In the last 100 years, Singapore has quickly transformed from a small country to a global economic powerhouse. This rapid modernization and growth have been accompanied by an increase in participation in sports among its citizens and more emphasis on winning medals at international competitions.
For instance, during the 1960s and 1970s, it regularly ranked within the top 30 countries for medals won at the Olympics.
Today, it ranks consistently among the top 20 countries for medals. In addition, Singapore sports history is full of significant moments and iconic athletes that have shaped its identity as a country over time.
– The first known Singaporean to win a medal at the Olympics was Tan Howe Liang, who won silver in weightlifting during the 1960 Rome Olympics. He became one of six athletes and the only weightlifter from Southeast Asia to win an Olympic Medal before 1972.
– The Singaporean swimmer Joscelin Yeo was one of seven swimmers to beat Marilyn King’s 1964 Olympic Record and set an Olympic record for 100m butterfly at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.
– Singapore’s first Olympic Gold medalist was Dr. Joseph Schooling, who won gold in Men’s 100m Butterfly during the 2016 Rio Olympics; he also holds a national record for swimming 50m freestyle (long course).
– Fandi Ahmad is one of Singapore’s most successful footballers and is the first Singaporean to play professional football in Europe. He played for Dutch clubs such as Groningen and NAC Breda. In 1993, he became the first Singaporean footballer to sign a contract with Malaysia’s M-League team Johor FA.
In addition, Team Singapore has won numerous regional medals at the Southeast Asian Games.