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12-08-2006, 07:10 AM #1
China Import Brings Cheer to Singaporeans at Doha
At long last, tiny Singapore's National Flag of five small white stars and a huge white crescent on half red and white background was hoisted at the Doha Asian Games 2006.
Young school children have come to know the crescent as representing a young nation on the rise and the five stars remind them of the nation's ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.
Two other flags flank the Singapore flag - those of the giants, China (in population) and Japan (in economic wealth) as though helping the Singapore flag to be raised higher.
Then Singapore's National Anthem "Majulah Singapura" (Onward Singapore) was on air and in the midst of these pageantry stood a tiny girl on the winner's rostrum trying hard to remember and sing in words, the Malay lyrics which was so foreign to her not too long ago! Singapore's business language is English but in view of our mixed population, Malay, Chinese and Tamil are our official languages as well. For we are a migrant society, our forefathers hailed mainly from the southern shores of India and China amongst the largely Malay and Indonesian archipelagoes.
Hubei-born Tao Li, now 16, but barely 5ft tall just brought honour to her adopted country Singapore by winning the 50m Butterfly in a national record time of 26.73s. All Singaporeans are proud of her achievement! She was brought to Singapore by her swimming coach mother not too long ago. She is now a Secondary One student at the Singapore Sports School and hopes to study and train in the United States when the right time comes.
For winning this gold medal and a bronze for the 100m fly last Saturday, Tao Li will receive S$250,000 and S$62,500 respectively. And there will certainly be more prize monies waiting for this talented and ambitious young lady to win in years to come. But her main target is Beijing Olympics 2008. An Olympic gold is worth a cool S$1 million.
And who is to say she has no chance against other competitors? China's Xu Yanwei and Japan's Yuka Kato should know better for they lost to Tao Li in this event!
A Singapore China import beating China's own fastest swimmer in the 50m fly at this Asian Games! Who would have imagined? Fairy tale!
Tao Li has benefited immensely from Singapore's foreign talent scheme. Would she enjoy such similar success if she were to remain where she was before?
Go on Tao Li, stand up for Singapore and bring us many more successes!
Last edited by Loh; 12-08-2006 at 07:13 AM.
12-15-2006, 02:17 AM #2
Here's a pic of our 50m Butterfly Champion Tao Li, who first came to Singapore with the main purpose of studying English. She was spotted by our Olympian and once the world's fastest 50m free style sprinter, Ang Siong Peng and was soon brought into the fold of our own talented swimmers. Tao Li did not dissappoint when she won Singapore's first Asian Games gold for women in Doha.
Last edited by Loh; 12-15-2006 at 02:22 AM.
12-15-2006, 02:37 AM #3
The USA is also full of immigrants who now bring glory to their adopted nation.You are right to be proud of your imports,Loh,for soon nobody will remember them as imports.
12-15-2006, 02:39 AM #4
Another pic of Tao Li, a photo by Leonard Thomas, Sports Editor and taken from Today, Dec 14, 2005:
12-15-2006, 10:53 AM #5
She looks old for her age.. 16? I thought 26. Congrats for winning the Gold for Singapore!
12-15-2006, 02:24 PM #6
Cheers to Tao LI ! Singapore government is smart.
12-19-2006, 03:56 AM #7
How Tao Li compares to local-born Joscelin Yeo
Well, its good to know that Tao Li was discovered by Ang Peng Siong much earlier in 2000 and being developed into an Asian Games champion in about 6 years!
The Electric New Paper :
TAO LI v JOSCELIN
JUST how do you make a comparison like this?
By Wang Meng Meng
18 December 2006
Standing in one corner is Singapore's latest sports star - a plucky 16-year-old girl born in China, naturalised in the Lion City and, now, an Asian champion.
At the other end is a battle-hardened veteran - a 27-year-old seasoned campaigner who has been there, done that and bought the T-shirt, too.
Until now, Joscelin Yeo had been the undisputed swim queen ever since she burst onto the scene as an 11-year-old at the Beijing Asian Games.
But has the time come for the crown to be passed on to fresh-faced Tao Li? Who was the better swimmer at the age of 16?
Here is how their track records look:
JOSCELIN: In 1990, the year Tao Li was born, a Methodist Girls' School student made headlines at the National Age Group Championships.
Entering in 10 events, young Yeo made a clean sweep of 10 gold medals, smashing 10 records along the way as well.
That was a feat that even past greats such as Pat Chan and Junie Sng never managed to pull off.
Her events were: 200m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 50m butterfly, 100m freestyle, 50m breaststroke, 100m backstroke, 200m individual medley, 50m freestyle, 100m breaststroke and 100m butterfly.
But Jos was upset after the meet.
Why? Because her best friend didn't qualify.
TAO LI: Tao Li, 15, broke May Ooi's 13-year-old national record for the 200m backstroke at last year's Singapore Sports School's national championships.
However, her mark will not stand as she was not a citizen yet.
But it was only a matter of time before this bright, young talent became Singapore swimming's first foreign talent.
In a busy 2005, Tao won 10 gold medals at the National Age Group Championships and followed that up with another five at the Asean Schools Championships.
JOSCELIN: A month after her sensational debut at the National Age Group Championships, Yeo scooped up seven golds at the Asean Age Group Championships in Bangkok.
She also broke five meet records: 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 50m breaststroke, 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley.
Yeo also bagged the best performance award at the meet.
TAO LI: In Dec 2004, Tao returned to her homeland and demonstrated her potential at the China National Championships.
She finished fourth in the 100m butterfly with a time of 1:01.01. Olympian and Asian record holder Zhou Yafei won in 59s flat.
Two years later at Doha, the tables will be turned.
JOSCELIN: Sep 1990, Yeo became the youngest-ever Singaporean to participate at the Asian Games.
Although she was part of the team that finished sixth in the 400m freestyle relay, Yeo contributed by helping the quartet break the national record with a time of 4:07.85.
The 11-year-old's timing in the 100m breaststroke (1:18.05) broke the national record as well.
TAO LI: On 17 Aug 2005, Tao received her Singapore citizenship.
And she celebrates her big day by bettering the SEA Games qualifying marks in five events: 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley.
Based on those timings, she would have won gold medals in the 2003 SEA Games in Vietnam. Her timing in the 100m backstroke was also a new national mark.
Her astonishing progress prompted some sour grapes in the local fraternity when the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports and the Singapore Sports Council reportedly received letters complaining that Tao was so good because she took drugs.
She has been tested negative.
JOSCELIN: Four months after her Asian Games exploits, Yeo smashed her own 100m breaststroke national mark by almost three seconds when she timed 1:15.61.
The feat, achieved during the National Inter-Primary Schools Championships, would have beaten the gold medal mark set in the 1989 SEA Games.
TAO LI: Tao makes her eagerly-anticipated SEA Games debut as a 15-year-old in the Philippines.
But the new Singapore citizen was also eager to impress.
Starting too quickly in the 200m backstroke, she nearly ran out of steam towards the end. Still, she showed her grit by hanging on to win.
Her time of 2:17.55 became a new national record.
JOSCELIN: At the age of 12, Yeo took part in the first of her eight SEA Games.
Though she did not strike gold in the Philippines, she took home two silvers (100m breaststroke, 4X100m medley relay) and three bronzes (50m freestyle, 200m individual medley, 4X100m freestyle relay).
TAO LI: It was Tao-mania at the 2005 SEA Games.
In addition to her victory in the 200m backstroke, the Queenstown Primary pupil won three more gold medals.
She triumphed in the 200m butterfly (2:14.11, SEA Games and national record), 100m backstroke (1:03.83, SEA Games and national record) and 4X100m medley (4:14.49, SEA Games record).
The 4X100m medley win was a special moment for Singapore swimming as both Tao and Yeo were in the relay team.
Tao bagged a $23,750 reward for her efforts.
JOSCELIN: Two years after her SEA Games debut, Yeo returned to the Asean stage and, this time, she was ready to dominate.
The 14-year-old was the talk of the town as she opened the swimming competition by winning the 100m freestyle in a Games record time of 57.58s. That was also good enough for a gold in the men's event if she had swam at the 1967 Kuala Lumpur Games.
On the same day, she set a new Games mark in the 200m individual medley (2:17.48) - a whopping five seconds ahead of the silver medallist.
Those were Singapore's first gold medals for a female swimmer at the SEA Games in a decade.
In the next few days, Yeo would pick up seven more gold medals - 50m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 100m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke, 100m butterfly, 4x100m medley relay and 4x100m freestyle relay.
All, except the 200m freestyle, were new Asean records.
Yeo's clean sweep was blemished slightly when she finished second in the 400m individual medley.
Her 100m breaststroke timing (1:12.04) was good enough to win her an Olympic gold medal in 1972.
Later, Yeo would spend National Day in 1993 receiving the Public Service Star - the second female swimmer to earn the award after Sng.
Those gold medals were also the first of her 40 achieved at Asean level, a feat that has eclipsed Chan's total haul of 39. Yeo would go on to receive the Meritorious Service Medal this year as Singapore's most decorated athlete.
TAO LI: Next on Tao's agenda is the Commonwealth Games in March.
Held at Melbourne, the 16-year-old finished fifth in the 50m butterfly in 26.78s.
Her personal best then was 26.92s.
In the 100m butterfly final, the Secondary One student at the Sports School finished last with a time of 1:00.63.
Her personal best of 1:00.15 was set in the semi-final.
JOSCELIN: Yeo was the centre of attention once more at the Hiroshima Asian Games.
This time, she was Singapore's only swimmer to return home with a medal, taking the bronze in the 100m butterfly.
Her time of 1:01.62 became a new national record for the 1994 Sportswoman of the Year.
And she was still only 15.
FACE-OFF: In a face-off between apprentice and master, Tao took on Yeo in the 50m butterfly final at the Milo Asia Swimming Championships in March.
Having never broken the 27-second barrier, the flyer from Wuhan finally clocked a personal best of 26.92s.
That gave her the gold medal.
Yeo finished second, coming in at 27.37s.
The win was also significant as it was the first time Tao had focused on the butterfly event, having previously competed in backstroke.
After her win, the bubbly youngster hoped that she would finally meet her favourite singer, Stefanie Sun.
JOSCELIN: Although she did not repeat her nine-gold feat, Yeo still came home with a staggering total of seven individual golds and two team silvers at the 1995 SEA Games.
The 16-year-old broke five Asean records along the way: 50m freestyle (26.73s), 100m freestyle (57.27s), 200m freestyle (2:04.01), 100m breaststroke (1:11.37) and 100m butterfly (1:01.59).
She was also awarded US$10,000 ($15,400) as the best female athlete in Chiang Mai.
She was given a further $10,000 under the Singapore National Olympic Council and F&N Coca-Cola incentive scheme.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR TAO LI: The best way for Tao to forget her Commonwealth Games disappointment was to strike gold.
And she did it with style at the Doha Asian Games last week.
She warmed up by breaking her own national record in the 50m backstroke (29.20s).
Next, she emulated Yeo's bronze medal heroics at the 1994 Asiad by finishing third in the 100m butterfly with a time of 58.96s, another new national mark.
But she saved the best for last - by winning in the 50m butterfly final, Singapore's first Asian Games gold medal in swimming since Ang Peng Siong's triumph at the 1982 New Delhi Games.
Tao, who was discovered by Ang in 2000, showed true grit to overcome her disadvantages.
Standing some 15cm shorter than her Chinese rivals Zhou Yafei and Xu Yanwei, the stocky 16-year-old made up for it with fast reflexes by plunging into the pool first, which gave her a 0.03s headstart over second-placed Xu.
Once in the lead, the teen never relinquished her advantage. And she touched home in 26.73s, beating her illustrious rivals.
The question now is: How far can she go?
12-19-2006, 04:11 AM #8
China superseded twice by tiny Singapore
The Electric New Paper :
By Brian Miller
18 December 2006
HERE'S the news from Doha: China didn't win medals in bowling, handball, squash and kabaddi.
Okay, add equestrian to that list. And, for good measure, here's a reminder. They were lucky to nick a bronze in sepak takraw.
But don't hold your breath. They're not on a wane. The Red Army's generals have vowed to fortify their ranks, reassess the situation and, in four years, they promise to be more thorough.
What all this means is that there will be fewer crumbs falling from the table for the rest of Asia to fight over.
For the rest of the news... oh, come on, do you really need to know?
Okay. On the final day of competition, China struck gold in men's basketball to send their gold medal tally soaring to a glittering 165 - surpassing their best-ever finish of 150 achieved in Busan four years ago.
Yes, for all of us, the Asian Games ended just like it began, with the Red Army marching on relentlessly, gobbling up everything in its path - gold, silver and even 63 boring bronzes.
Then again, did we expect anything other than a China sweep of the medals at these Games?
Arabian Nights? No way, man. Rather, it was China - morning, noon and night.
Indeed, the Asian 'Games' was just that - a game which China played with their Asian neighbours.
They toyed with the rest of us; never giving an inch even as a gesture of Asian solidarity.
Yes, China marched into Doha with their No. 1 army and a logistics crew who were second to none.
And when they left, some 14 days later, they had pillaged and plundered all the riches of Qatar.
What a show!
Even Ang Lee, that great Chinese film director, couldn't have crafted a better performance. But, like he would say, it was worth a Golden Horse award. Certainly not an Oscar.
So, exactly how good were the Chinese at these Games?
For their virtuosity and versatility - which came naturally - I say they could have done better. Or rather, they should have done better.
Before you start pounding the table, demanding to know what Games I've been watching, I say let's not get too excited and take it slowly.
Take swimming. How good are the Chinese? Apparently, not so good. Sure, they won 16 gold medals in the pool but they set only one new Asian Games record.
Aside from that triple gold show from Xu Yanwei and the new Asian mark by Chen Zuo in the 100m freestyle, China's performance in the pool was, by their standards, ordinary.
Taking nothing away from Tao Li's great swim, which gave Singapore a fantastic swimming gold medal, let it be noted that she beat a Chinese champion.
Yes, China were caught napping by a doggedly determined Japanese team and a South Korean teenager who blitzed them in the freestyle.
Indeed, at the medal count, Japan were ahead 47-42.
They had finally stepped out from under the giant shadows of the Chinese, finding their place in the light and warmth of hard-won distinction.
Then there was track and field and China paraded 100 m hurdles champ Liu Xiang.
Annointed the 'Chinese David Beckham', the world champion cruised to a comfortable win in his only event, setting a meet record of 13:15 seconds, which was far from his world record time.
Of course, as reigning world champions, they were awesome in table tennis, which prompted their top men's player Ma Lin to say: 'It was so easy - the final of the team contest - that we would have won even if we sent in our second team.'
But let's not forget that their top woman, Wang Nan, lost in the singles semi-final to Hongkong's Tie Yana.
China would also lose their dominance in rowing, where their 100 per cent Asian Games record fell when Uzbekistan clinched the lightweight double sculls title.
Until then, China have won 59 of the 62 gold medals up for grabs since rowing was introduced into the 1982 New Delhi Games.
But the gloom would have been lifted when the powerful Chinese ended Japan's 20-year hold on the judo gold medals.
Such was their misery, that the Japanese head coach said: 'This is the end for us. It is a disgrace for Japan.'
China won five golds - all from the women's events - to top the table.
In badminton, a sport we're more familiar with, China lost the blue riband men's singles crown when, before a packed house, Lin Dan crashed to arch-rival Taufik Hidayat.
It was a bitter blow for the badminton powerhouse, whose women dominated in their division.
China's sailors must still be smarting; not from the brine in their eyes but from the fact that 'little' Singapore outclassed them in sailing.
But before the rest of Asia start patting themselves on the back and saying: 'If Singapore can do it...' perhaps they should look at hockey, waterpolo and boxing.
In hockey, China tossed aside traditional powers India and Pakistan before losing 3-1 to South Korea in the final.
In waterpolo, they struck gold for the first time since 1990, beating Japan in the final.
And, after having won just a solitary boxing gold medal in Games history - that being the lightweight gold won in Beijing 16 years ago - China rapidly trebled that count at these Games.
It was, truly, a knockout show.
China had previously given boxing scant attention until now, which makes one wonder, when will they enter a team for kabaddi.
So, what are we to make of China's show at these Games? Were they really ordinary?
Or was it a massive public relations exercise by the Chinese who, with Beijing beckoning two years from now, decided that the fewer secrets revealed, the better?
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