Cup starting in Kuala Lumpur next week.