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Special Olympics and the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore joined together for an evening of fun and fundraising during the Sport-Fest Gala Dinner on October 14. Proceeds benefit Special Olympics’ 911, 511 athletes over 24 programs in Asia Pacific. Guest of Honor US Ambassador to Singapore David Adelman and Event Chair Janice Armstrong, Head of Government and Public Affairs, Asia Pacific at GlaxoSmithKline, plus over 250 corporate guests came together to raise more than SGD$50,000.

For the evening’s theme ‘Sports Chic’, many guests broadly interpreted the dress code. Some guests chose the standard sneakers and sports cap with evening wear route, while
others were more sporting in their getup. One paired bike shorts with a batik print shirt, complete with visor, and another channeled equestrian chic with an all white look of jodhpurs, high necked top, shimmering heels and a riding crop. She walked away with the ‘Best Dressed’ title later in the night.

During the pre-function hour, Special Olympics Malaysia athletes connected with guests at interactive basketball and table tennis stations, surprising the business executives with their keen sporting skills. The activity was a hit with guests, many of whom were queuing patiently to play sports with the athletes.

The evening’s program featured a live auction with a range of unique experiences, including a behind the scenes tour on ESPN’s SportsCenter Asia, a Brewerkz microbrewery tour and Singapore Slingers Game experience, and a lunch with Professor Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large and one of Singapore’s distinguished leaders for heritage and the arts. The silent auction included a Pele signed ball, an autographed Rascal Flatts guitar, and a Private Cooking Class for four people at Expat Kitchen.

The highlight of the evening was US Ambassador David Adelman personally auctioning off his prize:  a private dinner for six at his residence. The spirited bidding came down to two individuals rallying back and forth. Ambassador Adelman graciously agreed to host a second evening, closing the top two bids at $8,800 each.  Longtime Special Olympics supporter Michael Dee also literally took the shirt off the Ambassador’s back, pledging $500 for the Ambassador’s Atlanta Braves jersey he was wearing that night.

Athlete speaker Salihin bin Sinai received a standing ovation after delivering his first speech ever! Salihin recounted how he started with Special Olympics Singapore and how it prepared him for his Kilimanjaro journey. He paid tribute to his two mentors cum coaches, Michael Dee and JC Yeo for their commitment, and thanked his family for their love and unwavering support.

Procter & Gamble also announced their new partnership with Special Olympics which will raise awareness and funds beginning in early 2012 in five Southeast Asian markets: Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.

The event was a huge success with many companies coming forward to offer additional support and pledges to get involved with Special Olympics in the future. More importantly, guests left the dinner with an understanding of the Movement, and how sports can profoundly alter an athlete’s life.

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