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  1. #1
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore Sports Scene

    Swimming: Tao Li out of race to Rio

    TODAY reports: Veteran swimmer Tao Li confirms that she will not compete in the upcoming Olympic Games despite meeting the 'B' qualifying mark for the 100m fly.



    Singapore swimmer Tao Li. (Photo: Jack Board)


    SINGAPORE: Sports fans will remember that electrifying moment eight years ago at the Beijing Olympic Games, as they watched swim queen Tao Li splash her way to fifth position in the women’s 100m butterfly. They had witnessed history on their television sets, with Tao becoming the first Singaporean swimmer to reach a final at the Olympics.
    But the veteran swimmer - who also competed at the 2012 London Games - has since decided to close the chapter on her Olympic career. The 26-year-old confirmed on Wednesday (Jan 13) that she will not be competing in the Rio de Janeiro Games despite meeting the Olympic ‘B’ qualifying mark for the 100m fly.
    Tao intends to concentrate on her new business venture, the Tao Li Swimming Club, and her final year business management studies at UniSIM. She will not be retiring for now as she plans to compete at the SEA Games and Asian Games in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
    “To me, it’s not whether I meet the ‘A’ or ‘B’ mark, I want to be better than last time,” said Tao on the sidelines of the spexBusiness Network appreciation lunch at Volkswagen Exclusive on Wednesday.
    “My best at the Olympics is fifth, and if I can get a medal I will go. If not, then I won’t continue as it’s meaningless. Yes (there is sadness), but I went to two Olympic Games and that is quite enough for me. For the 2012 Olympics and Asian Games I put school aside to train … I have to study now and I have no time for competitions.”
    A veteran of six SEA Games, three Asian Games and two Olympics, Tao’s career highlights include two Asian gold medals in the 50m fly, multiple medals at the SEA Games, and two Sportswoman of the Year awards in 2007 and 2008.
    She now trains up to five times a week on her own while juggling her studies and her business. Started with an investment of approximately S$10,000, the Tao Li Swimming Club at Temasek Club will open officially on Sunday with a trial class for swimmers, and she plans to expand her business by setting up satellite centres around the island in future. Currently manned by Tao and three staff - an administrator and two coaches - the club will focus on learn-to-swim programmes for children and adults, with elite and competitive athletes to be included next month.
    Exchange programmes with clubs in Australia and the United States are also in the works.
    The veteran swimmer added: “I’m very excited as this is something I’ve always wanted to do. Making money is one thing, but mainly I want to contribute as I have so much knowledge that I want to pass on. I want to bring up the standard of swimming here.”

  2. #2
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Vision 2020: S’pore, a world-class swimming nation

    Swimming head coach Sergio Lopez at a training session with national swimmers. Quality coaching is a key part of the SSA’s plan to improve Singapore’s swim results. TODAY file photo


    ByNoah Tan
    noahtanyw@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 4:15 AM, January 16, 2016

    SINGAPORE — Having established itself as the region’s undisputed kingpin of swimming at last year’s SEA Games, the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) has now turned its attention to its next main goal: Turning Singapore into a “world-class swimming nation” by the 2020 Olympic Games.

    At the last South-east Asian Games, while Singapore comfortably led the swim tally with 42 medals — including 23 gold — its swimmers have yet to make their presence felt at the Asian and world levels, with just Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen having qualified for the coming Rio Olympics so far. But the SSA aims to redress this by the time of the Tokyo Games, say officials.

    The signs are promising. While only Schooling and Quah have made the “A” timing for the Rio Olympics so far, eight other swimmers have joined them in reaching the “B” cut — the highest number in SSA history. Swimmers who clock “A” timings are guaranteed places in that particular event at the Games, while those with “B” timings will be ranked and allocated a certain number of places per event.

    Although having more qualifiers for Rio remains a short-term target for the SSA, its eventual aim is to develop a sustainable swimming ecosystem capable of consistently churning out top-level swimmers. The plan is for this goal to come to fruition in four years’ time, when it intends to send a sizeable contingent to the Tokyo Games.

    “While the pool of talented swimmers in Singapore is smaller than some countries like China, we strongly believe that we have, and always had, exceptional talent,” said SSA secretary-general Oon Jin Teik.

    “Just being ‘confident or optimistic’ about medalling at any Olympics is not a strategy. Achieving world-class results is centred around creating a high-performance ecosystem with all the ingredients for the pool of talented swimmers to consistently be the best in class.”

    An improved developmental pipeline

    The 5th FINA World Junior Championships on home soil last year proved a successful outing for the 22-strong Singapore team — four new national age-group records were set, an Olympic “B” timing was achieved, and history made as Francis Fong, Samuel Khoo, Dylan Koo and Darren Lim made the men’s 4x100m medley relay final.

    National assistant coach Gary Tan said the good work done by the various swim clubs here is one reason for the increase in the number of promising youth talents coming through the ranks. “The clubs, over the last couple of years, have done good foundational work in developing young swimmers,” Tan told TODAY.

    “Hopefully by having that structure, the National Training Centre (NTC), and the new National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI) coming up, things will start to look better for the whole swim community.”

    Tan added that with support from the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI), more of these young swimmers’ psychological and physiological needs were being taken care of, ensuring that they will not leave the sport.

    Emphasis on teamwork

    Another SSA strategy is to have more swimmers training in the relay events. This serves two purposes: To cultivate a “Team Singapore-first” mindset, while also giving the swimmers the confidence to perform better individually. “Teamwork and relays are key features of where we are heading,” explained Tan.

    “We’re trying as much as possible to go in every single meet thinking of ourselves as Team Singapore instead of individuals, so all the training partners are helping each other. To get four people to participate in the Olympics as a relay team is very hard. But to qualify for that, you have to swim at a high level, which usually borders on the ‘A’ mark for individual events. So, if they qualify for the relay, that’s where they start to understand that they can be competitive on an individual basis as well.”

    Top-level competition

    Tan also acknowledged that, for young swimmers to better develop, it is important that they consistently challenge themselves in a competitive training environment — one reason why Schooling opted to study in the United States at the University of Texas. However, with the SSA working on increasing competitive levels here, he believes local swimmers can reach their full potential without having to train overseas.

    “We have reached a point where people now have faith in the programme, that they can do their university here and swim competitively at the same time,” he said. “We want our swimmers to achieve both sporting excellence as well as their academic aspirations here.

    “One way we have increased the competitiveness of our training environment is by bringing in foreign sparring partners, such as American breaststroke specialist Kevin Cordes, to help our swimmers raise their game.”

    Other top swimmers who have trained here include Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson, a silver medallist (50m backstroke) at last year’s World Championships, and Americans Micah Lawrence (200m backstroke silver medallist at last year’s World Championships) and Sean Mahoney.

    Up-and-coming swimmers Rex Tulliuss of the US Virgin Islands and Michael Meyer of the US are also currently training at the NTC.

    Development of coaches

    Another crucial cog in SSA’s developmental wheel is the improvement of local coaches. A committee, headed by experienced high-performance manager Sonya Michelle Porter, who was brought in by national head coach Sergio Lopes, has been set up to oversee this.

    Tan declined to reveal the finer details of what the committee would be working on to achieve better standards of coaching here, but said that more opportunities and support will be provided to local coaches.

    With the SSA taking this holistic approach to improving the standard of swimming, Oon is confident it is only a matter of time before more Singapore swimmers start making waves on a global level.

    “SSA has adopted an athlete-centric, coach-driven, and science-supported strategy, and will work with other stakeholders to ensure all supporting roles for success are aligned,” said the former national swimmer. “With this system in place, we aim high with our targets for sustainable success, and we strive to give every NTC swimmer a chance to be the next Joseph Schooling and more.”

  3. #3
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    Default S’pore break 21-year duck in SEA Squash Cup team triumph

    Team Singapore with their team event trophy after they defeated Malaysia at the SEA Squash cup in Myanmar on Jan 17, 2016. Photo: Singapore Squash Rackets Association


    They avenge last year’s defeat by M’sia and clinch 2 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze


    By Amanpreet Singh
    amanpreet@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 10:01 PM, January 17, 2016
    Updated: 2:30 AM, January 18, 2016


    SINGAPORE — Team Singapore ended their SEA Squash Cup campaign on a high today (Jan 17) as they defeated rivals Malaysia 3-2 on the final day of competition in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, to clinch the team event trophy — the first time in 21 years that Singapore beat Malaysia in a squash team event.

    Two men’s and two women’s singles matches, and one men’s jumbo doubles match, are contested in the best-of-five fixture. Going into today’s final group match, both countries had won all three of their matches and were level on points.

    Vivian Rhamanan and Samuel Kang got Singapore off to a flying start as they defeated Malaysian pair Valentino Bong and Ryan Pasqual 11-3, 11-6 in straight sets.

    However, Malaysia regained the initiative with back-to-back wins in the women’s singles to storm into a 2-1 overall lead. First, women’s top seed S Sivasangari defeated Nur Adawiyah 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 and then Aika Azman saw off 14-year-old Sneha Sivakumar 11-13, 7-11, 7-11, 9-11.

    With two men’s singles matches to go, it was all there to play for, and Singapore needed to win both matches to clinch the trophy and avenge last year’s defeat in which they lost 3-2 to Malaysia in the final.

    Kang got the ball rolling when he defeated Bong 11-3, 11-3, 11-9 in what was a tight clash that saw the 26-year-old work his socks off to secure the win. With the score tied at 2-2, it was down to the Republic’s only squash professional, Rhamanan, to bring home the trophy against Marcus Sim.

    The 29-year-old duly delivered.

    Rhamanan held his nerve to win an enthralling opening two sets 11-9, 11-9 before winning his last set 11-4 as his opponent tired out. It was a classic case of cometh the hour, cometh the man.

    “The day has finally come where we have beaten Malaysia in a team event. It’s like a dream come true for all of us and we are thoroughly overjoyed,” said Rhamanan. “We were up against players who are training full-time and given more exposure than us, and yet we managed to show we (are) able to match and beat them.”

    Added Kang: “It feels really good to get the win today. My coach and team-mates gave me a game plan after I lost in the individual event and I am glad I was able to stick to it.”

    The win ensured Singapore ended the SEA Squash Cup with two gold medals (team event and men’s jumbo doubles) two silver medals (men’s singles and women’s jumbo doubles) and two bronzes (men’s singles and women’s singles).

    Said national coach Ibrahim Gul: “I am very proud of my team today. Samuel is the man of the championship for me and I could see in his eyes that he was hungry for the win.”

    He added: “I would like to thank the Singapore Squash Rackets *Association for sending us for this tournament and fully funding it. Without them it wasn’t possible.

    “Singapore has immense talent and, if the government supports us and gives us the right exposure, then I am sure we will continue to win more medals.”

  4. #4
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Pride, and some regret, as Tao Li reflects on the past

    Tao Li, in coaching mode at her academy at the Temasek Club, is keen to give back to Singapore and help push swimming up to another level. Photo: Adelene Wong

    Swimmer opens Singapore academy to find the next big thing in swimming

    By Adelene Wong
    adelenewong@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 4:15 AM, January 18, 2016
    Updated: 7:38 AM, January 18, 2016


    SINGAPORE — When Tao Li came out of the pool at the London Aquatics Centre after exiting the semi-finals of the women’s 100m butterfly at the 2012 Olympics, she already knew her dream of achieving an Olympics medal was as good as over.

    Then 22, she had calculated that she would be “too old” for another shot in Rio de Janeiro four years later. It was why she opted out of the Rio Games in August and started planning for life after her competitive swimming days were over.

    Yesterday, the 26-year-old launched her own swimming academy — the Tao Li Swimming Club — at the Temasek Club. She is also completing her studies in business management at the Singapore Institute of Management in her spare time.

    While this new direction in life is exciting, Tao Li cannot help but look back at her swimming career with a tinge of regret.

    “Missing out on an Olympics medal and a hat-trick of Asian Games gold medals in 2014 (she took silver after winning in both the 2006 and 2010 editions) are my biggest regrets. But, in life, things don’t always go your way,” she said, while reflecting with TODAY on her 12-year swimming career. “You are given certain things in life, and you make the most out of those.”

    The Wuhan native, who left China when she was 13 to pursue her swimming aspirations in Singapore in 2002 after being deemed “too short” for the China national swim team, has built her career out of defiance.

    Wearing her hair in shocking blonde, the 1.60m-tall swimmer also talked about having to “train doubly hard” because of her lack of height, and also having a “tough two to three years settling down” in Singapore in the beginning.

    “Everything wasn’t easy, and sometimes people don’t see what goes on behind the success. There were feelings of fear, nervousness, happiness, sadness, and frustrations en route to getting where I am today,” she said.

    Tao Li claimed that having three coaches in four years — Peter Churchill, Barry Prime and Ian Turner — leading up to the London Olympics disrupted her preparations.
    “I was also distracted during the peak period of my career from 2005 to 2008.

    Sometimes when you have achieved good things, you lose focus a little,” she said.
    “Of course, I pulled myself out of it soon enough. But I was feeling lost the past few years after so many coaching disruptions. I couldn’t find a coaching style that suits me and that I can stick with. After that, I couldn’t regain my peak form.”

    But make no mistake, Tao Li — who has competed in six SEA Games, three Asian Games and two Olympics — is not one to wallow in self-pity.

    “I am still one of the best swimmers in Asia. I’m still swimming a top-10 time at the Asian Games (in the 50m fly),” she said.

    “I don’t think I’m proud, but yes, top athletes do have a certain level of confidence in them and (are) able to block out the negative stuff. Perhaps it is just my personality, and this fire inside me to always want to look forward and look up.”

    The only thing that perhaps made Tao Li a little “sad and hurt” was when she received scathing remarks from Singaporeans who had not embraced her fully as a fellow countryman, and belittled her achievements in the pool. “Of course, I feel a little bit sad sometimes, but I don’t let it affect me too much. People are always going to talk, no matter how good or kind you are,” she said.

    “I have always been training in Singapore, I speak Singlish, I assimilate myself with the culture here. I am proud to be Singaporean. Sometimes, I feel that Singapore should be proud that I am someone who came through the local sporting system. I have never travelled overseas before the 2008 Olympics. I have always been training in Singapore, only leaving for a few months here and there to get some high-altitude training. I am proud as I am a perfect example that Singapore is capable of grooming (talented swimmers).”

    While Tao Li begins to wind down her swimming career, she is now focused on giving back to Singapore. Top of her agenda is to use her swimming academy to find the “next Tao Li”. She said: “Singapore has given me a home and given me so much, and I really want to give back and pass on my knowledge. I want to help Singapore swimming rise up to another level.”

    The Olympic flame may be doused, but Tao Li remains keen to compete at the regional level.

    “I am still going for the 2017 SEA Games, and I still want to get back my 50m fly title at the 2018 Asian Games. It is still very possible,” she said. “Don’t ever rule out anything. Look at Michael Phelps, he went in and out of retirement, and now he is back with good times. So, who knows?”

  5. #5
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Quah bags 200m free 'B' race in Texas

    The Straits Times

    Published
    4 hours ago


    Chua Siang Yee
    siangyee@sph.com.sg


    Singapore swimmer Quah Zheng Wen notched his first win - in a B final - at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Austin, Texas, on Saturday.

    He clocked 1min 49.68sec in a 200m freestyle race featuring world junior champion Maxime Rooney and Tom Shields, who won a 4x100m medley gold at last year's World Championships.

    Rooney was second in 1:50.07, ahead of Michael Klueh (1:50.10) and Shields (1:50.48).

    Quah, 19, also finished seventh in the 200m backstroke B final with a time of 2:04.61.

    Although both times were off his personal bests (1:49.17 for the 200m free and 2:00.55 for the 200m back), the experience of racing in an elite field was key for the swimmer, who had raced against the legendary Michael Phelps in the 100m butterfly A final on Friday.

    On the eve of the three-day meet, he had told The Straits Times: "(Racing against the big names) prepares us not just physically but also mentally, like learning how to (come from) behind and recover.

    "It also removes our awe of these swimmers... (and) it will really eventually help us race at a higher level against them."

    Quah has already booked his spot in August's Olympics, having qualified for the 100m back and 100m and 200m fly.

    He will line up on the blocks for the 100m back and 200m fly on the final day of the meet.

    Quah is part of a group of 10 national swimmers who are in the United States for a training camp with national coach Sergio Lopez.

  6. #6
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Athletics: Mok Ying Ren sets new national best in half-marathon at Arizona race

    Published

    29 min ago

    Chua Siang Yee
    siangyee@sph.com.sg

    SINGAPORE - Singapore marathoner Mok Ying Ren set a new national best time in the half marathon when he clocked 1hr 7min 8 sec at the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon.

    The previous national best of 1:07:21 was held by Soh Rui Yong, who had bettered Mok's earlier national mark of 1:07:29 last September at the San Jose Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon in California. Mok, the 2013 SEA Games marathon champion, clocked 1:08:22 at that race.

    "This result tells me I'm going in the right direction, which is a good sign," said Mok, who is training full-time in a bid to qualify for August's Olympics. The qualifying mark is 2:19, while Mok's personal best is 2:26:30, clocked in 2013.

    The result represents an upturn of fortunes for the orthopaedic surgery resident, who had to contend with a litany of injuries over the past two years. In 2014, he had to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games due to a shin injury. Last June, he pulled out of the SEA Games after hurting his left gluteal muscle.

    "There have been a lot of ups and downs with all the injuries, and I'm happy that I'm performing at a level higher than two years ago," said Mok.

  7. #7
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    Default Swimming: Zheng Wen finishes eighth in Austin meet, Schooling withdraws from B final

    Quah Zheng Wen in action in the 100m butterfly at the Fina Swimming World Cup on Oct 4, 2015. ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI


    Published
    Jan 16, 2016, 9:35 am SGT

    Jonathan Wong
    jonwong@sph.com.sg

    SINGAPORE - Swimmer Quah Zheng Wen got his 2016 campaign off to a positive note when he qualified for the men's 100m butterfly A final of the Arena Pro Swim Series in Austin, Texas on Friday evening (US time).

    The 19-year-old clocked 53.33seconds in the final to finish eighth, with American Olympic star Michael Phelps winning the gold in a time of 51.94sec ahead of Tom Shields (52.39sec) and Tim Phillips (52.61sec) at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.

    Fellow Singaporean Joseph Schooling, who holds the Asian record of 50.96sec which he set en route to bronze medal at the World Championships last August, timed 54.10sec on Friday morning and posted the 14th fastest time.

    He qualified for the B final which is on Friday evening but pulled out of the race.

    In a Facebook post, Schooling, 20, said: "Gave my best this morning in the heats but still not 100% recovered. Spoke to (head coach) Eddie (Reese) and was advised to pull out from this evening's race.

    "Kinda disappointed but most important thing today was to have a feel of the water and see how i fared.

    "Nevertheless, glad that another Singaporean is doing us proud in the 100 fly. Good luck Quah Zheng Wen! Will be rooting for you and the other guys swimming tonight."

    Both Schooling and Zheng Wen have qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio in August.

    In the women's 100m fly, Singapore's Quah Ting Weng and Nur Marina Chan clocked 1:02.26 and 1:03.68 respectively and did not qualify for the finals.

  8. #8
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    Default DPM Teo lauds Singapore bowling’s self-sustaining efforts

    The Singapore Bowling Federation built the biggest public bowling alley in Singapore in a bid to generate its own income.


    • Posted 16 Jan 2016 23:51
    • Updated 16 Jan 2016 23:55



    DPM Teo Chee Hean with Singapore's bowlers at the grand opening of SingaporeBowling@Rifle Range (Photo: Singapore Bowling Federation's Facebook page)


    SINGAPORE: Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean has commended the Singapore Bowling Federation's attempt to be financially self-sufficient.

    He said this on Saturday (Jan 16) at the grand opening of SingaporeBowling@Rifle Range, which is the biggest bowling centre in Singapore.

    Located within Temasek Club at Rifle Range Road, the centre has been open to the public since last October. The Singapore Bowling Federation is hoping to use the generated income by the centre to help fund itself.

    Boasting 38-lanes, the centre is also the home of the national bowling team.

    "Singapore Bowling has always wanted a training facility of its own, and I want to congratulate Singapore Bowling for having finally got one here at Temasek Club,” said Mr Teo, a former president of the Singapore National Olympic Council. “The 38 lanes, very modern facility, with state-of-the-art training systems will help the coaches bring the best out of our athletes."

  9. #9
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    Default Quah Zheng Wen swims to first place in Texas

    Quah Zheng Wen wins the 200m butterfly final at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Austin, Texas.


    • Posted 18 Jan 2016 20:14
    • Updated 18 Jan 2016 23:21



    Quah Zheng Wen taking part in the 200m butterfly race at the Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin. (Photo: Singapore Swimming Association)


    SINGAPORE: Singapore's Quah Zheng Wen on Sunday (Jan 17) won the 200m butterfly 'A' final on the third and final day of the Arena Pro Swim Series in Austin, Texas.

    The 19-year-old clocked 1 minute 58.07 seconds, just 1.5 seconds off his personal best, to touch home first.

    Sweden’s Simon Sjodin came in second place, 0.2 second behind while American Andrew Seliskar rounded out the top three, a further 0.2 second back.


    Quah has already booked his place in the Rio Olympics, having qualified for three events. He is part of a group of 10 national swimmers in the United States for the competition.

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    Default NUH Sports Centre set to serve 10,000 patients a year

    The NUH Sports Centre provides integrated care for sports and exercise-related conditions for recreational and elite athletes, as well as military personnel. Photo: Robin Choo/TODAY


    Facility will also support education, research in sports medicine

    By Adelene Wong
    adelenewong@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 1:49 PM, January 22, 2016
    Updated: 12:34 AM, January 23, 2016

    SINGAPORE — The National University Hospital (NUH) has set up a new dedicated facility, called the NUH Sports Centre, to provide integrated care for sports and exercise-related conditions for recreational and elite athletes, as well as military personnel.

    Operational since last July, the 245sqm multi-discipline centre, which expects to see 10,000 patients annually, was officially opened today (Jan 23) by Grace Fu, the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth.

    It is the fourth sports medicine facility in Singapore. The other three are housed in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Changi General Hospital (CGH). The Changi Sports Medicine Centre, housed within two floors at CGH, covers an estimated 743sqm, and remains the biggest facility here.

    The range of facilities in the NUH Sports Centre, situated at Lower Kent Ridge Road, includes an orthopaedic sports surgery clinic, a sports medicine clinic, a children’s sports clinic, and a sports physiotherapy and exercise clinic.

    It also provides sports imaging and acupuncture services, and a fully-equipped gym.

    “We have very good sports centres in Singapore, (but) on a geographical level, the western region does not have a dedicated sports centre. Now we have one here,” said NUH Sports Centre director Dr Lingaraj Krishna.

    “Our multi-discipline, multi-departmental sports team has been working extremely hard the past year to set up the sports centre and deliver on its three core aims.”

    The first aim, said Krishna, is to provide clinical care to individuals with sports and exercise-related injuries and illness. The NUH centre has partnered with the National University of Singapore to provide medical support for the tertiary institution’s teams in 47 sports.

    Krishna added: “We also treat injured servicemen from the Singapore Armed Forces, mainly from the camps from the western part of Singapore, allowing them to return to service in tip-top condition.”

    The centre’s second aim is to promote sport and exercise as an essential component of healthy lifestyle, “to help to improve the individual and societal well-being,” he said.

    To meet its third aim of supporting education and research in sports medicine and surgery
    , the centre *also plans to work closely with the Singapore Sports Institute.
    “We support education and research in sports medicine and surgery,” said Krishna.

    “By doing so, we contribute to the development of sports medicine and manpower to meet the growing healthcare needs of sports enthusiasts in Singapore.”

    Krishna said that the long-term aim is to be an “international centre of excellence for sports medicine”. Steps to get there include running courses not just for the medical community in Singapore, but also for regional surgeons and physicians.

    Facilities at NUH Sports Centre:

    - Orthopaedic Sports Surgery Clinic
    - Sports Medicine Clinic
    - Children’s Sports Clinic
    - Sports Cardiology Service
    - Sports Imaging Service (Full Suite comprising X-ray, Ultrasound and MRI)
    - Sports Physiotherapy and Exercise Clinic
    - Sports Podiatry Clinic
    - Fully Equipped Sports Gym
    - Sports Dietetics Service
    - Sports Acupuncture Service
    - ESWT (Extra-corporeal shock wave therapy) Service
    - In-Clinic Pharmacy
    - Retail Shop for Braces and Appliances

  11. #11
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    Default Aleksandar Duric to helm new Active SG Football Academy









    Former S’pore international striker’s main aim is to help increase talent pool of local footballers


    By Noah Tan
    noatanyw@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 1:33 PM, January 30, 2016


    SINGAPORE – He expressed his desire to help improve the standards of local football and to inspire Singapore youths through sports in a recent interview with TODAY.

    Now, ex-Singapore international striker Aleksandar Duric has been given the perfect opportunity to do just that, after he was unveiled as as the head of a newly-formed Active SG Football Academy today (Jan 30).


    The announcement was made by Sport SG chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin prior to Duric’s meet-the author session at Books Kinokuniya at Ngee Ann City at 2pm today to promote his autobiography “Beyond Borders”.

    To be launched in the coming months, the ActiveSG Academy aims to provide greater access and opportunities for Singaporean children to enrol in a programme that will help develop their football knowledge and skills.

    After he retired from professional football in 2014, Duric was an assistant coach with S.League club Tampines Rovers. He parted ways with the club last November. In an interview with TODAY this past week, the 45-year-old told TODAY that he was especially keen to work with youths and inspire them to take up a career in sports.

    “I especially want to be able to work with the younger generation,” said the father of three.

    “There’s a possibility for Singapore youths to take my advice because I think they can see me as a role model, having done well in sports.


    “Ultimately, I hope to get more youngsters to take a chance on becoming a professional athlete. To take up sports professionally is a risk, and not many are willing to take that risk. So I want to inspire them to grab that opportunity (when it arises) and help them go as far as they can.”


    As Academy principal, Duric, who will officially start work on Monday (Feb 1), will assemble and manage a team of partners and coaches to deliver the academy’s programmes, as well as shape its culture and characteristics.

    “I am truly honoured and humbled to be given this opportunity to serve Singapore through what I love most – football,” said Duric, who became a Singaporean in 2007, and went on to play 53 times for the national team.

    “I am looking forward to working with the ActiveSG team to create an academy where every Singaporean child, regardless of ability or background, will be given the opportunity to learn how to play football and to develop and sustain their passion for football throughout their youth.

    “Additionally, the academy aims to also contribute to increasing the local talent pool of footballers in the country and to give our local football scene the boost it needs.”

    The football school is the first of many initiatives set to be unveiled this year as part of Sport Singapore’s Vision 2030 master plan to get Singaporeans to live better through sport.

    Sport SG chief Lim believes the values and professionalism shown by Duric during his playing career makes him a good fit for the academy, and will go a long way to helping it achieve its goals.

    “Duric epitomises the ethos of the ActiveSG Football Academy,” Lim said of the three-time S.League Footballer of the Year who banged in 376 goals in 520 matches during his 16-year stint in the domestic league.

    “He is a living testament and role model for the values and belief in the purposefulness of sport for the development of our youth.

    “His long-term involvement in elite sport testifies to the indomitable spirit that has enabled him to sustain himself and succeed, and he is the best person to share and pass down his experience and commitment to Singapore through the ‘beautiful game.”

    Lim added that the new academy will enhance Singapore’s existing youth football development programmes.

    “We have studied the national football landscape and through our discussions with stakeholders, we recognise that there is a large potential to increase the number of children and youth playing the sport,” he explained.

    “We are basically ensuring that anyone who wants to learn, play and develop through football would have access and opportunity to do so through a well-designed and progressive programme.

    “The introduction of the ActiveSG Football Academy will serve to bridge gaps in the market, expand the participation base and contribute to growing the ecosystem of players, coaches, officials, volunteers, spectators and fans of the sport.”

    The academy will also work with different stakeholders, including the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and schools to build an alignment across the entire youth development pathway for “recreational-competitive” and elite athletes.

    It will adopt the FAS Grassroots Manual – conceived by FAS technical director Michel Sablon – as its core syllabus, and subscribe to FAS’ coach education system as part of its coach development pathway.

    The academy will also place huge emphasis on developing life skills, such as discipline, leadership and teamwork, in their students through the medium of football.

    “We intend to instill important values such as discipline, respect and teamwork in our trainees,” said Duric who is widely regarded as one of the fittest Singaporean footballers during his playing days.


    “We also want to equip them with life skills such as communication and problem-solving skills. This philosophy will also come into play when we search for suitable coaches for the academy.”

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    Default The Big Read: For S.League, a marquee signing brings more questions than answers

    Mr. Teo Hock Seng sitting next to the new S-League signing Jermaine...
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    Jermaine Pennant training with the Tampines Rovers on Jan 7, 2016....
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    Tampines Rovers vs SAFFC Photo: Wee Teck Hian/TODAY


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    Star signing is right move, but it cannot mask faltering league’s shortcomings

    By Stanley Ho and Noah Tan
    sports@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 1:45 AM, January 30, 2016
    Updated: 2:34 AM, January 30, 2016

    SINGAPORE — When Jermaine Pennant scribbled his signature on a one-year contract with Tampines Rovers at a glitzy signing ceremony last week, it marked a turning point in the 21-year history of the S.League.

    Since news broke that Pennant had turned down offers from other countries to play in Singapore, pundits have been busy weighing in on whether the former English Premier League (EPL) player — arguably the biggest international name to sign for a Singapore team so far — could be the huge boost that local football needs.

    Since Pennant arrived on Jan 7 for his one-week trial with the Stags, he has been a crowd magnet, raising hopes that the “Pennant Effect” could lead Singapore’s first and only professional sports league out of its recent doldrums.

    More than 1,200 fans turned up for his 45-minute stint in a pre-season friendly match against Hougang United at Jalan Besar Stadium — a jump from the miserly average of 500 for a league match in recent seasons. And last Wednesday — a weeknight, mind you — around 1,300 fans turned up at the same venue to watch him play 23 minutes against Johor Darul Ta’zim II in another friendly.

    The buzz has not been confined to local shores. The BBC, Reuters, the Guardian and the Daily Mail have all run reports of Tampines’ deal with the 33-year-old of Jamaican-British descent.

    But now, a new question looms: Where does this lead the S.League, which has been struggling for the past few seasons?

    Former national defender R Sasikumar, who helped broker the deal to bring Pennant to Singapore, is optimistic this will open the doors for other EPL players, sprinkling much-needed star dust across a league that has been short on quality and entertainment.

    “It (Pennant’s signing) couldn’t have happened at a better time for the S.League and the football fraternity. We all know the League has struggled over the last few years, and this could help spark interest in it again,” said the owner of sports marketing and events management firm Red Card.

    “This is a footballer who has played for many top clubs and knows a lot of really good players personally. So if he has a good experience here, some of these players might start considering plying their trade in the S.League as well.”

    Some hope that Pennant will inspire young local players, and teach them what it takes to be a top-class professional athlete.

    Rising Singapore and Tampines winger Christopher Van Huizen, 23, who had a stand-out year with the LionsXII last season, is looking forward to learning from Pennant.

    “Jermaine has brought the needed experience to the dressing room,” he said.
    “His advice will come in handy and I’m sure he will play a pivotal part in our development.”

    Still, the S.League cannot depend solely on the “Pennant Effect” to mask its shortcomings.

    A LEAGUE’S STRUGGLES

    Formed in 1996 on the back of a successful Malaysia Cup campaign in 1994, the S.League was, for several years, a thriving competition that enjoyed healthy 4,000-strong crowds at its matches.

    The plan was to form clubs that represent their immediate community, and to be a sporting focal point for their respective districts.

    The S.League’s first eight clubs snapped up household names who played in the Malaysia Cup — such as Fandi Ahmad, V Sundramoorthy, Ervin Boban, Jan Janostak, Sandro Radun and Warren Spink — as these stars’ appeal remained fresh in the minds of local fans.

    For the first few seasons, it worked.

    So popular was the S.League in the late 1990s and early part of the noughties, that it dominated media coverage, was ranked one of the top 10 leagues in Asia, and even featured several top Thai national players, such as Kiatisuk Senamuang, Surachai Jaturapattarapong and Tawan Sripan. It expanded to 12 teams from 1999 to 2003.

    “People were queuing up to pay to go in and watch games,” former Tanjong Pagar United defender Lim Tong Hai recalled, with a smile. “Those who couldn’t get in resorted to watching the matches from multistorey carparks, from the common corridors of HDB flats, peeping through the stadiums’ covered fences.”

    But the League began to lose its lustre after 2003.

    Some clubs were nonchalant about engaging their community. The constant chopping and changing of the League’s line-up — as clubs exited the league while clearing their debts — made it even more difficult for clubs to forge identities and sink roots with Singaporeans. That’s not all — the introduction of a number of foreign clubs, most of whom were of average or poor quality, only served to dilute the League’s tag line, “Our S.League”.

    A handful of match-fixing cases, mass brawls, coupled with unsavoury tales of club mismanagement and players not being paid on time, further alienated fans and sponsors.

    The perennial struggles with finances also meant it was hard for some clubs to attract quality players. Instead of scouting for new players overseas, they resorted to poaching foreign players from other S.League teams, robbing the league of the “oomph” factor.

    Furthermore, the formation of the LionsXII to play in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) in 2012 meant most of the best local players were taken away from the S.League, a move that adversely affected the quality of the competition for four seasons.

    In recent years, the S.League has resorted to gimmicks such as lucky draws and free food to attract fans to games. But such initiatives failed to address the key issues — a dire lack of quality football, entertainment, and a sense of belonging.

    And with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) remaining adamant about taking the country’s best players out of the S.League again to form a new team for the proposed ASEAN Super League next year, things may get worse for the ailing competition.

    The signing of Pennant — and in some ways, the return of the LionsXII players to the S.League — has now created a buzz and an optimism not seen for a long time.

    Whether the S.League manages to maintain the momentum will determine its future.

    “My experience tells me that there isn’t a single innovation that will help the S.League get where it wants to go,” said SportsSG CEO Lim Teck Yin. “You need to have innovation at different levels and different domains. There needs to be an innovation in the fan experience, in the league calendaring, and the way you decide how teams get put together.

    “Likewise, the players need to have a certain level of certainty with regards to their careers so that they can invest their whole commitment in the league.

    “So, there are fundamental things the S.League needs to take care of, and then you can change, improve and innovate on many different fronts.”

    AIMING FOR ASIA

    With the new season kicking off in a few weeks, the S.League has been given a timely boost by Pennant’s signing.

    In several interviews with TODAY over the past fortnight, Tampines chairman Krishna Ramachandra explained that the five-time league champions wanted to “do it for Singapore football”, by injecting excitement in the league, opening doors for more EPL stars to ply their trade here and — hopefully — blazing a trail for other S.League clubs to follow suit.

    “It is a boost for the S.League all round because we have helped to open the door for such players to come to Singapore,” said the managing director of law firm Duane Morris & Selvam of the decision to sign Pennant on a deal worth about S$45,000 a month (which could go up to S$60,000 with add-ons and bonuses).

    “Many of the other clubs have also landed good signings, and have a number of former LionsXII players in their squads. All this makes for a potentially exciting season this year, and I hope the fans will be drawn to watch the matches.”

    It is a noble aim. But professional football, at the end of the day, is more than a sport. It is a business. And all deals must make economic sense.

    The Stags will, therefore, be looking at some form of tangible return for splashing out an estimated S$750,000 (in wages, perks and add-ons) per year on just one player — an investment enough to fund the annual salary of some S.League teams.

    The club could afford to do so as, through a series of shrewd commercial deals, it has garnered close to “S$1 million worth of cash and in-kind sponsorship” for the upcoming season, said Mr Ramachandra.

    Its bottom line will also be boosted by the annual subsidies that the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) provides to S.League clubs each season, which could go as high as S$1 million if they meet certain targets and key performance indicators throughout the season.


    In addition, local clubs are given an extra S$130,000 in subsidies from the FAS if they sign at least three former LionsXII players. Tampines have signed nine.

    Clearly, Tampines are betting that their investment in players will also bring returns in the form of prize money. The S.League champions will receive S$250,000, while winners of the Singapore Cup and the League Cup will receive S$100,000 and S$30,000, respectively.

    Head coach V Sundramoorthy has also outlined his dream of winning the Asia-side AFC Cup this season, which comes with a top prize of US$1 million (S$1.4 million).

    “I’ve told everyone that I want them to dream as far as possible. If Johor Darul Takzim can win the AFC Cup, we are not far off,” said the former national striker, who was referring to the MSL club’s capture of the trophy last year.

    Corporate partners love nothing more than a winning team. A successful season home and abroad is likely to boost the club’s coffers.

    “Hopefully, the signing of Pennant will see more interest in the S.League and attract more companies to take a chance in sponsoring the local clubs,” said Mr Roy Tay, director of Linco Investments — the anchor sponsor of S.League side Home United, which has pumped in S$2 million over three years.

    Mr Terry O’Connor, the Group CEO of furniture giants Courts Asia, said one of the important considerations for sports sponsorship is the reach and the brand exposure.

    “Signing a high-profile player will certainly bring more interest to the game, encourage a focused concentration on the S.League, and innovation to optimise fan engagement, which in turn, opens the doors to more sponsorship dollars for the development of local football,” said Mr O’Connor, whose company recently ended its five-year sponsorship of the Young Lions but has promised to continue to be involved in local football.

    KEEPING UP WITH THE STAGS

    Clubs here will certainly be hoping that more sponsors will step forward and loosen their purse strings so that they can also afford their own Pennants. The reality now is that not many have the bank balance to keep up with Tampines.

    “Pennant is a well-known footballer, so yes, he will definitely light up the S.League,” said Balestier Khalsa chairman S Thavaneson.

    “For my club, however, the approach will be different. We are on the lookout for young and talented European-based players, and not stars in their 30s.”

    Said Home United chief executive Azrulnizam Shah: “We don’t have the finances of Tampines to make such big-name signings but, if we do, then why not? For now, our key focus is on developing young local football talent.”

    The clubs’ caution is understandable. After all, in the 20 seasons so far of the S.League, no fewer than eight local clubs — Clementi Khalsa, Tanjong Pagar United, Gombak United, Jurong FC, Sembawang Rangers, Marine Castle United, Paya Lebar-Punggol and Woodlands Wellington — have had to exit the league or merge with other clubs because they ran out of money.

    This statistic highlights a club’s perennial challenge of balancing its books every year, while ensuring its survival in the league for another season.

    Tampines, under the leadership of their long-time chairman Mr Teo Hock Seng — a giant of the motor industry, who’s hugely passionate about local football — have built up a financial clout that no other S.League club has.

    Even after he stepped down last November and handed the reins to Mr Ramachandra, Mr Teo’s company, Komoco Motors, continues to be the main sponsor of the club and will be a major contributor to Pennant’s wages.

    Only Hougang United — which reportedly made more than S$2 million in profit from their clubhouse operations in 2014 — can challenge Tampines’ financial might. Many other local S.League clubs have to make their pennies count.

    “We had the ‘marquee player’ system in 2013 and 2014, but with limited success,” said S.League CEO Lim Chin. “Budget has always been a key constraint for Singapore football.”

    For example, even though former Dinamo Zagreb forward and Croatian U-21 international Goran Ljubojevic was Balestier’s marquee player in 2014 (on a reported S$12,000 a month) and banged in 20 goals that season, he was not retained for the following campaign, ostensibly because of wage costs.

    With the Stags investing in a star-studded squad to conquer all fronts, and other teams opting to be pragmatic, the gulf between Tampines and the rest of the local clubs is likely to widen.

    Off the pitch, the gulf is clear. While 1,300 fans watched Pennant play for Tampines in last Wednesday’s friendly game, Geylang International and Warriors FC told TODAY that fewer than 60 people turned up for their respective friendlies last week.

    How are the other clubs going to bridge that gap?

    Warriors’ marketing manager Carree Lim said the club has “some things in the pipeline for community engagement”, without giving further details. Home hosted a players’ meet-and-greet last Saturday that drew close to 100 fans, and will hold football clinics for children before matches.

    Some clubs are not sure that’s enough to woo fans. Geylang, for one, has decided to consult their supporters on what to do.

    “We will be speaking to fans to get their views and ideas on what the club can do to engage the crowd and get the buzz growing once again,” said its general manager Aizat Ramli. “Thanks to Tampines, the buzz is back and we should all jump on the bandwagon now and make full use of it.”

    Mr Lim Chin said his wish is to have “more Pennants” to create more buzz, but accepts that clubs must be financially stronger to do that.

    “Our intention is always to make the S.League more competitive, exciting and sustainable,” he said. “Clubs also need to be financially stronger to be able to raise the standard and quality of play, through better foreign signings and (providing) more attractive and viable football career options for local players, as well as to overcome rising operating costs like rental, players’ salaries and inflation.”

    Money, though, is hard to come by. With revenue from match tickets and club merchandising negligible, most clubs are dependent on FAS subsidies, sponsorships and revenue from clubhouse operations to make ends meet.

    Many clubs who are without main sponsors are living from hand to mouth every month, struggling with staff costs and stadium rentals. Just last week, even before a ball has been kicked in the new season, a local club asked the S.League when the next tranche of subsidies is being paid out as they are already struggling with cash flow.

    The FAS has appointed Hougang United chairman Bill Ng as Advisor for Clubhouse Operations to help clubs improve their revenue streams.

    “The FAS and the S.League will continue to explore other ways to strengthen the clubs on and off the pitch, and with the long-term objective of a viable and sustainable S.League,” Mr Lim Chin said. “Tampines has raised the bar. It is now up to the rest of the S.League to meet that standard.”

    A VIRTUOUS OR VICIOUS CYCLE?

    If star-studded Tampines dominates contests, as expected, the “Pennant Effect” may soon dissipate. Nothing bores fans more than a one-horse race.

    Local fans recall how interest in the S.League dipped when Warriors FC (then known as Singapore Armed Forces FC), who made a habit of snapping up the league’s top foreign and local players each season, won the championship four years in a row from 2006 to 2009.

    “I’m glad that a local club (Tampines) has taken proactive steps to really strengthen themselves this season,” said Hougang fan Dean Lim.

    “Tampines are certainly the frontrunners for the title because they have a really strong squad. But in the long-term, I think having more balanced teams in the S.League would be more exciting for fans, so they won’t expect one team to keep on sweeping up the titles, season after season.

    “Having that unpredictability in the league will make it more engaging.”

    While early dominance may be satisfying for Tampines, it may hurt their Asian aspirations in the long run.

    To take on the best Asian teams, the Stags need to hone their skills weekly against quality opposition in the S.League. Otherwise, they might find the Asian Champions League too much of a step up.


    Case in point: Glasgow Celtic have been peerless in the Scottish Premier League over the past five years, winning four straight league titles since the 2011/12 season.

    But the lack of quality opposition at home has caused them to struggle on the European stage. Celtic has made the knock-out stages of the Champions League just three times over the past decade.

    Is that what Tampines wants to be? An unbeatable giant at home but an underachieving side against the best in the region?

    After the novelty of a star signing has faded, will the S.League be back at square one?

    “Pennant’s arrival has spurred some excitement, and various media have been reporting it to build the excitement,” said SportsSG CEO Lim. “But when the reporting on it dwindles, or when excitement dwindles, what’s next?” ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AMANPREET SINGH AND ADELENE WONG

  13. #13
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default ASEAN Para Games, Special Olympics athletes honoured at Istana



    President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife Mrs Mary Tan together with Associate Professor Teo-Koh Sock Miang, President of Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) and Special Olympics Singapore, posing with Team Singapore athletes from Boccia on Jan 30, 2016. Photo: Sport Singapore


    By Low Lin Fhoong
    linfhoong@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 10:41 PM, January 30, 2016
    Updated: 10:44 PM, January 30, 2016

    SINGAPORE — Two months ago, not many would have noticed Khairul Anwar Kasmani working out at the Republic Polytechnic gym, or taking a stroll to the Woodlands MRT.

    But the cerebral palsy footballer's spectacular long-range goals at the ASEAN Para Games (APG) — and the team's bronze medal win last December - have won Khairul and his teammates many admirers and fans among their fellow Singaporeans.

    "People have started to show interest after the APG and the awareness of disability sports is growing," said the 29-year-old at the Appreciation Reception for APG and Special Olympics athletes and officials hosted by the President of Singapore at Istana today (Jan 30).

    "Yesterday I was walking from my school gym to the MRT and a guy asked me how everything was and what's happening to the team after APG.

    "My teammate Mahdi was on the bus and the fans asked to take a photo with him on the bus. We are recognised now, and it's good that people show interest in not just me, but the other sports."

    Khairul and the cerebral palsy footballers were among the Team Singapore's athletes and officials from the APG and last year's Special Olympics who were honoured today at a reception hosted by President Tan and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, at the Istana.

    Last December's APG saw Team Singapore's para athletes winning a 24 gold, 17 silver and 22 bronze medals in a best-ever performance at the regional event. "The Games were special for Singapore, having taken place during our Golden Jubilee," said President Tan in his speech today.

    "In both Games, you did our nation proud with your courageous and outstanding performances. Apart from winning medals, you have broken records and achieved personal bests.

    "But the Games were much more than medals and records. Your participation has enabled us to come together as one nation to celebrate the different abilities of fellow Singaporeans.

    "Through your achievements, the public has come to know more about you, and about disability sports. Other persons with disabilities may also be motivated to overcome the odds, lead active lives, and even represent Singapore one day."

    Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, also credited the athletes for their hard work and efforts, as she said in her speech: "Their hard work, determination and fighting spirit have impressed the nation and inspired many. Before the Games, many of the athletes told me they have trained very hard so as to wear national colours, win medals for the country, fly the Singapore flag, and hear Majulah Singapura on the podium. And you have surely done so in style.

    "Singaporeans have been moved to tears by your performances. I would like to thank you for doing your family proud, doing your team proud, and doing Singapore proud. You are truly extraordinary."

    Teo-Koh Sock Miang, president of the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) and Singapore National Paralympic Council said building on and sustaining Singaporeans', and the athletes', interest in disability sports will be key for the future. This particularly with the Republic's athletes gearing up for the Paralympics Games in Rio de Janeiro this year, as well as the APG in Malaysia in 2017.

    "The onus is on the athletes to continue training, and they also need to recruit their friends so we can get more athletes for Singapore," said Teo-Koh.

    "With the public education during APG, we will continue working with Sport Singapore and SDSC. It's only 21 months to the next APG and they have to continue training, and for us to look at the budget and funding from Sport Singapore."

    The SDSC is hopeful of having up to 11 athletes competing at the Paralympics this year, with the Republic's athletes already qualified in a number of sports: equestrian, sailing, swimming, boccia, and athletics. Among the contingent headed to Rio are Paralympic gold medallist Yip Pin Xiu (swimming), swimmer Theresa Goh and Asian Para Games gold medallists Jovin Tan and Desiree Lim (sailing).

    Long jumper Suhairi Suhani will make his debut in Rio after qualifying with a 6.66m leap that the APG that also won him a silver medal. The 18-year-old will travel to Canberra next week for the International Paralympic Committee Athletics Grand Prix. Suhairi is looking forward to his first Paralympics, as he said: "It is a dream come true to represent Singapore at the Paralympics. The next APG is going to be in Kuala Lumpur and hopefully I can get a medal there, and jump a better distance."

  14. #14
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Shooters Jasmine Ser and Teo Shun Xie clinch Rio Olympic spots

    Jasmine Ser won the women's 50m three positions event at the Asian Qualifiers and a berth to the Rio Olympics despite being affected by food poisioning on Friday. TODAY file photo


    Ser overcomes food poisoning to win 50m three-positions gold at Asian Qualifiers while Teo gets quota place in 25m air pistol



    By Noah Tan
    noahtanyw@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 7:41 PM, January 31, 2016
    Updated: 7:47 PM, January 31, 2016

    SINGAPORE – National shooter Jasmine Ser will get another shot at Olympic glory this year after earning qualification to the Rio de Janeiro Games in the women’s 50m three-positions (3P) event.
    The 25-year-old, who made her Olympics debut at the 2012 London Games, booked her berth for this August’s Rio Olympics yesterday after winning gold in the event at the Asian Qualifiers in New Delhi yesterday with a score of 458.0 points.

    Iran’s Mahlagha Jambozorg clinched the silver on 455.4 points, while South Korean Lee Kyerim rounded up the top-three with 443.5 points – the result means that both players have also secured a spot at the Rio Olympics.
    Ser’s achievement in India is made all the more remarkable as she had been suffering from a bad bout of food poisoning since arriving there last Wednesday.
    She was hospitalised on Friday and put on an intravenous drip, and she subsequently failed to nail one of the two Olympic spots in the 10m air rifle event on Saturday despite making the final.
    Ser, who competed at the 2012 London Games on an unused quota place, was naturally ecstatic about overcoming the odds to make the Rio Games in the final Asian qualifying event.
    “I am extremely happy yet tired that I’ve made the Olympics,” she said.
    “It has been a very tough journey towards qualification over the past two years. I’ve been trying to qualify during each World Cup but had always missed it by an inch, so I’m really relieved and glad that I finally got it this time round.”
    There was double joy for Singapore yesterday as another national shooter clinched a second ticket to Rio via the women’s 25m pistol.
    Teo Shun Xie also qualified for the Olympics, after the Republic was granted a quota place in the event.
    Teo had finished sixth in the event during the qualifiers, but still earned one of the three tickets to the Games available as South Korea – who completed a clean sweep of the medals – were only allocated one spot, having already taken up one quota place at a previous qualifier.
    Akiko Sato of Japan finished fourth to take the final Olympic slot, while Chinese Taipei’s Wu Chia-ying, who finished fifth, had already earned a berth at an earlier event.
    According to the Singapore National Olympic Council, this is the first time since 1964 that the Republic will be sending two shooters for the Games.
    “I honestly didn’t think I could qualify (for the Olympics) because I did badly in the semi-finals,” said Teo, who will be competing in the Games for the first time.
    “So I’m very glad that we managed to pull through, especially after such a tough few days.
    “I’m grateful to the support of our team manager and coach and team mates, because we all looked after each other during this period of time.”

  15. #15
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Young athletes excel at their studies and their sport

    While excelling at their sport, national basketballer Lim Shengyu and badminton player Crystal Chua are also excelling at their sport, despite having to juggle to the two.


    • By Ewan Mah
    • Posted 01 Feb 2016 00:06
    • Updated 01 Feb 2016 00:23





    National basketball player Lim Shengyu will be graduating with an honours degree in Environmental Engineering soon.


    SINGAPORE: Lim Shengyu is not your typical athlete. At 1.91 metres tall, he looms over his teammates in Singapore's national basketball team.
    But it's not only the forward's stature that sets him head and shoulders above the rest.
    Come Feb 21, the Singapore Slingers could be celebrating their first Asean Basketball League title. Lim Shengyu could have been part of this, but for his decision to quit the team two seasons ago. Nevertheless, he will have no regrets.
    The final year National University of Singapore (NUS) student will be graduating with an honours degree in Environmental Engineering soon. It will be a reward for the struggles he had been through in the past year.
    He recalls the days he had to juggle studies and basketball when he's preparing for the SEA Games last year.
    "A typical day (during the SEA Games) would be two trainings, morning and night and I would try to arrange my lessons in the middle of the day,” he said. “I don't get much sleep, five-six hours every day, spend most of my time on public transport. Between here (NUS) and Sports Hub it's a good one hour. So two trips to the Sports Hub every day would be four hours travelling. I would be either sleeping on the train or trying to read up some notes."
    Lim also passed up the chance to play for the Slingers in the past two years due to his final year project. In fact, he intends to keep up his juggling act, by forging a career as an environmental engineer while still playing for the national team.
    The 25-year-old believes there's no reason that an athlete cannot excel in both sports and studies.
    "I see a lot of young people, they are passionate basketballers, definitely, but many of them would let their education slip and I don't think that is the way to go,” said Lim. “It's possible to do well in both as long as you have the self-discipline, you have a goal in mind, something that you want to achieve."

    Crystal Chua (right) studying with a teacher at the Singapore Sports School.
    For badminton player Crystal Chua, juggling sports and studies means constant catching up on schoolwork is necessary.
    The bronze medallist at the 2015 SEA Games scored the O-Level equivalent of 6 points for 6 subjects in her Sports School exams last year. The 17-year-old is now in her first year of the Sports School's four-year International Baccalaureate programme.
    "The teachers in our school are very kind and understanding,” said Chua. “They know the rigour of our sport, especially when I go for overseas competitions, I have to miss a lot of classes. So they will usually give me reading materials and assignments to bring overseas to complete, so that I won't fall back too much. So when I come back they will go through it with me one to one, to go through all the lessons I missed."
    Chua's plan is to turn professional, which means putting her studies in the back burner.
    "For badminton, there's a certain age limit that you can reach, because it is very strenuous physically, so you need that stamina to keep up with the rigour of the sport. I believe that I would like to pursue my sport first because studies can always be put on hold and continue on later," she said.
    She hopes to go to university once she is done playing.

  16. #16
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    Default Young Lions snare S$4m sponsorship deal - biggest in S.League history

    Garena founder Forrest Li (grey tracktop) with FAS president Zainudin Nordin and FAS general secretary Winston Lee and Young Lions players. Photo: Koh Mui Fong


    Garena will provide S$2 million in cash, and a programme budget of up to S$2 million for the promotion and development of the team.

    By Amanpreet Singh
    amanpreet@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 12:10 PM, February 2, 2016
    Updated: 1:21 AM, February 3, 2016


    SINGAPORE – The Young Lions, an S.League club run by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), clinched what it says is the biggest cash sponsorship deal ever for an S.League club when it unveiled e-gaming and e-commerce company Garena as its new sponsors at a press conference at Fusionopolis today (Feb 2).

    The club inked a two-year deal with the consumer Internet platform provider that is worth up to S$4 million. Garena will provide S$2 million in cash and a programme budget of up to S$2 million for the promotion and development of the team.


    In turn, the team will be known as the Garena Young Lions and will wear shirts bearing the Shopee brand, which is Garena’s social-first, mobile-centric, consumer-to-consumer marketplace.

    According to the FAS, this is the biggest sponsorship deal for an S.League club in the 21-year history of the domestic professional football competition.

    Mr Forrest Li, founder and group chief executive of Garena, which is currently valued at S$2.5 billion, said: “We are delighted to be here with the FAS to announce this sponsorship. Everyone at Garena is passionate about football.

    “After two years, if we see all these players turn professional, grow as players and as people, and we feel that the dollar we put in is good money, we would love to continue.
    “We think this will be for the long term, and the current two-year sponsorship is just the starting point.”

    FAS president Zainudin Nordin said: “The S.League has been generating a lot of positive news so far in the run-up to the new season, and I hope that the buzz and excitement will continue. We are now pleased to announce a record sponsorship for an S.League team.

    “Both Garena and the FAS are engaged in youth development, which is important for the future. The money will be spent wisely on the development of our most-promising young talents, and to build the next generation of national team players.

    “We will be looking to arrange overseas training trips, as well as matches with top-quality foreign teams for the team.”

    Long-time S.League observers say Garena’s sponsorship deal significantly surpasses that of other S.League clubs.

    As it costs S$300,000 a year for an organisation to be the main sponsor of an S.League club, most clubs, if they are able to secure such a sponsor, usually get between S$300,000 and S$500,000 a year.

    For example, Linco Investment’s S$2 million sponsorship of Home United is over three years, and includes a small in-kind component.

    As former Tampines Rovers chairman Teo Hock Seng, who stepped down last November after 15 years at the helm told TODAY: “To get S$2 million in cash sponsorship is significant, and a tremendous boost for the S.League.”

    For most clubs, however, their main source of funding is from the FAS and their clubhouse jackpot rooms. Clubs can receive up to S$1 million in subsidies from the S.League each season if they meet a number of performance targets along the way.

    Prior to Garena, the Young Lions were sponsored by furniture giants Courts Asia for five years at about S$250,000 annually.

    Courts ended its sponsorship at the end of last year, but has promised to remain involved in local football.

    The Young Lions squad for this season will be very different from previous campaigns. Formed by the FAS in 2003, it used to be the de facto national Under-23 team, and its participation in the S.League was used as preparations for the biennial South-east Asian Games and regional age-group championships.

    This season, the club is made up predominantly of national U-21 players. National striker Khairul Amri, 30, was signed by the FAS to strengthen the team’s attack and mentor the younger players.

    In the past three seasons, the Young Lions have finished in the bottom three of the league. It was last in 2013, 10th in 2014 and inched up one position last year.

    The new S.League season will begin on Feb 13.

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    Default Swimmers, sailors among athletes confirmed for Race to Rio scheme

    Singaporean fencer Wang Wenying is among several athletes set to receive a boost from the Government as they chase their dream of Olympic glory. TODAY file photo


    By Adelene Wong
    adelenewong@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 4:15 AM, February 4, 2016

    SINGAPORE — The race to Rio is heating up for Team Singapore with six months to the Olympic Games, and swimmer Quah Ting Wen, sailors Justin Liu and Denise Lim, and fencer Wang Wenying are among the group of athletes set to receive a boost from the Government as they chase their dream of Olympic glory in Brazil in August.

    The four national athletes are among the initial group who have been selected for the Race to Rio 2016 programme, a scheme started by sports authorities to fund athletes who have qualified, or are attempting to qualify, for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    A first-of-its-kind for both able-bodied and para athletes, the scheme is only available to athletes who are not under the spexScholarship, which provides talented athletes with an enhanced level of support.

    TODAY has learnt that the selected group consists of more than 10 athletes from athletics, badminton, fencing, shooting, swimming, and sailing, while less than five para athletes from athletics, archery and sailing have earned the nod.

    Selected athletes will be able to tap on the multi-million dollar fund for expenses such as the hiring of sparring partners and coaches, local and overseas training camps, and equipment. They will also receive monetary grants and sports science support from the Singapore Sports Institute.

    National fencer Wang estimates that her Olympic dream will cost over S$30,000 as the 35-year-old travels to Cuba, South Korea and China ahead of the Asian Zone Olympic qualifiers in April.

    “If not for the funding, I would not have as good a preparation to realise my Olympic dream,” said SEA Games champion Wang, who is aiming to become the first local fencer to qualify for the Olympics.

    “My coach and I are happy with my progress so far. There is a good chance I can make it to (the) top three at the April’s Asian Zone qualifiers in Wuxi, China, to qualify for the Olympics. I am going to work very hard to not let down the people who have put their faith in me.”

    National para sailor Jovin Tan —who will compete in the skud 18 with Desiree Lim — also welcomed news of his selection. “I am working full-time, and I really appreciate that I will be compensated for loss of wages of about S$2,500 for the months that I am taking no-pay leave, as I was initially worried about that,” said the 29-year-old, who works as an executive assistant at Chapman Consulting Group.

    “I was notified last week to submit my funding requests under this Race to Rio scheme, and I requested funding for a two-month overseas trip to the Netherlands in May, and for equipment costs.

    “This is a very good scheme for para-athletes because if you want to talk about inclusiveness, whatever the able-bodied athletes are getting, we should be getting the same, too. I can now better concentrate on just training hard for the Paralympics.”

    Singapore Sailing Federation president Benedict Tan stressed that the scheme is crucial to help Team Singapore’s athletes attain success at the Olympics and Paralympics.

    “We have to realise that the Olympics and Paralympics are the pinnacle of every sport, and being at the top, it is of course very competitive,” he said.

    “To put up a credible performance, the athletes need to have adequate and very robust preparations.

    “Race to Rio is a funding platform that is an overlay of all the existing mechanisms we have, such as the spexScholarship scheme, and the national sports associations basically act as gatekeepers to make sure that only those deserving come under this scheme.”

    With Olympic qualifying still underway for some sports, a total of 13 athletes have qualified for the Olympic Games in athletics, swimming, shooting and sailing so far, while nine athletes have qualified for the Paralympic Games.

    Who’s in the Race to Rio scheme (selected names):

    Wang Wenying (fencing), Teo Shun Xie (shooting), Quah Ting Wen, Quah Jing Wen, Lionel Khoo, Pang Sheng Jun (swimming), Neo Jie Shi (athletics), Justin Liu and Denise Lim (sailing), Jovin Tan and Desiree Lim (para sailing)

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