Saturday, June 6, 2015

Timor Leste: Small nation with big dreams

SINGAPORE: Tiny Timor Leste, founded just 13 years ago, has big dreams.

She dreams of hosting the SEA Games one day.

A year after gaining independence in 2002, Timor Leste joined the South-east Asian Games Federation (SEAGF) as the 11th member.

The former Portuguese colony made their SEA Games debut the same year and have been part of the regional meet since.

But Timor Leste don’t want to be mere participants, they want to be play an even bigger role.

Timor Leste chef de mission Laurentino Guteres has spoken of his country’s intention to bring the Games to the nation that’s equivalent to Kelantan in size.

Laurentino believes they’ll be ready to host the Games in about 10 to 15 years.

“We’d like to host the Games in the coming years, but it will take some time,” Laurentino was quoted as saying in Singapore’s The New Paper.

“Countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia have very good infrastructure ... Timor Leste is only 13 years old and we’re still far away.”

Timor Leste, the smallest contingent among the competing nations with just 66 athletes, are taking part in seven of the 35 sports contested in Singapore.

The seven sports are athletics, basketball, boxing, cycling, football, pencak silat and taekwondo.

They have won three gold medals in kempo so far in the Games’ history, with the first clinched during the 2011 Palembang Games.

The Star Online

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