Speech by Mr Masagos Zulkifli BMM, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Home Affairs, at the Youth Sports Conference Closing Ceremony at Victoria Junior College on Thursday, 27 May 2010, at 4pm

Distinguished Guests and Colleagues,

Boys and Girls,

Good evening.


I am glad to join you at the closing of the Youth Sports Conference. As we close this short but important chapter in the lead-up to the Youth Olympic Games (YOG), please take a moment to reflect on what was it that made you come here, and what you hoped to achieve through this Conference.

Sports and Life

I would hazard a guess that a love of sports must have motivated many of you to join this Conference. In the last two days, you have been busy listening to the speakers, and today, you have been busy learning a new sport. Despite the bustle of the last two days, I hope you have had many opportunities to make friends with like-minded students, understand them and respect different views and cultures. Sports have a unifying aura, and lasting friendships are often forged on the sporting field. All of you have a bright future ahead, and I hope that as you strive for success and excellence, you will not forget the friendships that make life more worthwhile.

Excellence, friendship and respect embody the core values of the Olympics. It is my hope that you will exemplify these values and pass them on. You can become the role models that your fellow school mates look up to.

You would have learnt from the conference that sports can benefit us. It helps us develop an active and healthy lifestyle from young, which can last throughout the rest of life. You have also learnt some new games and more about the twenty six sports which will feature in the YOG. Do share these new knowledge and experiences with your friends by leading discussions or even be the source of information for the YOG sports.

In addition, the mass dance that you will participating in later this evening could serve as a common activity that your schoolmates could learn and adopt as an energizer for the coming Games. For example, the whole school could have a mass dance to signal the start of the Games or celebrate achievements of your twinned National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in the Games.


In conclusion, I wish to express my appreciation to the Principal, staff and students of Victoria Junior College for being such excellent hosts, and for making this Conference possible. I also want to thank all our invited speakers and athletes for sharing their wisdom, passion, and motivations. My congratulations also to all the winners of the Banner Design Competition, Sports Booth Contest and Best Group. I can sense your enthusiasm for the Games through your amazing art-work and team spirit.

Students, I hope your involvement with the YOG will not just end here. Having heard so much about the various aspects of sports from the experts and champions, as well as about the upcoming YOG, you must be brimming over with ideas to share with your school mates. I hope you will each carry a fire in your hearts when you go away from here, a fire that will ignite excitement and passion for sports and the YOG in everyone you come in contact with.

Let me leave all of you with this quote by Jesse Owens, an African-American track and field athlete who was the first to win four gold medals at the Olympics, setting 3 world records and tying a fourth all in a span of 45 minutes:

“In the end, it’s extra effort that separates a winner from second place. But winning takes a lot more that that, too. It starts with complete command of the fundamentals. Then it takes desire, determination, discipline, and self-sacrifice. And finally, it takes a great deal of love, fairness and respect for your fellow man. Put all these together, and even if you don’t win, how can you lose?”

Enjoy the mass dance and the rest of the evening. Thank you.