Singapore Sports Scene

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by Loh, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    When it first arrived on our shores in 2003, the Japanese club was intended to provide a challenge to local football clubs. Today, however, the club says they seek to contribute more directly to the state of Singaporean football.

    This change means they’re subject to the same foreign player limits as other clubs. They’ll also represent Singapore in continental competitions should they qualify.

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    Team Manager Dominic in his office. Image: Stephanie Lee for RICE Media

    It spells a drastic overnight overhaul in their lineup, though team manager Dominic assures me the transition will be smooth.

    “We’ve had discussions with FAS and UTR (Unleash the Roar, the government body recently set up to work with stakeholders to develop Singaporean football). We’ve been preparing for the past few years.”

    He points to Adam Swandi and Ilhan Fandi as proof of Albirex’s track record with local players. “Our connections helped Ilhan play in Belgium,” Dominic explains. “Localisation means we contribute more directly to Singapore’s national team.”

    “Within the staff, our general manager, Koh Mui Tee, is Singaporean. Half the technical staff is Singaporean. Our kitmen are Singaporean.”

    “We want to develop the footballing ecosystem, benefitting Singaporean football and our club,” Dominic continues.

    “We’re providing free coaching workshops to create an environment where coaches are competent, which benefits youngsters.”

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    Image: Stephanie Lee for RICE Media

    The way the club is set up now makes it clear that Albirex is here to stay for the long term.

    “We’re scouting players who embrace our Albirex way—players who can produce entertaining and competitive football. We’re also looking for senior players like Hassan or Lee to guide our younger players. We won’t be a club that plays for the sake of playing.”

    Nazrul Nazari, Hougang’s number 4 with 60 appearances for the national team, hurries to the side of the pitch for a drink. Some fans shout, “Come to Albirex, Nazrul!”

    The veteran right-back glances over his shoulder and smiles.

    The referee blows the game-ending whistle, signalling the end of the Singapore Premier League season. The scoreboard reads 5-0, reflecting Albirex’s on-pitch domination.

    The crowd roars in jubilation as team Albirex lifts the league trophy. Fans pour into the pitch to celebrate with the players. Haziq puts a crown on Coach Kazuaki, proclaiming him King Kazu.

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    ‘King Kazu’. Image courtesy of the author

    The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
    Amidst the joy, there’s an undercurrent of fleetingness to the celebrations. Most players will leave by the year’s end.

    Tadanari, currently swarmed by hordes of Japanese expats, is retiring. As their contracts expire, Japanese university graduates must seek pastures anew.

    “The football level in Thailand or Malaysia is higher. I hope to join a team that provides high-level opportunities,” Goji remarks.

    “I wish to return to Japan,” says Shodai. “I want to play at a high level.”

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    Goji (left) and Shodai (right). Image: Stephanie Lee for RICE Media

    The changes to the club aren’t limited to the team roster. “The transition will be difficult,” Dominic offers, “but it’s also rewarding in furthering our existing community engagement and attracting more local fans”.

    I ask if Japanese fans or sponsors might tune out with increasing localisation. “No,” Dominic affirms.

    “We want to show we’re competitive and play attractive football. We still have our system of soccer and cheer schools. Our marquee foreign players will likely be Japanese.”

    Haziq and Amir are optimistic.

    “The formula of discipline, the pedigree, the system is there, regardless of who’s playing. Our youth teams and our women’s team, all local, are doing well. Look at how Ilhan, Fandi Ahmad’s son, came here. Young players who want to play good football will come. Doing it with local West boys will only raise spirits. I believe we’ll still compete.”

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    Image: Stephanie Lee for RICE Media

    How do club changes figure into attempts to change the larger Singaporean football landscape? Dominic tells me that they’ll leave that issue to FAS—Albirex can only do what it can for now.

    Amir says that the establishment of UTR appears promising. The changes to Albirex seem aligned with UTR’s attempts to improve the local football development system through broadening access, improving coaching and—in typical Singaporean fashion—offering overseas scholarships to the most promising prospects.

    But amongst fans, there is also scepticism: UTR isn’t the first government-led initiative aspiring towards World Cup qualification. While fans understand long-term projects can only be judged after some time, there are rumblings about accountability in the present. There are rumours of friction regarding club football: UTR plans to privatise the Singapore Premier League and have the SPL come under UTR’s purview from last year appear to be delayed.

    “UTR was set up because FIFA rules mean the government can’t directly intervene in the FAS,” claims Amir. As fans, they can only hope this uneasy marriage will bear fruit.

    The brothers, on their part, say they’ll continue promoting their team and, by extension, local football.

    The floodlights dim, and the waxing crescent moon hangs above Jurong East Stadium. I thank Haziq for his hospitality.

    “Don’t worry about it,” he smiles. “This is the spirit of Albirex. We are family.”
     
    #901 Loh, Oct 6, 2023
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2023
  2. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Ngo Lan Huong wins first Asiad xiangqi medal for Singapore
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    Singapore's Ngo Lan Huong during her match against Vietnam's Nguyen Hoang Yen. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

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    David Lee
    Sports Correspondent
    UPDATED
    9 HOURS AGO

    HANGZHOU – With a patient yet aggressive approach, Ngo Lan Huong delivered Singapore’s first Asian Games xiangqi medal on Saturday.

    In the seventh and final round of the women’s individual event at the Hangzhou Qiyuan Chess Hall, the 43-year-old beat Vietnam’s Nguyen Hoang Yen to take her tally to 10 points and finish third out of 13 exponents, ahead of Malaysia’s Jee Xin Ru by two points.

    The finalists were decided after the sixth round on Friday, and China’s Zuo Wenjing defeated compatriot Wang Linna to claim gold. Fiona Tan, Singapore’s other representative, finished 11th.

    A bashful Ngo said: “I’m very happy to deliver this medal. It was not easy because there are top players here. I made a few bad moves against Zuo earlier and didn’t play well but she is the world champion and was expected to win.

    “Today, I knew I had to win because the scores were very tight and I would lose the medal even with a draw. That’s why I tried to attack, but with such high stakes, I was nervous and took some time to make my moves. Fortunately, she was in the same situation, which perhaps affected her more than me, and I capitalised.”

    Xiangqi is a two-player strategy board game that is similar to international chess.

    Over five days in Hangzhou, Ngo also recorded wins against Thailand’s Suratsada Promsirinimit, compatriot Tan and Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Phi Liem, and draws against Wang and Malaysia’s Jee, with one loss to Zuo.

    Ngo, who was born in Vietnam, started representing her country of birth at 14 after learning how to play from her elderly neighbours, and has over 20 years of professional playing experience.

    She married former Singapore player Anthony Kng in 2012, moved to the Republic in 2015 and became a citizen six years later. Despite a seven-year hiatus to raise their daughter, the former world championship silver medallist retained her Midas touch.

    Convinced to make a comeback when xiangqi made its debut at the SEA Games in 2022, she won a silver and bronze in Hanoi, and also finished third at the 2022 world championships before clinching an unprecedented SEA Games gold in Phnom Penh in May.

    Ngo had issues with her hotel room pillow in Cambodia then, but had no such problems in Hangzhou. While she did find the weather here chilly, it has not affected her form.

    In the past few months, she prepared for this meet by training more than 10 hours in person and online per week, and will now look ahead to the world championships in the United States in November.

    Singapore Xiangqi General Association vice-president Benny Chow hopes Ngo’s exploits can spur a new generation of players.

    He said: “This medal means a lot to us because we were very hungry to win it even against tough opposition. We hope this will help promote xiangqi in Singapore and more of the younger generation will be interested to get involved in this game.”

    Meanwhile, 1.3m Zuo was also inspirational as she stood tall on the podium despite having dwarfism.

    The 29-year-old was three when she was diagnosed with achondroplasia, but when her xiangqi talent was discovered at age eight, her parents moved from Shandong to Wuhan to seek coaching from international grandmaster Liu Dahua. In 2022, she was crowned world champion.

    Zuo thanked table tennis legend Ding Ning, whom she scored a wefie with at the athletes’ village. She said: “I was nervous before we won the mixed team gold and I couldn’t help but ask her what would you do in such a situation.

    “She told me without calmness, defeat is certain. I tried to keep this in mind, which has helped me a lot, and I want to thank her.”

    In the men’s individual final, Zheng Weitong beat Zhao Xinxin in an all-China affair, while Vietnam’s Lai Ly Huynh earned the bronze. Singapore’s Low Yi Hao and Alvin Woo finished fourth and 10th respectively out of 18 exponents.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    For the ‘love of the game’, xiangqi’s Sok Theng, 84, is oldest athlete at Asian Games
    Late ruling ends Singapore’s hopes of reaching contract bridge mixed team final
     
  3. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Dip in gold medals, but officials hail ‘successful’ Asian Games for Singapore
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    Sprint queen Shanti Pereira won the women's 200m, which was one of three golds that Singapore claimed at the Asian Games. PHOTO: ST FILE
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    David Lee
    Sports Correspondent
    UPDATED
    9 HOURS AGO

    HANGZHOU – Not since the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok have Team Singapore returned home with fewer than four gold medals, but this time in Hangzhou, the Republic’s largest-ever contingent had a worst-ever haul of golds and overall medals this millennium.

    Despite the dip in performance, top sports officials hailed the Hangzhou outing as a “successful” one with “significant wins” for Singapore’s athletes. However, they also acknowledged that other countries in the region have developed and improved more significantly than Singapore.

    Of the 427-strong contingent, 334 were debutants and the athletes competed in 32 sports, with seven contributing medals

    Team Singapore won three golds, six silvers and seven bronzes in China to rank 20th out of 45 national Olympic committees as of press time – they were fifth in South-east Asia. At the 2018 edition, they claimed a haul of 22 medals (4-4-14).

    Speaking at a press conference on Team Singapore’s performance at the Games, Singapore Sport Institute (SSI) chief Su Chun Wei said: “This, in my view, is a successful Asian Games for Team Singapore and we have continued to set new highs.

    “Many of these performances we have witnessed here in Hangzhou have inspired the Singapore spirit and united Singaporeans.”

    Among the highlight reels were standout performances in Olympic sports such as athletics, sailing, swimming and canoeing.

    Paris-bound sprint queen Shanti Pereira delivered Singapore’s first track and field gold medal in 49 years when she won the women’s 200m final to add to her 100m silver. Fellow sprinter Marc Louis also bettered U.K. Shyam’s 22-year-old mark in the men’s 100m by 0.1sec after clocking 10.27sec in the semi-finals.

    Over in Ningbo, the national sailors brought home the bulk of the medals with two golds, two silvers and three bronzes. World champion kitefoiler Maximilian Maeder won all the races in his event, while men’s ILCA 7 champion Ryan Lo earned Singapore an Olympic quota spot.

    Swimmer Teong Tzen Wei also made waves with a men’s 50m butterfly silver to soothe the pain of 10 fourth-place finishes, as his teammates set five national records and 10 personal best timings, while in canoeing, kayaker Stephenie Chen won a historic silver in the women’s singles K1 500m.

    Dr Su added: “Most of these medals were from Olympic events. This demonstrates that we have the ability, strength and depth of capability to win beyond SEA Games at the Asian and world level.”

    Noting the exclusion of sports like bowling and pencak silat that contributed medals in 2018, Singapore National Olympic Council secretary-general Chris Chan said: “The standards at the Asian Games are exceptional. We have achieved some significant wins. Let’s build on this momentum to continue strengthening the sporting system and culture for Singapore as we prepare for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

    Elsewhere, there were also breakthroughs in wushu and xianqi. Jowen Lim won a first Asiad silver in the men’s daoshu and gunshu all-round event and Kimberly Ong also chipped in with a women’s changquan event bronze.

    Ngo Lan Huong won the Republic’s first xiangqi medal with a bronze on Saturday.

    The women’s and mixed bridge teams also contributed to the medal tally with two bronze medals.

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    Singapore National Olympic Council secretary general Chris Chan, Team Singapore chef-de-mission Koh Koon Teck and Singapore Sport Institute chief Su Chun Wei at a press conference on Saturday. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

    But there were also disappointments, including heavy defeats in women’s football, rugby sevens, hockey and softball, and early exits in others.

    Singling out fencing, table tennis, badminton, shooting and hockey, Dr Su noted that they have had success at the SEA Games but must “continue to improve to be successful at the Asian Games”.

    He added: “Our competitors at the Asian level and beyond have improved faster, stronger and higher than ourselves. This is an important lesson for us to take back and reflect so that we can do better and train more intelligently against our competitors.”

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Athletes qualified for Asiad on merit, insists Singapore official after poor results in some sports
    Shanti Pereira: How Singapore’s finest sprinter found her speed

    Richard Gordon, SSI’s head of high performance and athlete life, shared that a detailed review of the Games will be conducted in the upcoming months with input from analysts, athletes, coaches and team managers.

    He said: “I don’t think there’s a system issue... Some countries are accelerating faster and we’ve got to be able to resolve that.

    “This is what happened in the pool. We had more than 30 finalists, far better than 2018, but the headline is we did not push through to the medals. There’s been a change in guard in the athletes with Joseph Schooling not with us... but maybe, we will be in a better position at the next Games three years away.

    “Smaller nations tend to have this ebb and flow, while the larger nations, because they’ve got the volume, will tend to transit through.”

    Team Singapore chef de mission Koh Koon Teck also thanked hosts China for their “top-notch” organisation, and the support team behind the athletes for making it an incident-free Games.

    He said: “We have witnessed many heartfelt performances by our athletes. Everyone contributed to put in their utmost to work for one common goal – to make Singapore proud.”

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Ngo Lan Huong wins first Asiad xiangqi medal for Singapore
    Singapore badminton still pushing to reach top level, says SBA technical director
     
  4. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Asian Games 2023: 5 takeaways from Team Singapore's showing in Hangzhou
    Shanti Pereira's monumental sprint gold is obvious highlight, but heavy defeats and low medal haul should prompt reviews and tweaks
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    Chia Han Keong

    ·Editor
    Updated Sun, October 8, 2023 at 10:12 AM GMT+8·8 min read
    0
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    Outstanding Team Singapore athletes at the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games: (from left) swimmer Teong Tzen Wei, kitefoiler Maximilian Maeder, sprinter Shanti Pereira and kayaker Stephenie Chen. (PHOTOS: Getty Images/SNOC/Sport Singapore)


    SINGAPORE — After 15 days of competition, Team Singapore came away from the Hangzhou Asian Games with a medal tally of three golds, six silvers and seven bronzes.

    While the medal tally is fewer than the city-state's haul at the previous Asiad in 2018 (four golds, four silvers and 14 bronzes), it is nonetheless similar to what Singapore had been winning in the past three Games editions.

    Here are five takeaways from the Singaporean athletes' performances in Hangzhou:

    Shanti Pereira's dominant year puts her on the pantheon of greats
    It is the privilege of Singapore sports fans that, in a space of seven years, they were able to witness three monumental feats - achievements which had seemed impossible to attain for a small nation still searching for a strong sporting culture.

    Joseph Schooling winning Olympic swimming gold in 2016; Loh Kean Yew becoming badminton world champion in 2021; and now, Shanti Pereira has put herself among the pantheon of the greatest Singapore athletes with her magnificent 200m gold and 100m silver in Hangzhou.

    Not only did she end Singapore's 49-year wait for an Asiad track-and-field medal, but she also won the 200m in such convincing fashion, qualifying fastest for the final and then powering away so thrillingly from the forlorn chasing pack. Only 0.04 seconds separated her from gold in the 100m - and an even more majestic achievement.

    That is why Pereira's dominant performances are as great as Schooling's Olympic gold and Loh's world title, even though her achievements were only on a regional level compared to the duo. Schooling's extraordinary triumph in Rio de Janeiro arguably came from the left field - he was not the hot favourite to win. Neither was Loh, who was an even more unlikely winner given his No.22 world ranking then.

    But Pereira laid down a strong indication over the course of this year that she was the sprinter to beat in Asia - winning the 100m and 200m in both the SEA Games and the Asian Athletics Championships, breaking national records and setting season-best times.

    And she did not crack, despite the weight of history and the pressure of being the favourite. That is her supreme accomplishment - showing Singapore that it is possible to produce sporting perfection when everyone is expecting her to do so.

    Pereira's already planning for her next big sporting adventure - next year's Paris Olympics. It is a massive challenge, but she is nonetheless assured of her place among Singapore's sporting greats.

    Maximilian Maeder is best hope for medal at Paris Olympics
    As much as Singaporeans should celebrate Pereira's momentous year of Asian triumphs, they should also be realistic to understand that she has a long way to go to be in contention for Olympic medals, once the dominant US and Jamaican sprinters come into the picture.

    But that does not mean there is no one in Team Singapore who could be in medal contention in Paris next year. In fact, kitefoiler Maximilian Maeder has a strong chance to fight for the gold medal in his sailing category.

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    Singapore kitefoiler Maximilian Maeder celebrates winning gold after a dominant showing in the Formula Kite competition. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore/Jeremy Lee) (JEREMY LEE)
    The 17-year-old swept to an Asian Games gold in the Formula Kite competition, and it was not even close, as he won all his 16 races at the Ningbo Xiangshan Sailing Centre. That cemented the teenager's reputation was one of the world's brightest talents in this new sailing sport, which will make its debut at the Paris Olympics.

    And judging from his Sailing World Championships title win in August, he is already in the mix of contenders for Olympic honours. Hopefully, he can continue to work towards hitting peak form next year, and who knows, a second Olympic gold for Singapore may not be a distant dream.
     
  5. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Swimmers feel pain of just missing out on medals
    They are dominant in Southeast Asia, but Singapore swimmers had a sobering Asian Games outing, winning only one silver medal from Teong Tzen Wei - the first time they had failed to clinch at least a gold medal since the 2002 Busan Games.

    Even more agonisingly, they came in fourth in a staggering 10 events, some of those just milliseconds away from the bronze. To cap it off in brutal fashion, the women's 4x100m medley team were shattered after coming in third, only to be disqualified due to a false start.

    It is an understandable comedown after the giddy years of Schooling and Tao Li sweeping to golds from 2006 to 2018, but the Hangzhou outing showed how much work is still needed to transform regional champions into Asian Games medal winners.

    But the talents were evident: Teong came close to gold as he returned to form following an elbow injury, Letitia Sim setting national records despite multiple heartaches of coming in fourth, and the likes of Jonathan Tan, Quah Jing Wen and Gan Ching Hwee proving repeatedly they were in the hunt for medals. Five national records and 10 personal-best times should be ample encouragement for these upstarts.

    For a sport in transition as one of its greatest athletes is reaching the end of his career, Singapore swimming still has a bevy of potential that could eventually come good at the Asian Games. Hopefully, the agony at this Games can fuel some of them to greater heights in the future.

    Stephenie Chen's grit, persistence should be a model to all
    If the national swimmers want any more inspiration to keep trying for their Asian Games breakthrough, they need only to look to kayaker Stephenie Chen.

    Here's an athlete who has been toiling under the radar for much of her long career. Since 2010, Chen has been trying to win an Asian Games medal, and after three futile editions - from Guangzhou to Incheon to Jakarta - she finally fulfilled her dream, using a fast start to eventually clinch a silver medal in the women's K1 500m.

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    Singapore kayaker Stephenie Chen in action during the women K1 500m heats. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore/Stanley Cheah) (STANLEY CHEAH)

    From the 31-year-old's teary celebrations after her medal win, it was easy to see how much the 13-year medal chase meant to her. Years of tough training - such as doing pull-ups with a 35kg weight around her waist to build her pulling strength - as well as times of battling doubts on her abilities, made the silver medal all the sweeter.

    And the veteran's success in Hangzhou should be a model for every young athlete starting their daunting chases for Asian Games glory: not only are patience and perseverance necessary traits in the medal hunt, but also the desire to go the extra mile over the other medal chasers.

    Everyone is chasing the medal, and it is only those that persist who will eventually find joy.

    Heavy losses should prompt tweaks to qualifying criteria
    As with the highs of the Asian Games campaign for Singapore athletes, there will always be some lows in Hangzhou.

    Some of the lows were understandable amid a transitional period for some sports, such as swimming and table tennis, both of which could not earn as many as medals as before with the absences and retirements of past stalwarts.

    Some sports were just being given their first chances, and faced daunting opponents from the outset, such as the debuting women's football team, who faced eventual finalists North Korea in the opening group and were heavily beaten 0-7 and 0-10.

    Some were outfought amid formidable fields. Singapore's badminton players had a mixed outing - there were glimpses of potential as they battled strong opposition, from the likes of young men's doubles duo Johann Prajogo and Nge Joo Jie. However, a listless Loh lost in his opening tie in the men's singles competition - surely a disappointment both for himself as well as the Singapore contingent.

    And then there were some sports which lost heavily despite perennial participation. The sepak takraw teams were winless in the regu and quadrant events, losing even to teams from Japan and South Korea. The men's hockey team finished dead last out of 12 teams, and the women's rugby sevens team crashed to several lopsided losses (0-57 to Japan, 0-29 to Hong Kong and 0-50 to Kazakhstan).

    Given that Team Singapore sent their largest Asiad contingent of 427 athletes to Hangzhou - compared to 264 athletes for the Jakarta Games in 2018 - questions should be asked of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) whether the qualifying criteria should be tightened for the next edition in 2026.

    After all, the SNOC has always insisted that these athletes were selected to contend for medals at major Games, not for mere exposure and experience. It may be time to fine-tune the selection process so that perennial heavy losses can be minimised in future Games.

    Do you have a story tip? Email: sgnews.tips@yahooinc.com.
     
  6. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    WEEKLY ROUND-UP: Sports happenings in Singapore (9-15 Oct)
    Bowlers triumphed at World Championships, Albirex announces youth football project, StarHub to hold community live screening


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    Chia Han Keong

    ·Editor
    Mon, 16 October 2023 at 7:30 am SGT·6-min read



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    Singapore bowlers who have won medals at the 2023 IBF World Championships: (from) men's singles winner Darrell Ong and runner-up Jaris Goh, and women's doubles winners Cherie and Daphne Tan. (PHOTO: Singapore Bowling Federation)
    SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (9 to 15 October):

    Bowlers claim two golds at IBF World Championships
    Singapore's bowlers claimed two golds, three silvers and four bronzes at the 2023 International Bowling Federation World Championships in Kuwait over the past week.

    Darrell Ong became the first Singaporean bowler since Remy Ong in 2006 to clinch the men's singles title, after he defeated compatriot Jaris Goh in Kuwait on Monday (9 October). The 27-year-old defeated Goh 184-179 and 208-164 in the final to secure the gold medal.

    It was also an all-Singaporean affair in the women's doubles final, as siblings Cherie and Daphne Tan teamed up to defeat New Hui Fen and Colleen Pee 226-199 and 218-192 for the gold medal.

    Ong and Goh paired up to earn a bronze medal in the men's doubles event, losing 237-205, 222-194 to South Korea’s Won Jong-hyeok and Oh Byung-jun in the semi-finals. There were also bronze medals for Ong and New in the men's and women's all-events respectively, while the women's team also claimed joint-third after losing to South Korea in the semi-finals.

    Men's floorball team come up short in AOFC defence
    Singapore's men's floorball national A team could not defend their Asia-Oceania Floorball Confederation Cup (AOFC) title, after losing 2-4 to Thailand in the final at Our Tampines Hub on Saturday (14 October).

    The hosts had won the title in 2019, thrashing a developmental and inexperienced Thai squad 17-1 in the final. The 2021 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Singapore had lost to Thailand in their past three encounters, including a 3-4 loss in the group stage at the Cambodia SEA Games in May.

    In the third-place play-off, the Singapore B team clinched bronze after defeating South Korea 3-1.

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    Albirex Niigata's Rising Stars Singapore project was announced by: (from left) Albirex's head of youth development Marcal Sevillano, chairman Daisuke Korenaga and KMSK Deinze vice-chairman Hiroyuki Ono. (PHOTO: Albirex Niigata)
    Albirex Niigata launch Rising Stars Singapore project
    Singapore Premier League champions Albirex Niigata (Singapore) have announced on Friday (13 October) the "Rising Stars Singapore" project, which will provide their local youth players with opportunities and pathways to European football.

    The pilot project is in partnership with Belgian second-tier club KMSK Deinze - which Singapore national forward Ilhan Fandi plays for - and there will be trials for Albirex's Under-15 and Under-17 centre of excellence players on 11 and 12 November, culminating in a final trial on 19 November.

    The top youngsters from these trials will go on a free training stint with Deinze next year, and Albirex chairman Daisuke Korenega hopes this project will eventually be an annual programme.

    Deinze vice-chairman Hiroyuki Ono views the project as an internship for the young players to improve their football skills, develop their international mindset by gaining experience off the pitch, and broaden their career paths.
     
  7. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Swimming Complex@Bukit Canberra opens with 4 pools
    The ActiveSG Swimming Complex@Bukit Canberra was opened to the community on Sunday (15 October), and features four swimming pools suited for different needs: a six-lane sheltered pool, an eight-lane outdoor lap pool, a sheltered wading pool and an outdoor fun pool for children.

    Close to 1,000 residents came together for the opening which was also attended by the Sembawang GRC Members of Parliament: health minister Ong Ye Kung, Lim Wee Kiak, Vikram Nair and Mariam Jaafar.

    Residents can also look forward to a new gym opening on level two of the swimming complex later this year. As part of the Bukit Canberra Integrated Sports and Community Hub, a polyclinic will also be opening towards the end of the year, in addition to the indoor sport hall and the hawker centre which were opened late last year.

    StarHub to hold community screening of Merseyside derby
    StarHub will be hosting a live screening of the English Premier League clash between Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton at the outdoor plaza in Capitol Singapore on 21 October.

    The community live screening will be the brand’s first in the heart of town, in one of country’s most historic locations. As part of the festivities, the event will also host fun activities for both football fans and non-fans alike, including stage games with prizes to be won, a spray tattoo booth, a photo wall, claw machines, party snacks and free Carlsberg 0.0 and 5-hour ENERGY drinks. There will also be an OPPO experience booth to try out the full range of OPPO’s latest devices.

    Entry to the live screening event will be free to all, with seating available on a first-come-first-serve basis. For more information on StarHub’s Premier+ pass and bundles, please visit its Premier League website.

    Speakers announced for ICCE Global Coach Conference
    Sport Singapore (SportSG) announced its line-up of keynote speakers at the 14th International Council for Coaching Excellence Global Coach Conference (ICCE GCC), to be held from 29 November to 3 December at the Marina Bay Sands and Singapore Sports Hub.

    The theme for this year’s conference is "Coaching for a Better Tomorrow”, where it seeks to focus on effective coaching practices, coach learning and development, coaching policy and systems and inclusivity, with a view to prepare coaches better for a volatile future.

    The keynote speakers who will be present at the conference include:
    • Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner, social learning theorists and consultants;

    • Michelle de Highden, senior coach development lead, Australian Institute of Sport, and Claire Lamb, coach development lead at the Victorian Institute of Sport;

    • Dr Ross Pinder, Paralympic innovation lead, Paralympic Australia;

    • Dr Natalie Barker-Ruchti, associate professor in sport management and sport coaching, Orebro University;

    • Michael Dunlap, American professional basketball coach.
    The Singapore Coach Medallion will also make its comeback at the conference, having been suspended for three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortlisted nominees have underwent interviews, and finalists were observed during their coaching sessions. The winners will be announced on the first day of the main conference on 30 November.

    Visit the ICCE GCC 2023 website for more information on the conference and its full programme.

    Have a sports event to tell our users? Email: sgnews.tips@yahooinc.com. In your email, do provide as many details as possible, including videos and photos.

    You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. Also check out our Southeast Asia, Food, and Gaming channels on YouTube.


     
  8. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore Bowling celebrates fruitful world championships and 2023 campaign
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    (From left) Daphne Tan, Cherie Tan, Colleen Pee, Charmaine Chang, Shayna Ng and New Hui Fen with their bronze medals in the women's team event on Sunday. PHOTO: SINGAPORE BOWLING FEDERATION
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    David Lee
    Sports Correspondent
    UPDATED
    OCT 16, 2023, 4:06 PM SGT

    SINGAPORE – Despite a painful semi-final defeat in the women’s team event on Sunday, the national bowlers will return from Kuwait with their heads held high after their most successful IBF World Bowling Championships outing.

    There were contributions from senior and younger players from both the men and women’s teams as they wrapped up their campaign and their 2023 season at the Kuwait Bowling Sporting Club with two golds, three silvers and four bronzes.

    The last time Singapore won two gold medals at the world meet was in 2006, when Remy Ong clinched the men’s singles and all events titles – their only silverware from that competition in South Korea.

    Expressing her gratitude to the bowlers’ families, supporters and sponsors, Singapore Bowling president Valerie Teo said: “Every medal at the world championships is hard fought and precious and represents the blood, sweat and tears that the athletes have put in all these years. I am very proud of the whole team... The future of our sport is bright.”

    The highlights were the 1-2 finishes in the men’s singles and women’s doubles events, when Darren Ong beat Jaris Goh on Monday for the individual title, before sisters Cherie, 35, and Daphne Tan, 33, overcame compatriots New Hui Fen, 31, and 19-year-old Colleen Pee in the doubles final on Thursday.

    Ong, 27, and Goh, 28, combined for a men’s doubles bronze on Thursday, before New and Ong also finished third in the women and men’s all events respectively on Sunday.

    A decent showing in the team events proved Singapore’s strength in depth.

    Joel Tan, Basil Ng, Timothy Tham, Nu’man Syahmi, Ong and Goh – all in their 20s – narrowly missed out on making it to the last eight of the men’s team event.

    The aforementioned women’s bowlers, along with Shayna Ng, 33, and Charmaine Chang, 24, then claimed a creditable bronze in their team event after losing 2-1 in the semi-finals to Malaysia, who were beaten by South Korea in the final. Singapore also received a silver for the women’s team overall category.

    Notably, Nu’man and Chang were selected from the second-tier national training squad.

    Senior national head coach Jason Yeong-Nathan said: “The men’s team have grown over the years from boys to men. There was a time when they were struggling to perform, but they never gave up and continued to work hard. They have shown consistent performances this year, and we will continue to work on getting better.

    “The women’s team performance was fantastic, and it was great to see Colleen and Charmaine gelling well with their senior teammates on and off the lanes at these championships.”

    It has been a fruitful year for Singapore bowlers on all fronts. The national players won five golds, three silvers and three bronzes at the Asian Tenpin Bowling Championships in Hong Kong in January.

    The youth development pipeline looks healthy as they racked up two golds, one silver and four bronzes at the Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Championships in Thailand in July.

    This was followed by a record haul of eight golds and two silvers at the Asian Junior Tenpin Bowling Championships on home lanes in August.

    The national bowlers’ major assignments for 2024 are the Asian Tenpin Bowling Championships in Thailand in September and IBF World Cup in Hong Kong in November.

    Teo said: “The coaching team’s efforts have contributed immensely to an incredible year with great performances from our talented juniors, youth, national team and even our seniors.

    “Our current ecosystem has been deliberate in ensuring athlete development on all fronts, including mental skills and physical fitness...

    “We will continue to work hard as a bowling family to continue to grow from strength to strength and groom athletes who are champions on and off the lanes.”

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Singapore bowlers win both men’s singles gold and silver at world championships
    Singapore achieve record 8-gold feat at Asian Junior Bowling C’ships as Lim Shi En wins 4 titles
     
  9. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Chicken rice out, fishball celery soup in: How Hassan Sunny became S’pore’s most-capped football goalkeeper
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    Hassan Sunny (foreground) during training ahead of Singapore's world cup qualifiers against Guam at National Stadium on Oct 11, 2023. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
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    Deepanraj Ganesan
    UPDATED
    OCT 11, 2023, 11:16 PM SGT

    SINGAPORE – From 93kg and a 38-inch waistline to a fit 85kg and a size 32.

    That transformation for Hassan Sunny came about not because of some slimming product; it resulted from a change in diet and a huge dose of discipline. Those are key reasons behind the 39-year-old’s longevity that has helped him become Singapore’s most-capped goalkeeper.

    Hassan earned his 106th and 107th caps in September’s friendlies against Tajikistan and Chinese Taipei, which took him past David Lee’s 105 caps.

    Over the next week, Hassan will be Lions coach Takayuki Nishigaya’s trusted man between the sticks for the two-legged World Cup first-round qualifier against Guam.

    The 157th-ranked Republic face world No. 201 Guam at the National Stadium on Thursday before the return leg five days later in Dededo.

    Hassan, who earned his first cap in February 2004, two months shy of turning 20, said he had found out about his latest achievement on social media.

    “Becoming the most-capped goalkeeper had never crossed my mind,” he said, adding that he hopes to stay in the game for as long as possible, while regarding records as a “bonus”.


    There have been several sacrifices made to get here for a man nicknamed “Superman” in local circles. His kryptonite was chicken.

    Hassan cannot remember the last time he had chicken rice. It used to be his favourite dish which he would eat a few times a week. He also admitted to being able to wolf down a box of 18 pieces of chicken wingettes and drumettes from a fast-food joint – in one sitting.

    These days, chicken rice is swopped for a bowl of fishball celery soup and a small serving of brown rice.

    What changed his mindset were two anterior cruciate ligament injuries on his right knee within 11 months – the first in May 2011, then March 2012. At that time, Hassan weighed 93kg and had a size 38 waistline.

    Being out of the game for two years made him realise that, if he wanted to have a long career, he had to change his habits.

    A gradual reduction in food intake led to a full vegan diet in 2019.

    More recently, he incorporated fish into his meals as he had noticed that he was losing some muscle mass.

    Hassan listens to his body, quite literally. Every morning, he will do some stretching if any area of his body feels tight. It is then followed by a quick yoga session before he heads for club training. On his days off, he hits the gym.

    Hassan, who signed a two-season contract extension with Albirex in August, wants to play on for as long as his body allows him to. The mantra is simple: Take care of my body and it will take care of my career.

    “It’s hard to decide when to step away from the game. That is the reason why I’m trying my best to follow my career to do what it takes to stay in it,” said the father of four daughters aged 13, eight, five and one.

    “I want to retire as someone who has achieved so many things in football, because... I want to have a good story to tell my kids and, at a later stage, I would like to share my knowledge with the younger ones.”

    Hassan’s professionalism has not gone unnoticed, with club coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga having described him as “the most professional player in this country”.

    He kept 11 clean sheets in 19 league matches to help Albirex retain their Singapore Premier League title this season, in the process becoming the first player in Singapore to win the domestic league title with four clubs, the others being Tampines Rovers (2011), Warriors FC (2014) and Lion City Sailors (2021).

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Veteran goalkeeper Hassan Sunny impressed by Albirex Niigata’s winning mentality
    Ilhan Fandi has ‘unfinished business’ as he returns to Lions football squad after knee injury

    National coach Nishigaya described him as a role model, adding: “The fact that he continues to perform at the highest level, at the age of 39, is testament to the amount of hard work and level of discipline that he puts in on a daily basis.”

    The Japanese tactician also said the Guam double-header are “cup finals” and urged his charges “to take full advantage of the home support” on Thursday. Awaiting them is a place in Round 2’s Group C with South Korea, China and Thailand.

    Hassan is excited at the prospect of facing top players such as Tottenham Hotspur captain Son Heung-min. He said: “The calendar is such that, if we don’t make the next round, we will not have any competitive games for about nine months.

    “It is going to be a big loss if we don’t qualify.

    “Even at my age now, I want to play against teams that are probably three or four levels above us, which can only improve you as a player.”

    While he has a trimmed waistline, one thing that has remained steadfast is Hassan’s hunger to get better.
     
  10. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    From fashion blogger to kickboxer, Valencia Yip strikes gold for Singapore
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    An unlikely change in profession led Valencia Yip to kickboxing in 2011. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

    Melvyn Teoh
    UPDATED
    OCT 11, 2023, 4:25 PM SGT

    SINGAPORE – In a bid to keep fit and lose weight, former fashion blogger Valencia Yip turned to kickboxing in 2011 and quickly fell in love with the sport.

    She eventually became a fitness trainer, focusing on working with women and children and set up Active Zone kickboxing gym with her life mentor Jason Lim in 2012. He is now the Kickboxing Federation of Singapore president.

    Yip wanted to be more active as she had stopped exercising in general after secondary school.

    She said: “I realised that I needed to do something about my health, so I did my own weight loss fitness journey and I was successful at that.

    “I decided to take up a personal training certificate and see if I can help people as well... If I can help myself, why not help others as well to achieve their health goals?”

    Little did she realise that kickboxing would also lead her to represent Singapore for the first time on the world stage.

    Yip clinched two silvers in the creative form and creative form with weapons at the Sept 23-24 Flanders Cup in Beveren.

    A week later, she claimed two golds, creative and musical form, at the inaugural Italian World Cup in Jesolo, alongside another two silvers in the creative and musical form weapon events.

    Yip had trained intensively for two weeks in England with her head coach Brian Beck before heading to Belgium. Each of her routines lasts about two minutes, with Beck choosing the music for her performances.

    In her routines, she performs various high-level moves such as spinning hook kicks, roundhouse kicks and knife-hand strikes.

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    In her routines, Valencia Yip performs various high-level moves such as spinning hook kicks, roundhouse kicks and knife-hand strikes. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

    Yip, 33, said: “For Flanders it was very nerve-racking, being that it’s my very first competition.

    “It’s really great to compete alongside other competitors that do forms, whether it’s musical forms, or creative forms, because there are no foreign competitors in Singapore. Winning is a bonus.”

    Despite her win, she felt that there was added pressure compared to the sparring categories of kickboxing.

    She said: “I only have one shot. If I make a mistake, or I stumble or fall for my open hand routine, I get deducted points. So I only have one shot to make it right.”

    While in Belgium, she also had to chaperone two other debutants Abraham Oh and Alexavier Koh, both 18.

    Oh took gold and silver in the junior 63kg kick light category while Koh claimed a silver and bronze in the junior 63kg light contact division.

    Yip competes only in the demonstrative categories but was forced to double-hat when Beck was unable to be with the boys during their tournament.

    Koh said: “It felt unreal, it was a significant milestone in my kickboxing journey having only done it for a year.”

    For Yip, the competitions have given her a confidence boost ahead of the World Association of Kickboxing Organisations (Wako) World Championships that begin on Nov 17 in Albufeira, Portugal.

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    Singapore's first female kickboxer, Valencia Yip, with her medal haul from the Flanders Cup and Italian World Cup. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

    She will be training in Singapore, with Beck supporting her via Zoom until the end of October. Yip will then fly to Sheffield, England at the start of November for a training camp with him.

    The 69-year-old, chairman of the Wako referee committee for tatami sports and a former Olympic gymnast who represented Britain at the 1976 Montreal Games, has high hopes for Yip.

    He said:“I’ve been judging forms for more than 30 years now. Her techniques are sharp and her forms are brilliant.

    “I say this not as her coach, but as someone who’s seen a lot of forms.

    “There’s definitely room for improvement, so I’ll be looking to perfect her form by the World Championships, the biggest stage.”
     
  11. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore Aquatics to launch Hall of Fame in 2024 to honour local greats
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    Sport Singapore chief Alan Goh (far left) receiving a token of appreciation from Patricia Chan and SAQ president Mark Chay on Oct 15. ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI
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    Deepanraj Ganesan
    UPDATED
    OCT 16, 2023, 1:35 AM SGT

    SINGAPORE – It is a sport that has delivered Singapore’s only Olympic gold medal and brought regular success at major meets such as the SEA Games and Asian Games. To honour the men and women who have contributed to its achievements, an Aquatics Hall of Fame will be launched in 2024, Singapore Aquatics (SAQ) announced on Sunday.

    The Hall of Fame’s inauguration will be part of the 85th anniversary celebrations of SAQ, the body for swimming, diving, water polo, artistic swimming and open water swimming.

    This was announced on Sunday at a Farewell to Toa Payoh party, which brought current and former athletes in the sport back to the Toa Payoh Sport Centre.

    They include 2016 Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling, Lim Teck Yin, who won six SEA Games golds in water polo from 1985 to 1995 and an Asiad bronze in 1986, and Patricia Chan, who racked up 39 gold medals at the South-east Asian Peninsular (Seap) Games from 1965 to 1973.

    The Toa Payoh Sport Centre, which includes the Toa Payoh swimming complex, will close on Oct 31 to make way for the construction of a new regional sport centre that is expected to be completed by 2030. Athletes who trained there will now do so at various other locations.

    Chan looked around the complex several times on Sunday. It is a venue that holds special memories for her as it is where she had her last competitive race at the 1973 Seap Games, which Singapore was hosting for the first time.

    The 69-year-old, who chairs SAQ’s alumni organisation, the Legacy Council, was key in setting up the Hall of Fame, which she believes is a way “to tell our stories to future generations”.

    She said: “For example, we want people to know that, yes you may be familiar with swimmer Joseph Schooling, who won Singapore’s first Olympic gold medal. But did you also know that Singapore also had a world-beater in Ang Peng Siong when he was the fastest man over 50 metres (in 1982)?

    “The Hall of Fame will serve to honour people who have taken the plunge before, even as we dive into the next chapter of our aquatic story.”

    Inductees into the Hall of Fame can also include sports administrators, coaches or members of the media. A nomination panel has been formed to select the inaugural batch of inductees. More details will be revealed next year, said SAQ president Mark Chay.

    He added that the initiative was an important step for the association to build a close community and engage the aquatics alumni.

    Singapore will host the 2025 world championships and the 2029 SEA Games and Chay, a former national swimmer and Olympian in Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004, hopes that more of the aquatics community can be involved in these events.

    He said: “These events are as much for the community as it is for the athletes. So whether it is being part of the organisation of these events, volunteering for various roles or serving as mentors to some of our up-and-coming swimmers, we want to foster a closely knit aquatics community in the coming years.”

    While honouring the past is important to Chan, she also singled out the current crop for their performances at the recent Hangzhou Asian Games, in particular the women’s artistic swimming team and the women’s water polo team, who finished fifth and fourth in their events respectively.

    Teong Tzen Wei’s 50m butterfly silver was the only piece of silverware for Singapore in the pool, which represented a dip from the two golds, one silver and three bronzes from the 2018 Jakarta Games and snapped the Republic’s run of winning at least one gold since 2006.

    Chan said: “The thing that surprised me was our women’s water polo team. Their growth has been superb. And our artistic swimming team, their performance on the day was so, so fine.

    “What we have to do is to encourage upcoming people because that’s what somebody did for me. Singapore (must) keep encouraging the young people to do better and stand behind them.”
     
  12. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Team Singapore golfers on competing at the Asian Games and their biggest takeaways
    Team Singapore golfers on what it's like to compete at the Asian Games (prestigeonline.com)

    BY ROBIN BOSE
    19 OCT 2023
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    Every athlete worth his salt trains with a resolve, to translate the years of toil and sacrifice into tangible returns every time competition beckons. We speak to the Team Singapore golfers about what it was like playing at the recent Asian Games, which took place in Hangzhou from September 19 to October 4.

    When the Asian Games come around, the stakes don’t get much higher. The pride and honour of donning national colours while turning out against the continent’s sporting cream, truly makes it an experience for posterity.

    Golf could have added to Singapore’s 16 medals and the island nation’s sporting history, given the squad’s promising start in the 19th edition of the Asian Games at Hangzhou, China. But as it often happens in sport, the script doesn’t unfold as planned, especially when it’s golf, unpredictable from tee to green.

    As we are taught, winning isn’t always the barometer of getting better, and Tiger Woods’ famous words find consonance in women’s team member Aloysa Atienza’s observation. “We train months and years for major events like these but it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll do well on that one week. I believe that what’s important is that we never give up and keep moving forward and strive to do better at the next.”

    Part of the squad of seven — a mix of amateurs and professionals — that teed off at the West Lake Golf Course, Atienza’s words exude an athlete’s determination and the insatiable desire to learn. “It might not have been our best week, but we did show great potential that we can compete at this stage. It was disappointing I did not make the individual cut, but that’s sport,” says the 25-year-old amateur golfer.

    Asian Games 2023: A big-stage experience for Team Singapore golfers
    The competition, depth of the field and razzmatazz was an eye-opener for the team members, especially the women golfers since Singapore found representation at the Asian Games for the first time.

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    Aloysa Atienza was part of the Team Singapore golfers who competed at the 2023 Asian Games. (Image: Singapore Golf Association/ The Picture Suite)

    Says Atienza, “My Asian Games debut will always be a memorable one, not only because it was my first time in national colours at the Games, but because it is also the first time the women’s golf team found representation in the Games. It was definitely an honour representing Singapore in Hangzhou.”

    Atienza is already looking forward to the next edition of the Asian Games, which commences in three years’ time in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan.

    “Now that there’s a format change to include the professionals, it’s definitely going to be a goal to make it to the Asian Games even after I’ve turned professional in the future,” she says.

    Competing against the best
    The field in Hangzhou boasting players regular on the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) and LET (Ladies European Tour), the week was an eye-opener, and teeing off with heavyweight names allowed the women’s team of Aloysa Atienza, Amanda Tan and Koh Sock Hwee plenty of insight on what it takes to succeed in the top echelons of golf.

    Putting into perspective the showing in the team competition, Atienza says, “We knew the competition was going to be tough because Asians have been dominating the highest levels of women’s golf.

    “On a personal level, I did not know who was representing the other countries until the week before the tournament. I think that helped because I was focused on my own training and preparation in order to play to the best of my abilities that week.

    “The team did well on debut. Amanda and Koh played well in the second round to keep the medal hunt alive as we made the team cut.”

    Koh was the best name among the Singapore women golfers, finishing tied-18th in the individual competition and propelling the team to a creditable eighth place.

    Atienza came away with memories that will be handed down. “I’ll never forget how many kids, spectators and volunteers came up to me after the round to get a photo, my signature or even a signed golf ball. It was really cool because regardless of the result, many kids were watching us all play and were inspired to one day be the ones playing and representing their country,” she says.
     
  13. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Pride in performance
    The men’s team of James Leow, Koh Dengshan, Ryan Ang and Gregory Foo stood their ground at the beginning of the Asian Games week, and were well in reckoning for a podium.

    “Our first day was amazing. We shot 22-under as a team and were in second place. That was an amazing feeling! We were head-to-head with Japan on the final day and eventually finished a stroke behind in 5th place at 43-under,” says professional golfer Koh Dengshan, 35, who last represented Singapore as an amateur at the South East Asian (SEA) Games in 2007.

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    Professional golfer Koh Dengshan. (Image: Singapore Golf Association/ The Picture Suite)

    “We were encouraging each other and training together leading up to the Asian Games. The support from the whole golf community in Singapore was great. Here, it’s a different kind of pressure from the usual Tour events, you are wearing your country uniform and travelling as a team, and having the support of teammates also gives you confidence and takes away a lot of the stress of the event.

    “We were all proud that we did our best to try to win a medal. Going forward, it is great that pros can represent their country at the Asian Games now, and we will definitely prepare ourselves better for the next edition,” says Koh, who finished T21.

    Games Village a melting pot
    A nerve centre of activity, the Asian Games Village was a spectacle that enamoured athletes with its sheer size, facilities and opportunity to assimilate myriad experiences.

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    The Team Singapore golfers who participated in the 2023 Asian Games. From left to right: Gregory Foo, Koh Dengshan, Aloysa Atienza, Amanda Tan, Koh Sock Hwee, James Leow, Ryan Ang. (Image: Singapore Golf Association/ The Picture Suite)

    “Staying in the Games Village was one of the most enjoyable moments, apart from the competing. Hangzhou was my third major Games, the SEA Games being the first two and golfers never get to stay in the Village because our competition venue is usually far away,” says Atienza.

    “I shared an apartment with the water polo girls so making friends with them and cheering each other on for our events was nice. Meals at the dining hall was always enjoyable because you get to meet other athletes from different countries, chat with them a little and maybe congratulate those who won. It’s definitely a different environment from the usual golf tournaments we go to.

    “Pin trading is definitely a culture of all major Games but one that isn’t very popular if you don’t live in the Asian Games Village. It pushes you to get out of your comfort zone to walk up to other athletes and chat with them and trading pins from our countries. Some were quick trades while some actually led to conversations and friendships,” says Atienza.

    For seasoned professional Koh Dengshan, the stay at the Games Village was a break in monotony. “It was a cool experience. We normally stay at hotels for Tour events. To be staying amongst all the different athletes in the same Village was unique, as was exchanging souvenir pins with the different countries’ athletes.”

    Ryan Ang, who was among the standout names for Singapore that week, described the Games Village as massive, like a town. “We got in at night and could not see the whole of it until next morning. Getting to meet athletes from so many countries and trying out different cuisines was cool as was the pin trading that was on all the time.”

    Surrounded by stars
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    Ryan Ang was one of the standout Singapore golfers at the 2023 Asian Games. (Image: Singapore Golf Association/ The Picture Suite)

    For Ang, Hangzhou was the first brush with a multi-discipline event of this stature, and it was easy to get overawed by the magnitude of the setting, and the depth of the field teeing off at West Lake. But the 24-year-old amateur held his own among seasoned pros to grow in stature, finishing T12 along with teammate James Leow at 14-under par 274.

    “The whole Asian Games experience was amazing, especially the massive crowds on all the days at the golf course, but that’s understandable with the LPGA events China has been hosting. Personally, there were several highs with low rounds of six-under and finishing on a career best score for the week,” says Ang.

    The lingering memory for Ang was teeing off with India’s Anirban Lahiri in the third round. “Even though he (Anirban) did not have his best day, it was good to pick his brains and he was open to talking, very chatty, unlike a lot of pros who kind of shut themselves off. Despite not playing his best golf, Anirban’s tips were an eye-opener and meant a lot, coming from one who is a very successful golfer and now an established name on LIV Golf,” says Ang.

    The key to Ang’s success lay in managing himself well that week. Any multi-discipline event is about coping with pressure and a nation’s expectations, but he followed the rule book.

    “I stuck to my routine and limited my expectations. The key to playing well in Hangzhou was about managing my mind well. There were a lot of thoughts/expectations leading to the week, but it was is about managing them,” he says.

    For Koh, the opportunity to watch PGA Tour winners Si Woo Kim and Sungjae Im of Korea ranked among his major takeaways. Another was catching up and exchanging notes with Anirban and Shubhankar Sharma, his golf friends “since the junior days”.

    Evidently, the 2023 Asian Games was a memorable experience for the Team Singapore golfers, and we can’t wait to see how they perform at the next edition in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan, in 2026.

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    Robin Bose
    Robin Bose has covered multi-discipline sport for prominent publications in India like The Statesman and Outlook before being bitten by the golf bug in 2008. He specialised in the sport and covered it across the world for Hindustan Times over 13 years. After moving on, he divides time between setting up his venture, TheGolfingHub, and watching his teenage son chase his dream in golf.
     
  14. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore’s Zeng Jian wins first World Table Tennis title in Qatar
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    Singapore's Zeng Jian going up against Wales' Anna Hursey in the WTT Feeder Doha II women's singles final. Zeng won 3-0 (11-6, 11-5, 11-5).
    PHOTO: World Table Tennis
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    David Lee
    Sports Correspondent
    UPDATED
    10 HOURS AGO

    SINGAPORE – SEA Games women’s singles champion Zeng Jian has given her Paris 2024 Olympics qualification hopes a boost after winning the WTT Feeder Doha II title on Thursday.

    In the final, the 26-year-old Singaporean produced a convincing 3-0 (11-6, 11-5, 11-5) win over Welsh world No. 163 Anna Hursey for her first title on the World Table Tennis (WTT) tour.

    In the earlier rounds of the three-day tournament at the Aspire Ladies Sports Hall in Qatar, the world No. 64 defeated South Korea’s 697th-ranked Choi Seo-yeon, China’s Gao Yuxin (386th), Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin (106th) and Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yi-hua (74th).

    Thanking her coaches and the Singapore Table Tennis Association for their support, Zeng said: “I didn’t expect to win this tournament because we have been competing quite a bit and I could feel the fatigue setting in. It was tough, but coming back to beat the young Chinese player was a big boost and I was more composed after that.”

    While this lower-tier event offered just US$550 (S$750) for singles winners, Zeng also collected 125 ranking points that will come in handy in her bid to break the top 50 rankings. Individual world rankings are a route to qualify for the Paris Olympics, if the national women’s team fail to secure their quota through qualification events or ranking.

    After winning four under-21 titles on the International Table Tennis Federation World Tour in 2016 and 2017, Zeng is enjoying a breakthrough 2023 with triumphs at the SEA Games and on tour.

    Following the retirement of stalwarts Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu, Hunan-born Zeng is now the de facto leader of the women’s team, who are otherwise all local-born.

    National women’s head coach Jing Junhong said: “We are happy for Zeng Jian to record this achievement and breakthrough after a long period of hard work. We hope this will give her more confidence and motivation to climb higher.

    “She has been performing well and handling crucial points better. The season is still not over, with tour events and club competitions in Slovenia, China and France. The hectic schedule is similar for players who are chasing Olympic spots, and we will try to manage this as best as we can.”

    At the same tournament, world No. 110 Koen Pang reached the men’s singles quarter-finals where he was beaten by Austria’s 114th-ranked Andreas Levenko.

    Compatriot Clarence Chew was knocked out by Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang in the round of 32, while in the women’s singles, Wong Xin Ru and Goi Rui Xuan lost in the earlier rounds.

    Chew and Zeng, and Pang and Wong suffered 3-2 losses in the mixed doubles round of 16, while Goi and Wong also exited the women’s doubles at the same stage.

    Elsewhere at the WTT Contender Antalya in Turkey, world No. 62 Izaac Quek lost to Portugal’s 55th-ranked Tiago Apolonia in the men’s singles round of 32.
     
  15. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore end 16-year wait to claim third netball Nations Cup title with 59-56 win over PNG
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    Singapore's netballers are thrilled after ending their 16-year wait for their third Nations Cup title. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
    Ervin Ang
    UPDATED
    10 HOURS AGO

    SINGAPORE – A new era of Singapore netball arrived on Saturday, as a young team filled with potential delivered a championship performance at the Mirxes Nations Cup.

    The Republic, facing a Papua New Guinea side to whom they had lost 52-50 in the tournament opener, exacted revenge as they prevailed 59-56 against the same opponents in the final at the OCBC Arena.

    This was Singapore’s third title but first since the 2007 edition. They also won the inaugural competition in 2006.

    Goal-shooter Amandeep Kaur Chahal said the victory will hold “a special place in my heart”.

    The 23-year-old, who converted 44 of 50 goal attempts, added: “I think the coaches have done a really good job bringing up the developmental team and prepared us really well.

    “The younger players have also been to the World Cup and are a lot better than they were two years ago. We are a newer, younger generation that have been brought up to represent Singapore.”

    She was one of four players in the starting line-up aged 24 and under. The other three are 27.

    The changing of guard for the national team was also emphasised by Charmaine Soh, 32, who announced her international retirement following the tournament’s conclusion.

    Goalkeeper Jamie Lim, 23, credited the guidance of veterans like Soh, who shaped them into better players. She said: “We definitely want to continue to be up there, not just in Asia but also to get to the world stage, and show them who we are as a Singapore team.

    “This (title) is amazing, like we know we can do it but this helps us to kick off, which tells us we can push ourselves even further.”

    The opening 15 minutes were nervy and close as the Papuans ended the quarter with an 18-16 lead. But the hosts kept their composure and changed the momentum of the match during a four-minute spell in the second period.

    They scored seven points in succession and went into half-time with a 35-26 advantage. After three quarters, they widened the gap to 48-37 and, despite a late fightback from the visitors (outscoring Singapore 19-11 in the final quarter), held on to prevail.

    Singapore head coach Annette Bishop, who clinched her first title since taking charge in 2019, lauded her players.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Singapore beat Sri Lanka 65-54 in netball’s Nations Cup to seal spot in final
    New-look Papua New Guinea side put up dominant show at netball Nations Cup

    She said: “It was a hard-fought game and we knew that it was always going to be a tough battle, but I’m just so proud of our whole team for what they put out today.

    “I’m still taking it all in. It was all about the team putting in a great performance and, even when PNG got a little ahead of us, we stayed on track.”

    The New Zealander cited the formation of the Singapore A team, a developmental side, in 2020 as a key factor in nurturing their youth players. She added: “If you look at Singapore A, it’s been great to have them play against all the different styles as well.

    “So it’s just minimising that step up and having that smooth transition from the development side into the opens (first) team.”

    Earlier on Saturday, Singapore A clinched fifth spot with a 55-48 win over Sri Lanka while Cook Islands edged out Canada 49-48 for the bronze medal.

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    Singapore’s Kimberly Lim against Sri Lanka’s Gayanjali Amarawansa during the Nations Cup on Oct 27. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
    Soh, meanwhile, steps away comforted by her belief that the national team is in a good place.

    “The players in this team, they’re all very vibrant and very encouraging. Everyone on the team is a team player. So there’s no individual and no ‘I’ in the team. That’s something really good,” she said.

    “I feel that they will continue to build on this and win the bigger competitions.

    “The future of Singapore netball is in very safe hands.”

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Singapore secure hard-fought win over Canada in netball Nations Cup
    Singapore back to winning ways with 58-36 victory over Cook Islands in netball Nations Cup
     
  16. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Redemption time for Sheik Ferdous as Singapore silat team shine at Asian meet
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    Sheik Ferdous Sheik Alau’ddin clinched the men’s Class I (85kg-90kg) title and bagged the best athlete award at the Asian Pencak Silat Championships in Dubai on Nov 12. PHOTO: ST FILE

    Ervin Ang
    UPDATED
    NOV 15, 2023, 12:17 AM SGT

    SINGAPORE – It has been a harrowing two years for Singapore silat exponent Sheik Ferdous Sheik Alau’ddin as he battled a drink-driving conviction, the sudden death of the national coach and injuries.

    On Sunday, he gained a huge measure of redemption at the Asian Pencak Silat Championships (APSC) in Dubai where he clinched the men’s Class I (85kg-90kg) title and bagged the Best Athlete award.

    His victory was among the 11 gold medals won by overall champions Singapore, besides five silvers and five bronzes, which represented their best-ever showing at the competition. They finished ahead of Vietnam (8-3-10) and Malaysia (7-5-3)

    It surpassed Singapore’s tally of nine gold, four silver and six bronze medals from 2022.

    “As difficult as it was, (the challenges) never stopped me from working hard. If anything, my drive to succeed doubled.

    “Having great willpower to pull myself up, keeping a steadfast focus and a strong support system helped me through this tough period,” 2018 world champion Ferdous told The Straits Times.

    In May, Ferdous, 27, was fined $8,000 and disqualified from driving for 48 months for drink driving.

    That came after national coach Mochammad Ichsan Nur Romadhon died in a car accident in Bali in May, 2022, barely a week after the Singapore team returned from the Hanoi SEA Games with four golds, three silvers and four bronzes. It was their best-ever showing at the biennial event.

    Ferdous contributed a silver in Vietnam as he was withdrawn from the Class G (75-80kg) final on doctor’s orders, after he was punched illegally in the face in the semi-finals a day earlier.

    But it was gold that he celebrated in Dubai, after he beat Malaysia’s Robial Sobri in the final.

    The duo have met on multiple occasions, including their 2018 Asian Games semi-final bout where Robial executed an illegal kick.

    Ferdous said: “It was a good mix of nerves and confidence. The last time we met was in February, and I won.

    “So I was feeling pretty good, focusing only on my game plan and keeping my composure.

    “Winning this competition upped my confidence and tells me that my preparations and daily routine are moving me in the right direction. I am really happy that I am reaping the fruits of my labour.”

    The Asian title has spurred him to do well in December’s World Pencak Silat Championships on home soil. “I hope to win in the world championships and remain victorious for many years to come,” he added.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    S'pore win four artistic golds at Asian Pencak Silat Championships
    Silat exponent Sheik Farhan wins his 1st Sportsman of the Year award, Feng Sportswoman for 4th time

    Singapore’s exponents also topped the overall standings at the inaugural Middle East Open Pencak Silat Championships for juniors, held concurrently with the APSC in Dubai.

    They claimed 31 gold, seven silver and three bronze medals, ahead of Kazakhstan (7-12-9) and Uzbekistan (2-1-1).

    Primary 5 student Aura Aydria Putri, who won the junior under-39kg category, had to skip classes to compete in Dubai.

    “My teachers allowed me to take leave from school to compete. Once I’m back, I have to balance both my studies and daily training,” said Aura, who was voted the Best Athlete of the tournament.

    “This will boost my confidence and make me work harder. Of course, I want to be a world champion one day.”
     
  17. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Record medal haul for Singapore at World Wushu Championships
    Record medal haul for Singapore at World Wushu Championships (msn.com)

    Story by Khalis Rifhan • 6h

    upload_2023-11-23_19-22-50.png
    [​IMG]
    Record medal haul for Singapore at World Wushu Championships© Provided by The Independent SG

    SINGAPORE: Singapore celebrated the crowning of two new world champions as the wushu contingent brought home a new record medal haul, winning two gold, four silver, and two bronze medals at the 16th World Wushu Championships held in Fort Worth, Texas, USA, from Nov 16 to 20 Nov 2023. The two gold medallists are Zeanne Law Zhi Ning in the women’s Taijiquan, and Jowen Lim Si Wei in the men’s Gunshu category.

    In addition to his gold medal in the Gunshu event, Lim also secured a silver medal in the Daoshu category. The remaining silver medal for Singapore came from Tay Yu Xuan (men’s Taijijian), Kimberly Ong (women’s Gunshu), and the women’s Duilian from the Ong, Law and Zoe Tan Ziyi trio. The bronze medallists are Ong (Changquan) and Vera Tan (women’s Changquan).

    “All eight athletes have fought hard and done well, with two of them being crowned new World Wushu Champions. All of them had also obtained admission tickets to the Taolu World Cup 2024 in Tokyo, Japan,” mentioned the Singapore Wushu Dragon and Lion Dance Federation in a social media posting.

    It was an improved performance by the Singapore contingent, as they only won one bronze medal and two bronze medals in the 2017 and 2019 competitions, respectively. Lim contributed the medals, winning in the Daoshu (2017 and 2019) and Gunshu (2019) events.


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    Photo credit: Singapore Wushu Dragon and Lion Dance Federation© Provided by The Independent SG

    Prior to the 2023 championships, Singapore had only won a total of four gold medals. The first was won by Vincent Ng in 1995 in the Daoshu event. The trio of Emily Sin, Tay Yu Juan and Tao Yi Jun clinched Singapore’s second gold medal in the Duilian event 2011. Ho Lin Ying (Taijiquan) and Tan Xiang Tian (Xingyiquan) won Singapore’s third and fourth gold medals in 2013 and 2015, respectively.

    The Singapore national wushu team’s outstanding performance captured the attention of Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community, and Youth, who commended the athletes’ unwavering dedication and sporting excellence to achieve success on the international stage.

    “In a remarkable display of skill and determination, young Singaporean wushu athlete Zeanne Law emerged victorious at the 16th World Wushu Championships in Texas, USA. Topping a formidable 13-strong field, the 18-year-old secured the coveted women’s taijiquan title, etching her name as a world champion,” said Minister Tong in a Facebook posting.

    “The triumph adds to Singapore’s success at the prestigious event, with Jowen Lim also contributing to our medal haul. Jowen’s impressive performance in the Gunshu event to claim the gold demonstrated his determination and resilience after only securing a silver in the earlier Daoshu event.”

    Minister Tong added that the wushu athletes; “demonstrated not only skill but also resilience, overcoming challenges such as a 14-hour time difference and lower temperatures. Many of them, with the support of SportSG, are juggling multiple roles, pursuing undergraduate studies in the fields of business (Jowen), communications (Yu Xuan) and law (Kimberly).”

    Law debuted her SEA Games at the 31st edition, showcasing her talent with respectable fourth and sixth-place finishes in the Taijiquan and Taijijian events. In her subsequent SEA Games appearance in 2023, held in Cambodia, the 18-year-old secured a bronze medal in the Duilian event, partnering with her Team Singapore teammates Ong and Zoe.

    As for 24-year-old Lim, Singapore’s other gold medalist at the World Wushu Championships, he is a multiple SEA Games medallist. His impressive collection includes four gold and four silver medals. He first won his SEA Games gold medal 2015 in the Weapons Duilian category. His other three gold medals came from the Changquan (2017) and Daoshu/Gunshu (2017, 2023) events.
     
  18. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    WORLD CUP
    ITTF Mixed Team World Cup 2023

    Chengdu Preview – Zeng Jian and Izaac Quek Lead Team Singapore Charge

    27 Nov 2023

    From 4 to 10 December, the ITTF Mixed Team World Cup 2023 will unfold at the Sichuan Gymnasium in Chengdu, China, featuring the world's top 18 teams vying for glory.

    [​IMG]
    Zeng Jian at ITTF World Team Championships Finals Chengdu 2022

    Zeng Jian and Izaac Quek will spearhead Team Singapore based on their stellar international performances in the past 12 months.

    Following an undefeated run with 8 wins at the ITTF World Team Championships Chengdu 2022, Zeng Jian secured gold at the 2023 SEA Games and clinched her first WTT title at WTT Feeder Doha II.

    Izaac Quek, also a 2023 SEA Games champion, made a significant impact at the Singapore Smash 2023 in March, where the teenager reached the Round of 16 after defeating higher-ranked opponents.

    Team Singapore boasts depth in mixed doubles with two pairs in the top 30, aiming for an early advantage in each encounter.

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    Izaac Quek celebrating after his victory against Mattias Falck at Singapore Smash 2023.
    TEAM SINGAPORE (#12 seed)

    ZENG Jian (World No.61)
    With a peak ranking of 17th, Zeng Jian’s exceptional performance at the 2022 Commonwealth Games earned her two gold medals in the women’s team and doubles events. Maintaining her success, Zeng displayed remarkable consistency by winning all eight matches during the Chengdu 2022 tournament. Her recent victory in the women’s singles at the 2023 WTT Feeder Doha II solidifies her status as a formidable force in the Mixed Team World Cup.

    ZHOU Jingyi (World No.120)
    At the age of 12, Zhou Jingyi made history for Singapore by securing victory in the 2017 ITTF World Hopes Week and Challenge in Luxembourg. Continuing her success at 18, Zhou claimed one women’s singles title and two mixed doubles titles in the WTT Youth Series in 2023.

    WONG Xin Ru (World No.134)
    A seasoned mixed doubles player at 22, Wong Xin Ru showcased her versatility and skill by winning a gold medal in the Mixed Doubles event at the 2021 Southeast Asian Games. Paired with Pang Yew En Koen, they are the highest-ranking pair in Team Singapore.

    QUEK Izaac (World No.57)
    Reaching his peak ranking at 57, Izaac Quek was identified as a talented athlete from an early age. In April 2021, Quek became the first Singaporean to top the Under-15 boys ITTF world ranking list. His victories in the U19 and U17 boy’s singles titles at the 2023 WTT Youth Contender, Antalya, demonstrate his determination and vital role in the mixed team format.

    PANG Yew En Koen (World No.101)
    Transitioning from gymnastics to table tennis at the age of 5, Pang Yew En Koen became the first Singaporean to reach the ITTF U18 World Rank No.1 in September 2019. As a seasoned doubles player, Pang ranks 24th in men’s doubles with Quek and 25th in mixed doubles with Wong, making him a key player in securing multiple wins.

    CHEW Zhe Yu Clarence (World No.184)
    At 28, Zhe Yu Clarence Chew has achieved a groundbreaking feat as the first Singapore-born paddler to qualify for the Olympic men’s singles event. Remarkably, he clinched mixed double title with Jian Zeng in WTT Feeders Antalya 2023.

    CHUA Josh Shao Han (World No. 239)
    Chua Josh Shao Han’s prowess in doubles play was evident as he achieved a significant milestone for Singapore in the 2019 World Junior Table Tennis Championships, earning a bronze medal in the Junior Boys’ Doubles event. Additionally, he claimed a silver medal in the Men’s Doubles category at the 2019 SEA Games.


    *Rankings according to latest on 21/11/2023
     
  19. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore women’s masters hockey team clinch gold at Asian Continental Cup
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    Singapore's women's masters hockey team clinched a gold medal at the Asian Continental Cup in Hong Kong. PHOTO: SINGAPORE WOMEN'S MASTERS HOCKEY TEAM
    Ervin Ang
    UPDATED
    NOV 28, 2023, 9:46 PM SGT

    FacebookX

    SINGAPORE – Just a month after her second SEA Games outing in Cambodia in May, Singapore women’s indoor hockey goalkeeper Phua Min Tze, 52, was itching for competitive action again.

    And opportunity came knocking for the veteran, when she linked up with teammates Ping Tan and Maxine Chia to form Singapore’s first women’s masters hockey team, which comprises locals and expatriates aged 40 and above.

    The team of 18 players then spent the following months juggling work and family commitments to train for the Asian Continental Cup in Hong Kong.

    On Nov 26, their efforts paid off as the over-40 team emerged as champions in the regional tournament, fending off stiff competition from hosts Hong Kong, South Korea and China. The men’s over-40 and over-50 teams won bronze medals in the same tournament.

    Their Cup campaign appeared to be over after losses to South Korea and Hong Kong in the group stages, but the Singapore women progressed to an elimination tie against Korea.

    With the contest ending goalless in regulation time, it was Phua who came to the rescue with four key saves in a thrilling penalty shoot-out as they prevailed 2-1 to progress to the final.

    Phua told The Straits Times: “During the shoot-out, my sole focus was on staying upright and agile, as coach Blaza (Wayne Blazejczyk) had emphasised.

    “My fellow goalkeeper buddy Sally said to me: ‘We can do it!’ We were determined to win this especially after many months of preparation and sacrifice.”

    Singapore went on to beat Hong Kong 1-0 in the tightly contested final to avenge their earlier defeats.

    Irishwoman Rachel Flynn, 43, who scored Singapore’s winning goal, said: “It’s hard to describe but, in the moment, my head was totally clear. Once I heard the bang on the backboard I just ran to find Priscilla (Koh), who had set the goal up.

    “The entire squad’s effort produced the outcome and that feeling of achieving something together is what keeps me playing team sports. Winning gold representing your chosen country is something on the next level. It means a lot.”

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
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    Dip in gold medals, but officials hail ‘successful’ Asian Games for Singapore

    While the masters team were officially formed only in June 2023, the idea for a social group consisting of women veterans was mooted at the 2022 Hockey 5s Pesta Sukan Cup.

    Flynn had learnt about it from Tan, Chia and teammate Jocelyn Teh, who were trying to grow the masters community in Singapore, and interest gradually picked up.

    Phua, who won a bronze at the 2001 SEA Games, said: “Personally, it’s about staying active, fighting obesity, and ageing in a strong, fun and purposeful manner.

    “The SEA games is a celebration of youth and athleticism, while the masters is about encouraging participation and enjoying our game with better maturity.

    “It is a different world, both unique and fulfilling. But for the common goals of showcasing women in sport, having an active sporting culture through different age groups and wanting to make Singapore proud.”

    The team will get another chance to don national colours at the Outdoor World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, in October 2024. Coach Blazejczyk is optimistic about his charges’ chances at the international tournament.

    “The World Cup is certainly the main stage for this team and I think they can perform very well,” he said.

    “It will be a step up with all the big hockey nations of the world competing. But, with hard work and the commitment these ladies and their families have shown, I believe anything is possible for the team.”
     
  20. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon: Zac Leow breaks world-record time as he celebrates daughter's birthday
    Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon: Zac Leow breaks world-record time as he celebrates daughter's birthday (msn.com)

    Story by Chia Han Keong • 14h

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    Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon: Zac Leow breaks world-record time as he celebrates daughter's birthday

    SINGAPORE — Almost 10 years after taking part in his first marathon after overcoming paralysis, para-athlete Dr Zac Leow ran his second marathon race - and achieved his ambition of setting a Guinness world-record time at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) on Sunday (3 December).
    On the day of his daughter Mika's second birthday, the 37-year-old exercise scientist emphatically smashed the CI1 (men) para-classification marathon world-record mark of 5hr 30min, completing the 42.195km race in 4hr 51min 59sec and crossing the finish line at the National Stadium - the same place where he had clinched an ASEAN Para Games men's 1,500m (T37) silver medal in 2015.

    “It was a struggle to reach the finish line," an emotional Leow said after his race. "I’m thankful that the route is different this year because running past key landmarks rejuvenated me when I struggled.

    "I’m from Victoria School, along the East Coast Parkway service road, so when I saw my school during my run, I was reminded of the fighting spirit instilled in us there, and that kept me going.”

    This record-breaking marathon run will also be his final race, with doctors advising him against pushing his body's limits due to back pains earlier this year. He will continue running to stay fit - a testament to his fortitude in overcoming paralysis after a bike accident in Perth in 2013.
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    Two-time SEA Games gold medallist Soh Rui Yong crosses the finishing line to clinch his fourth national marathon title at the 2023 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. (PHOTO: The IRONMAN Group)© Provided by Yahoo Southeast Asia.

    Soh Rui Yong wins fourth national men's marathon title
    Leow's run was one of many personal triumphs at this year's SCSM. Over 44,000 runners - including more than 8,000 international participants from over 70 countries - took to the streets on Sundays, testing their physical limits in both the marathon and the 21.1km half-marathon.
    Two-time SEA Games gold medallist Soh Rui Yong clinched his fourth national marathon title at the annual event, clocking 2:40:34 to add to his triumphs from 2017 to 2019 and win the S$10,000 winner's cheque. The 32-year-old finished ahead of Daniel Leow, who clocked 2:48:08 to finish second, while Benjamin Khoo timed in at 2:50:37 in third.

    Soh admitted after the race that he was not in tip-top marathon shape yet, having not ran a full marathon since setting the national record of 2:22:59 in Valencia in 2021. “It is a nice feeling to be national champion again. I have not run a marathon in two years, so to make a comeback to the marathon in Singapore is very nice," he told The Straits Times.

    Soh was the 17th-fastest man in the marathon race on Sunday, as Kenya's David Barmasai Tumo emerged victorious in the Gold Label Elite marathon men's category, clocking a time of 2:14:15. In a Kenyan sweep of the podium, Tumo's compatriots Geoffrey Birgen and Anderson Seroi finished second (2:14:30) and third (2:15:59) respectively.

    "Running is my passion," Tumo enthused after his win. "I was aiming to improve my position from my last race here in 2018, and I focused on my agenda and got on track with my training gradually. Today, I’m getting the fruits of that.”

    [​IMG]
    Kenya's David Barmasai Tumo crosses the finishing line to win the elite men's category at the 2023 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. (PHOTO: The IRONMAN Group)© Provided by Yahoo Southeast Asia

    Rachel See wins both national and Masters women's titles
    Veteran runner Rachel See won the Singapore national women's race in 3:05:51, the 41-year-old collapsing in exhaustion after crossing the finishing line and being taken away in a wheelchair before recovering later. Jasmine Teo came in second in 3:13:35, while Jasmine Goh was close behind in 3:13:46.

    Bahrain's Rose Chelimo claimed the top spot in the women's elite race, her time of 2:37:18) just managing beating Kenya's Beatrice Jelagat Cherop (2:37:35). Meseret Dinke of Ethiopia finished in 2:37:48 to take the bronze medal.

    Chelimo, who gave birth to her second child in 2021, said, “This is my first marathon win since 2018 and since I went on maternity leave in 2021. There were a lot of challenges to come back from maternity leave and I had to train very hard to do so.

    "Although this was the most difficult race I have ever done due to the heat and the humidity, it is a great feeling to know I can still compete for championships. I am looking forward to seeing my family back home and I know they will give me a warm welcome.”

    In the half-marathon national championships, Shaun Goh pulled away with 2km to go to win the men's race in 1:12:49, ahead of Jon Lim (1:13:01). Jeevaneesh Soundararajah was third in 1:15:45.

    Vanessa Lee won the national women’s half marathon in 1:28:30, ahead of Serena Teoh in 1:29:56, while Leann Lee was third in 1:38:17.

    In the Masters category, Yong He claimed the men’s overall title with a marathon finish of 2:51:07, while See took top spot in the women's category.

    The SCSM also featured a series of shorter races on Friday and Saturday, such as the 10km, 5km, and Kids Dash, ensuring an inclusive event that welcomed runners of all ages and abilities.
     

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