SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF ASIA PACIFIC MASTERS GAMES (APMG) 2018
8 SEPTEMBER 2018
On behalf of the State Government and the people of Penang, I would like to extend a warm welcome, or as we say in Malay, “Selamat Datang”, to every participant of the inaugural Asia Pacific Masters Games 2018.
Penang is honoured to have you here. For those returning to Penang, it is good to have you back. For those visiting Penang for the first time, please take the time to explore what our state has to offer from nature to heritage to festivals to entertainment to food, and I am sure you will fall in love with Penang.
Today is a historic day for Penang, and for the Masters Games worldwide as we celebrate the staging of the first-ever Masters Games to be held in Asia. Finally, there is a multi-sport Masters event for Asians to call it our own. With the APMG taking off in Penang and the next World Masters Games being held in Kansai, Japan in 2021, I am confident that the efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially for Masters or senior people, will gain steam in Asian countries.
When the Penang State Government first took on the challenge of hosting this Games in December 2016, we set a target of attracting 5,000 participants to the inaugural Asia Pacific Masters Games. It was not an easy task as the Masters Games concept is still in its infancy stage in this part of the world. But I feel proud to announce today that we succeeded in surpassing the target, with a total of 5,564 participants from 64 different nations with us here to compete in 22 sports over the nine days of competition in both island and mainland of the state.
The Games also involves 1,067 officials and over 1,000 volunteers and 1,000 performers who are involved in this beautiful opening ceremony tonight.
Penang’s feat has been acknowledged by the Malaysia Book of Records, as the first-ever Masters Games to be held in the region, with the greatest number of participating countries represented.
The APMG 2018 project has been taken to the heart by the people of Penang. This is our Games, and we will do our best to ensure all the participants are offered the best competition opportunities inside the sporting arena, and Malaysia’s famous warm hospitality outside the sporting arena. There will be minor shortcomings, but I sincerely hope everyone can pull together to overcome these obstacles and put on a Games to be proud of.
For the thousands of local and foreign participants, families and friends who are in Penang for APMG 2018, I invite you to sample the best Penang has to offer. My advice to the participants is: The APMG 2018 should not be about all work and no play. You will have the opportunity to compete and experience the unique conditions that make our state so special.
In between your sports engagements, come and enjoy our warm hospitality while you explore attractions like the George Town UNESCO Heritage Site enclave, our serene beaches and the ride up to Penang Hill. Most importantly, make sure to get a first-hand taste of why Penang is known worldwide as a top tourist destination and street food destination in Asia.
Masters Games throughout the world have emphasised the importance of goodwill, making friends and staying healthy, and the APMG 2018 is no different.
Befitting the APMG 2018 tagline “Beyond The Games”, it is my sincere hope that by the end of APMG 2018, everyone returns home with plenty of good memories.
I look forward to experiencing the celebration of Masters sports and the writing of a new legacy for Masters Games in Asia together with you during APMG 2018.