SINGAPORE: The Singapore Aquatics (SAQ) celebrated a milestone moment during its 85th Anniversary Gala Fundraising Dinner, as 12 inductees were included in the inaugural Singapore Aquatics Hall of Fame.

The Republic’s President, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, was present to witness this momentous occasion, accompanied by Ms Jane Ittogi, Minister for Community, Culture and Youth, and Second Minister for Law, Mr Edwin Tong.

Among the inductees were Olympic champion Joseph Schooling, para-swimmers Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh, and swimming legends Patricia Chan and Junie Sng.

The 1951 Asian Games 4x100m freestyle relay team, comprising Barry Mitchell, Lionel Chee, Neo Chwee Kok, and Wiebe Wolters, was also honoured for their pioneering achievements.

Aquatic legends Ang Peng Siong and Joscelin Yeo also have their names embedded in the Hall of Fame.

Ang was once hailed as the fastest swimmer in the world, making history in 1982 by shattering the 50m freestyle record with a blistering 22.69 seconds at the United States Swimming Championships.

He capped an exceptional year by claiming the gold medal in the 100m freestyle at the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, India.

Singapore’s swimming sensation Yeo etched her name in history by clinching a record 40th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medal at the 2005 Games in the Philippines.

It was a remarkable feat that remains unbroken to this day as the most medals won by a single athlete in the regional games, a testament to her unparalleled dominance and enduring legacy in Singapore aquatics.

“The inductees laid the foundations for our Aquatic Nation. They showed us how determination and dedication lead to excellence. They paved the way for the aquathletes of today and tomorrow. We must not forget them and what they achieved.

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Singapore Aquatics recognised this some years ago, and we formed the Legacy Council,” said Patricia Chan, the chairperson of the Singapore Aquatics Legacy Council.

President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Ms Jane Ittogi with guests during SAQ’s 85th Anniversary Fundraising Dinner (Photo credit: Singapore Aquatics)

Held at the Raffles Convention Centre on May 10, the Singapore Aquatics Hall of Fame was initiated to honour the exceptional accomplishments and enduring legacy of past Singapore national aquatic athletes, whose remarkable contributions have left an indelible mark on the country’s thriving aquatic community.

Recognition into the Hall of Fame not only celebrates the achievements of aquatics legends but also inspires future generations.

Junie Sng, a 1970s and early 1980s swimming icon, beamed with gratitude and humility at her inclusion in the inaugural batch of the Singapore Aquatics Hall of Fame.

Sng won multiple gold medals at the SEA Games and bagged two gold medals and a silver medal at the 1978 Asian Games in Thailand.

“Being inducted into the Singapore Aquatics Hall of Fame is a tremendous honour.

It is a recognition of not just my achievements, but also the countless hours of dedication and hard work put in by everyone who has supported me along the way.

I am truly grateful to be part of such a prestigious legacy, and I hope to inspire future generations to pursue excellence in the world of aquatics,” said Sng.

The Singapore Disability Sports Council was also recognised as a partner of the Singapore Aquatics Hall of Fame, and its representatives participated on the nomination panel that determined future inductees.

Two Singapore national para-swimmers, Yip and Goh, were among the 12 inductees in the inaugural Hall of Fame.

Yip is a five-time Paralympic gold medalist and four-time world champion. She is also a two-time European Open champion and has three world records to her name.

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The former Nominated Member of Parliament (Oct 2018 to Jun 2020) recently won two gold medals at the Madeira 2024 Para Swimming European Open Championships.

She claimed the top spot in the 100m Backstroke S2 event (2:17.20) and the 50m Backstroke S2 event (1:05.14).

Goh has won multiple gold medals in various championships, including the world championships and the ASEAN ParaGames.

She won the bronze medal at the 2006 Rio Paralympic Games and retired from competitive swimming in 2019.

Minister for Community, Culture and Youth and Second Minister for Law, Edwin Tong with Singapore’s National Swimmers (Photo credit: Singapore Aquatics)

“This partnership between us and SAQ marks a significant milestone in our commitment to promote inclusivity and supporting athletes across a spectrum of abilities.

We are thrilled to be part of SAQ’s Singapore Aquatics Hall of Fame to recognise the trailblazers of the aquatics field, further highlighting the diverse talents within our sporting community,” said Singapore Disability Sports Council President, Dr Teo-Koh Sock Miang.

SAQ also announced that through its fundraising efforts this year, including donations from well-wishers and sponsors during the dinner, over $1,000,000 will benefit the development of aquatic athletes in Singapore.

“The Singapore Aquatics Hall of Fame represents a milestone in our commitment to honour the remarkable contributions of individuals who have shaped Singapore’s aquatic community.

We are privileged to recognise all these esteemed figures, whose achievements have left an everlasting mark on our sport,” mentioned Mark Chay, Singapore Aquatics president.

Among other aquatics and development programmes, the money raised will go towards coaching and technical specialists to ensure that swimmers qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympics will have the best preparation for the Games.

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In addition, Singapore Aquatics will also use the funds to enhance infrastructure and the daily training environment and support overseas training and competition opportunities.

The Singapore Aquatics Hall of Fame

1) Swimming – 1951 Asian Games – Gold (4x100m freestyle relay)

Barry Mitchell, Lionel Chee, Neo Chwee Kok, Wiebe Wolters

2) Water Polo – 1954 Asian Games – Gold

Kee Soon Bee, Tan Hwee Hock, Gan Eng Teck, Tan Eng Bock, Keith Mitchell, Oh Chwee Hock Ho Kian Bin

3) Swimming – 1978 Asian Games – Double Gold (400m & 800m freestyle) – Junie Sng

4) Swimming – 1982 Asian Games – Gold (100m freestyle) – Ang Peng Siong

5) Swimming – 39 SEA(P) Games golds from 39 events – a perfect record – Patricia Chan

6) Swimming – Record 40 SEA Games gold medals – Joscelin Yeo

7) Swimming – 2016 Olympic Games – Gold (100m butterfly) – Joseph Schooling

8) Swimming – 2006 & 2010 Asian Games – Gold (50m butterfly) – Tao Li

Contributors (e.g. Coach, Official, Volunteer or Parent)

9) Water Polo – Coach of the Year in 1982, Team of the Year (Water Polo) 1976 & 1978 – Kenneth Kee

10) Water Polo – Chairman of the Singapore Sports Council (1975 to 1991), and Vice-President of the Singapore National Olympic Council (1992 to 2020) – Dr Tan Eng Liang

Para-athletes

11) Swimming – 2016 & 2008 Paralympic Games, 2018 Asian Para Games – Gold Medals – Yip Pin Xiu

12) Swimming – 2016 Paralympic Games – Bronze, 2006 Para Swimming World Championships – Gold – Theresa Goh