Singapore Sports Scene

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

  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    IMPROVING THE FOOTBALL LEAGUES: OFF TO A GOOD START

    Singapore’s professional football league once attracted huge crowds eager to catch a glimpse of stars such as Iran’s World Cup footballer Hamidreza Estili, local heroes Fandi Ahmad and V Sundramoorthy.
    But the S-League has seen its popularity plummet since its early days in the 1990s, with only hundreds of spectators turning out for some of the matches in recent times.
    Mr Subramaniam recalled: “It started off very well, in 1996 we launched with many things in place — youth development programmes, girls’ youth teams, fans clubs. It was supposed to grow, but instead, it shrank.”
    A turnaround for the ailing league will take time, with observers pointing out that the FAS Council’s efforts in the past six months have focused on securing funding for the 2018 season.
    However, NFL club officials whom TODAY spoke to said they have seen some positive changes since the April elections. Mr Alim Omar, sports secretary of South Avenue Sports Club, said his club has since received sponsorship and cash subsidies of about S$8,500 — a significant jump from previous years.
    The FAS also secured a sponsor for the NFL this year, with Japanese food firm Ajinomoto signing a one-year cash and sponsorship deal.
    Mr Khairil Zam, secretary of Gymkhana FC which plays in the NFL Division 2, said: “There has been a step forward for the local leagues in terms of exposure, as we had NFL and S-League games streamed live online, and there are also online highlights and shows.”
    He added: “Of course, we still need more fans at matches, and there is a lot more work to be done…but there has been a good start.”
    [​IMG]
    Singapore's football squad reacts after Singapore lost to Myanmar in the SEA Games 2017 Group A Football Match, at MP Selayang Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on August 14, 2017. Photo: Jason Quah/TODAY
    At its annual congress, the FAS unveiled plans for a “re-imagined” S-League focused on fixing some of its problems. These included rules making it compulsory for local clubs to recruit a minimum number of Under-23 footballers, a reduction in the foreign player quota, as well as a promotion and relegation system for both the S-League and NFL.
    Feedback from the football fraternity on the Under-23 rule has been mostly positive. Hougang United head coach Philippe Aw said: “If you groom young players at the youth level, but at the top there’re no opportunities, whatever you’ve done will go down the drain because there are no opportunities.”
    However, there is concern that the standard of the S-League could be compromised with more young players joining the clubs’ ranks. This in turn could cause fans’ support to dwindle further.
    Former national goalkeeper Lionel Lewis, who played for Geylang United, Young Lions and Home United, said: “The FAS needs to think creatively about how to get people excited once again — especially through more community involvement and build a deeper connection to the players and teams.”
    Local football fan and blogger Ko Po Hui agreed that S-League clubs need to do more to engage the communities they are based in. “They need to put in more efforts in marketing and branding... and appeal to their potential fan base,” said the 41-year-old.
    Referring to the Japanese professional football league, he added: “There must be some prominent fixtures like banners and mascots in strategic places such as town centres, bus interchanges, MRT stations… just like how J-League clubs do. I don’t see such efforts by my neighbourhood club even after more than two decades!”
    While a promotion and relegation system could deliver a wake-up call for poor performing clubs, the observers warned that the NFL clubs will need more time to build themselves up.
    Officials from NFL teams highlighted administrative support, financial know-how and staff training as some of the areas that they require help with. Mr Alim said: “Most NFL clubs are run as one-man shows, and only four to five (clubs) are administratively good enough to maybe one day join the S-League. Even if you give us S$250,000, if we don’t know how to use the money properly, then it’s useless.”
    He added: “Teach us, send us for courses on how to properly run an organisation, be accountable for our cash flow and income… this should be the next step.”
    GETTING THE LIONS TO ROAR AGAIN: NO QUICK FIX UNLESS S’PORE TURNS TO FOREIGN TALENT

    The moves to beef up youth development and revamp the S-League are geared toward producing more talented young footballers. While the observers agree that these changes will ultimately benefit the senior national team, they fear that fans may have already lost faith in the Lions by the time the efforts bear fruits.
    This is especially so after a barren run of five years since the Lions last tasted regional success at the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup in 2012. So far this year, the national team led by Sundramoorthy, who is the head coach, has yet to win a single game - losing six and drawing four.
    Mr Lim admitted at the FAS annual congress that the national team’s results this year have not been ideal, but the football chief called for patience as the FAS puts in place systems that will benefit local football in time to come.
    However, fans are calling for heads to roll, with some demanding Sundramoorthy to be replaced, after a dismal record of just two wins and 12 goals in 21 games since the former international took charge in May. He has also been criticised for picking ageing veterans such as Bennett and Mustafic, instead of giving more chances to younger players.
    But the problems with the Lions run much deeper, said the observers who symphathised with Sundramoorthy’s plight. There is a lack of talent available for national team selection, they pointed out.
    A football coach, who declined to be named, said: “Who else can Sundram select? You saw the SEA Games, do you think that any of the players then showed that they were ready to step up to the national team? The current pool of young players now is also extremely weak, and I think the likes of Hariss (Harun) and Safuwan (Baharudin) will probably still be playing for the Lions in their late 30s.”
    [​IMG]
    (From left) Singapore National Football Team head coach V Sundram Moorthy and Fandi Ahmad during a training session on July 11, 2016. TODAY file photo
    Mr Ko noted that Sundramoorthy’s predecessors Raddy Avramovic and Bernd Stange had also faced the same selection issues.
    Given the paucity of local talent, Singapore football may have to revisit the Foreign Sports Talent (FST) scheme while it waits for its youth development plans to bear fruit, said the observers.
    “If we can have better quality foreign talent than the local ones, then yes it’s a good short term fix. Maybe they can (play) for four to five years, and in the meantime we look at working on improving the young local players,” said Mr Aw.
    Mr Subramaniam added: “Fans want to identify with a winning team... This management has wisely said that they might revisit the FST scheme. It will be a short term fix, but where we are today, we can only go up.”
    Responding to queries from TODAY, FAS Deputy General Secretary Yazeen Buhari noted that there are “many foreign-born players who took up citizenship such as Daniel Bennett and Mustafic Fahrudin who have contributed to Singapore football”.
    He added that the association’s “merit-based scouting process” will be expanded to consider players from the football leagues, schools and private academies.
    “However, the process of naturalising foreign players is complex. Before initiating the process, we have to, to the best of our ability, make certain that they will be able to significantly add value to not only the national team but also (to) Singapore football holistically,” said Mr Yazeen.
    He added: “We will continue to work closely with our stakeholders who believe in the shared vision for Singapore football.”
    Apart from turning to foreign talent, the observers suggested exposing the national coaches - including Sundramoorthy and his assistant Fandi - to practices in other countries such as Japan, South Korea and Thailand. This would help upgrade the coaches’ skills and expertise, they said.
    It is only when the Lions are winning and playing entertaining football, will fans flock to the stadium again. Mr Khairul, who also coaches NFL side Eunos Crescent FC, said: “We have to bite the bullet, get all the right structures, right people in and work our plans. If no short term wins happen, we must believe that the long term direction is more important.”
    The light at the end of the tunnel may be years away for Singapore football, but both Mr Subramaniam and Mr Khairul believe the new FAS council should be given time to turn things around.
    “We have to give this management a chance, they are bold enough. They took over in a difficult situation, with the national team and development teams going downwards, but they are bold enough to make changes,” said Mr Subramaniam.
    Mr Khairul added: “They (the FAS council) are listening more. I will only assess them objectively at the midpoint of their term. After all, the success of their tenure can only judged after four years.”
     
    Master likes this.
  2. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Podium finishes for Singapore's track cyclist Mohamed Elyas at Queensland State Championships

    The SEA Games bronze medalist still has one more event in December before enlisting for National Service in January.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Team Singapore's Mohamed Elyas in action at the Queensland State Championships. (Photo: Singapore Cycling Federation Facebook page)



    By Noor Farhan
    @NoorFarhanCNA
    28 Nov 2017 07:55PM (Updated: 28 Nov 2017 08:00PM)

    SINGAPORE: He will be enlisting in National Service in January next year.

    However, the thought of possibly spending two years away from competition did not affect Team Singapore's Mohamed Elyas Mohamed Yusoff, as he battled to a silver and two bronze medals at the Queensland State Championships, which began last Friday (Nov 24).

    The 21-year-old national track cyclist finished second in the men's kilometre time trial. He also took third place in the sprint and the keirin event in Australia last weekend.

    His achievements followed a memorable year of podium finishes in several competitions, which included a bronze in the 1km time trial at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in August.

    Following that in October, he had also won gold at the ACC Track Asia Cup at the Velodrome Huamark in Bangkok.

    “I think saying that (NS) worries me is not that accurate,” said Elyas, speaking to Channel NewsAsia. “Eventually I’ll have to take two years off somewhere, regardless of whether or not I defer due to Asian Games or Commonwealth Games, if I qualify.”

    “I accept that I have to make it through these two years and I’d have to deal with it,” he added. “I think it’ll make me mentally stronger as well, so I’d have to make the best out of it.”

    The 2016 national road racing champion insists he will try to keep up his competitiveness in other ways. “I’m not sure what kind of training I’ll be able to squeeze in, but I’ll definitely try my best to maintain my level even if I’m not improving,” he said.

    Finishing on the podium in Australia last weekend was a welcome surprise for the budding track racer.

    “Winning some medals here gave me a lot of confidence,” said Elyas. “Coming to this race was a bit of an impromptu decision.

    “I’m here to train, but because the championships was around I decided to race just for experience,” added the national cyclist, who will remain in Brisbane to hone his skills until mid-December.

    “It was a shot of confidence for me going into my next race. I’m doing the fifth leg of the Queen’s Cup in Bangkok in December.

    “It’s the last race for 2017, before I eventually enlist early next year,” said Elyas, as he looks to end the year on a high.

    Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news...k-cyclist-mohamed-elyas-in-queensland-9448570
     
    Master likes this.
  3. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    On the Record: Lim Teck Yin, CEO of SportSG

    [​IMG]
    Lim Teck Yin at the launch of the ActiveSG Hockey Academy. (Photo: Sport Singapore)

    [​IMG]

    By Bharati Jagdish

    03 Dec 2017 06:48AM (Updated: 03 Dec 2017 01:02PM)

    SINGAPORE:Lim Teck Yin is suitably built to be an ambassador of Singapore sports. As CEO of Sport Singapore (SportSG), a statutory board set up to transform Singapore through sport, he embodies its spirit with his athletic physique.

    He is tall and broad-shouldered and for this interview was wearing a fitted t-shirt that accentuated his robust chest and chiseled arms. A light tan, evidence of his love of outdoor sports, illuminated his skin.

    At 55, he exercises regularly and has introduced a “dress-down every day” programme at SportSG. All employees can come to work in casual or sportswear and are encouraged to physically move every few hours.

    Lim’s relationship with sport started long before he became CEO of SportSG.

    “My father was very athletic. He played tennis and badminton and I used to follow him as a young kid,” he saod with a tinge of nostalgia.

    In primary school, whether it was football, table tennis, badminton, tennis or field hockey, he played it.

    He confessed he was never really good at any of them, but when an opportunity to play water polo came along, he signed up. “I loved swimming at quite a young age. Ang Peng Siong was in my cohort and he was my classmate, so I wasn’t about to win anything in swimming,” he said, with a hint of a smile in his voice.

    “Water polo looked like a lot more fun than swimming laps anyway.”

    He went on to represent Singapore in water polo, winning six consecutive South-East Asian (SEA) Games Gold Medals from 1985 to 1995, and an Asian Games Bronze Medal in 1986.


    [​IMG]
    Lim Teck Yin representing Singapore in water polo at the 1989 SEA Games. (Photo: Michael Goh)
    Beyond sports, his 30-year career in the Singapore Armed Forces shaped his ability to be both a team player and a leader.

    As Brigadier-General he was involved in strategic planning, leading and managing units, operations and projects, and developing people - skills that he took with him to SportSG in 2011.

    Today, he’s interested in making sports a way of life in Singapore. Winning medals was never a priority for him and “it shouldn’t be” he said. For him, it’s about having fun, and parents and schools must be able see this.

    We started off by talking about a project he’s particularly proud of - the ActiveSG Football Academy. “It has made football very affordable and accessible to children. We now have 10 centres,” he said.

    The sessions are conducted three times a week over a period of 10 weeks and cost S$130. Kids are coached by prominent names such as Alexander Duric.

    FUNDING FOR FOOTBALL – MORE EFFICIENCIES NEEDED

    This was the perfect opportunity to discuss the state of Singapore football. The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) recently announced plans to widen the pool of youth players at the school level and implement mandatory Under-23 quotas for six local S-League clubs.

    “I know it’s a cliché, but Singapore football clearly needs to go back to basics - a strong focus on youth development. But there’s lag time between getting that right and delivering a strong national team. The FAS unfortunately is going to have to suffer the pain of this transitionary period.”

    More recently, the impending funding cut for the 2018 S.League season is threatening to worsen football’s woes. It was announced earlier this year that SportSG will be the gatekeeper of annual subsidies and the budget for next year could be halved.

    Lim didn’t want to go into detail about the amount, but I asked him to explain why a funding cut is necessary. Won’t this further cripple an already floundering S.League?

    “We are not cutting funding because they weren’t performing. I think we did a deep-dive into how money was spent and we are convinced that we can do this at a lower level of funding.

    “If I gave you a million dollars and you were not sharp enough with that million dollars, that could be less effective than someone who has half of that but is very clear what that money is going to be put into.”

    He is convinced that more efficiencies can be made.

    “We can streamline administration across the S.League headquarters and the club’s administration. There’s a lot of scope for synergies whether it’s in player development, coach development or opportunities to advance the standard of football.

    “One of the ideas we have is to convince the S.League that we should share stadiums. There is a difference between maintaining 11 pitches versus upgrading and maintaining five.”

    How that will go down with the clubs is a different matter. After all, shouldn’t teams play at a stadium located within their clubs’ community?

    Also, since the S.League couldn’t do well with the existing level of funding, wouldn’t cutting it, even while introducing efficiencies, either keep the league performing at the current level, if not worse?

    "That remains to be seen. I think more efficiencies will help," he insisted.

    Another concern over the years has been players’ contracts and salaries. Surely those things have to be improved in order to attract younger players to the field? Wouldn’t a cut in funding make contracts and salaries even worse?

    But he pointed out that the ones who perform well earn good money.

    “If you’re earning S$10,000, that’s not bad, right?”

    But media reports say such cases are rare. A Channel NewsAsia report earlier this year found that average squad members earn less than S$3,000 a month, while players who regularly feature in the national team can pull in S$5,000 to S$8,000.

    Lim feels this is fair. He became circumspect as he said this.

    “I don’t want to run the risk of, in one statement, whitewashing everybody, but should a footballer who is not in the national team be publicly funded more than many of our national athletes in other sports? There needs to be a balance in terms of investment and accountability and to have a better perspective on the total amount of public funding that will be given to this.”

    He also feels some players in the clubs lack a “professional high-performance mindset”.

    “This is about how you live your life. How much you sleep and rest. How much you train. Both in the training that is organised and that you do on your own. How much do you study your sport and how much do you practise? Any athlete who wants to do well makes big sacrifices.”

    Granted, the athlete has to prove his seriousness about the sport but if his income is far from satisfactory and he has to hold down another full-time job to support his family, how can he possibly make that commitment?

    [​IMG]
    Lim Teck Yin supporting Team Singapore at the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. (Photo: Sport Singapore)

    Lim admitted this is a problem. “It’s a chicken-and-egg problem. But if the clubs want to be able to offer bigger contracts, want to provide more assurance, more security, they will first have to ask themselves 'Can I market this?'

    “If you recognise that funding will flow to a certain level and beyond that level, you have to pay attention to your market proposition, you’re going to spend more time to get out to the community. You’re going to build relationships with businesses and help them understand why they should support you.”

    He pointed out that the FAS council has recently been urging S.League teams to reach out to their communities.
     
    Master likes this.
  4. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    SOME ATHLETES DON’T ACKNOWLEDGE GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

    This took us on to the issue of sports funding in general.

    Just this year, the Government announced enhancements in the form of an injection of $50 million over five years into the High Performance Sports system and a new One Team Singapore matching grant.

    But some athletes have taken to crowdfunding to support their needs, giving rise to questions from members of the public about the extent of Government funding.

    He pointed out that Sports Excellence Scholarship (spexScholarship) holders generally don’t resort to alternatives like crowdfunding.

    But does one have to reach those heights in order to be adequately funded? What about those who haven’t reached that level but have potential?

    He explained the system continues to evolve to better identify athletic potential at a younger age, but he urged the need to contextualise statements about a lack of funding.

    “A vocal few fail to acknowledge what is already being given. Very often, I wonder if I should come out on social media and declare the amount of money they are actually getting from Government.”

    So why doesn't he, for the sake of transparency, and let the public decide?

    "I’d rather not," he said.

    "Because I think we position these athletes as role models and they are. I do understand what they perceive their struggles to be. I understand they perceive that a lot more can be done and to their credit, they are standing up to take action."

    Even though he did not go into specifics, just by saying he believes some athletes are understating Government support, some might say he has already cast aspersions on the fraternity.

    I had my doubts about his statement and remarked that he was making a serious allegation.

    He was quick to say he believes "none of our athletes are conniving or malicious".

    "But in standing up to take action, they obviously know that they have to present a strategy that works, which is 'I’m under-supported'."

    Putting aside the possibility that the athletes could be underplaying the amount of government support they are receiving, the fact remains that they feel under-supported.

    Considering Singapore is an affluent nation with aspirations to be a sports hub and sporting city, shouldn’t more be given to athletes to show how serious the Government actually is?

    He explained his position: “During conversations with athletes, sometimes we disagree on whether what more they would like funding for will make much of a difference. Sometimes, it’s because of a lack of planning on their part. Maybe something has just popped up and they want to do it, but it was not provisioned for when we planned funding.

    “But sometimes I think it’s just rhetoric on their part.”

    There has also been much controversy over the Foreign Sports Talent Scheme even though foreign talent make up a very small percentage of sportspeople here. Various officials have pointed out that many of these individuals have inspired young Singaporeans to take up the sport and the scheme has no adverse impact on the funding of local sportspeople. However, care needs to be taken to ensure that foreign talent indeed have a positive impact on local athletes.

    Lim feels the issue of funding has been misunderstood and pointed out that beyond funding in the form of cash, there are many other ways in which Singapore athletes are supported.


    [​IMG]
    CEO of Sport Singapore Lim Teck Yin.

    “There’s medical support and support in terms of sports science. Sports science has physiology, nutrition, psychology, strengthening and conditioning and even facility support. And all this is free for the athletes.”

    However, he admitted there is room for improvement.

    “One of the systemic challenges today is that the funding provided through the National Sports Associations (NSAs) might be presented on a reimbursement basis. That presents cash flow problems. We should urge the NSAs to just give them the money up front.”

    COULD JOSEPH SCHOOLING HAVE BEEN SUPPORTED BETTER?

    We naturally progress to discussing Singapore’s pride and joy, Joseph Schooling. A recurring question after Schooling’s Olympic medal win last year was why the Government hadn’t done more to contribute to his journey.

    “He came onto the spexScholarship in 2013. There wasn’t a spexScholarship in 2012,” said Lim.

    But couldn’t an athlete of Schooling’s calibre have been spotted earlier and more money be put into grooming him?

    Lim considered the question for a moment.

    “Let’s go back to the earlier system which could have caught Joseph Schooling. He wasn’t on the radar when it came to benchmark-able measurements against other athletes. The current system is much improved and we’re able to identify athletes much younger, even before they’ve won a SEA Games gold medal.”

    But even the current system has its limitations.

    “At what stage should we intervene with more money? I think we should always try to improve our competitive analytics and enhance the level of flexibility in any system. How much flexibility would we have to make bets and how much latitude do we want to give ourselves for failed bets as opposed to having much stronger success rates? This is a continuing conversation to have.”

    I put it to him that as an affluent nation, surely more latitude can be exercised even if it means intervening later with more money.

    IT’S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY

    This is when we finally got to what he considers the core of the issue.

    “It’s a current weakness in our high performance mindset that this funding needs to be provided solely by the Government. The meaningfulness of the achievement of our national athletes will be enhanced only when the village gets behind them in substantive ways. When there’s an over-reliance on one party to do everything, the value of bringing people together is lost. We need to build something great together.


    [​IMG]
    Lim Teck Yin with Quek Swee Kuan, CEO, Sentosa Development Corporation at the launch of this year's GetActive! Singapore in Sentosa. (Photo: Sport Singapore)


    “When we put Team Singapore out there at the SEA Games recently, at least one million eyeballs saw them compete online. If thinking about excellence, perseverance and the will to succeed as a small country resonates with your brand, let’s market this together.”

    When I asked how successful this strategy has been in getting commercial entities to come forward, he said SportSG is “sharpening its sword” in this area.

    But he enthusiastically spoke about the One Team Singapore Fund. At its launch earlier this year, it received S$500,000 from three donors.
     
    Master likes this.
  5. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    THE POLITICS OF SPORTS

    Earlier this year when public accusations and counter-accusations between members of the Singapore Athletics (SA) management committee made headlines and affected athletes’ performance, Lim stepped in to express his disappointment publicly, urging the association to put the needs of athletes first.

    Today, he reiterated this and goes a step further. “Things continue to be at an impasse and I think they need a total and absolute leadership change,” he said categorically.

    “If you don’t have a clear perspective of working in service of the sport, then you’re never going to succeed.”

    The association’s squabbles led to marathoner Soh Rui Yong saying that he did not want to contribute 20 per cent of his $10,000 gold medal prize money to it. Under the Singapore National Olympic Council’s terms and conditions, it is mandatory to do so.

    I wanted to know what Lim thinks of Soh’s stance on the issue. Why should an athlete have to make the contribution if he feels the association has not contributed to his success?

    Lim said Soh’s feelings are “understandable”.

    But while he recognises the deficits in the current SA management, in principle, he feels athletes should see the contribution as a “value statement”.

    “Even if you feel the leadership of the day hasn’t supported you enough, you must remember the institution has walked a long journey with you over the years. You couldn’t have even qualified if there were no association. Today, they may not be doing a great job, but that doesn’t mean the institution is totally defunct. The institution of course always needs to make sure it uses the money to benefit the athletes.”

    He also feels the national awards should not be seen as an entitlement.

    “If you were contracted as a professional athlete in the sport industry, it’s a different contractual proposition. We shouldn’t mix up national high performance sport with the high performance sports business.”


    [​IMG]
    Lim Teck Yin at this year's Purple Parade with Team Singapore athletes. (Photo: Sport Singapore)

    NATIONAL SERVICE AND SPORTS

    A big part of Lim’s life was spent in the army and his ties to sports make our next discussion deeply personal for him - the question of National Service getting in the way of athletes’ careers.

    “The very foundation of National Service has been equity. Nobody gets excused and this is something that I think needs to be held because there are people who actually say, 'Why should this talented person be excused? Why should I put myself on the line for this person? Shouldn’t we all be doing this together?'"

    Some consider representing Singapore on the international stage as an elite athlete as a form of National Service, but Lim disagreed.

    “At the National Day Parade when we see what the SAF has become, what it’s able to achieve through the hard work of our national servicemen, I think there is a genuine sense of pride and whenever we’ve had a national project that required the army, air force or navy to step in, they’ve demonstrated what they can do and we feel very proud. It’s not the same as sports representation.

    “If we better understand why NS is an imperative and accept it as a fact of being Singaporean, then let’s work around it. I played sports for 12 years while in the army. It’s inconvenient, but a balance can be found to do both.”

    HIS DARKEST MOMENT

    He spoke passionately about his career in the army, but when we start talking about the darkest moment of his military career, his passion turns into grief.

    In July 1990, as an SAF company commander, he lost three soldiers during a training exercise.

    “It is one thing to know that we put our lives on the line every day but a totally different thing to have to manage that loss.”

    Even though investigations showed there was no negligence on his part, up until now, he feels a sense of guilt over what transpired that day.

    “One of the soldiers we lost was actually not scheduled on that exercise. One of the other soldiers fell ill that day and I asked this soldier to join in. He could have avoided the whole thing if I hadn’t done that. But what can I do? We have to move on.”

    He may not have fully recovered from this episode, but he is an optimist when it comes to most other aspects of his career and life.

    [​IMG]
    Lim Teck Yin at the prize presentation ceremony of this year's WTA Finals. (Photo: Sport Singapore)

    “I WANT TO BE ABLE TO FADE AWAY”

    As the conversation circled back to sports, I asked him how well he really thinks Singapore can do as a sporting nation.

    “We’ve got a world champion swimmer, world champion junior sailors, world champion silat exponents, bowlers. We’ve got a young girl who just stunned everybody at fencing.

    “I’m very clear in my mind that everything we do must have meaning to Singaporeans. If an Olympic gold medal does not make sense to the majority of Singaporeans, we will not pursue it. But in 2015, I was very encouraged to see two-thirds of TV viewers tuning in to the SEA games, so sports has meaning and our challenge is to continue to make it meaningful.”

    Doing meaningful work is clearly important to him, but when asked about the legacy he wants to leave behind, he said, “I want to be able to fade away because it’s not about me. I’d like to be able to leave the scene but see more and more people carry on doing it. I don’t have to be there. This has never been about me.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lim_Teck_Yin
    Background

    Lim was born and educated in Singapore. His grandfather, the late Major-General Lim Bo Seng, was a former resistance fighter during World War Two, and is regarded as a war hero in Singapore. Lim received his secondary education in Anglo Chinese School and Anglo Chinese Junior College for his pre-university education. He graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Business Administration, and holds a Master of Science in Management from London Business School under the SAF Postgraduate Scholarship (General Development). Lim is a board member of the Anglo-Chinese Schools and the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent).



    Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/on-the-record-lim-teck-yin-ceo-of-sportsg-9459292
     
    #265 Loh, Dec 3, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
    Master likes this.
  6. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    NS commitments could rule paddler and shuttler out of Commonwealth Games

    By Low Lin Fhoong

    [​IMG]
    National paddler Clarence Chew could miss out on the 2018 Commonwealth Games due to National Service commitments. Photo: T2APAC

    Published30 November, 2017
    Updated 30 November, 2017
    SINGAPORE — Preparations by the Republic’s national table tennis and badminton teams for the Commonwealth Games in April next year have been disrupted, with paddler Clarence Chew, 21, and shuttler Loh Kean Hean, 22, unable to train full-time with the teams after enlisting for National Service (NS).

    Chew, who started his Basic Military Training (BMT) earlier this month, saw his deferment extension from NS for full-time studies withdrawn after he suspended his studies at Republic Polytechnic (RP) this year, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said in response to TODAY’s queries.


    Loh, also from RP, enlisted for NS in the middle of this month after his deferment extension for his studies ended in September.

    Both Chew and Loh, who were on a customised five-year diploma programme for Singapore Sports School student-athletes, had initially been granted NS deferment for their studies for a three-year period (April 2013 to April last year), and were subsequently granted an extension of at least 18 months in order to complete their academic studies.

    “As they required more time to complete their diploma course, Mindef subsequently granted an extension of deferment for Clarence and Kean Hean until Feb 2018 and Sept 2017 respectively. When Clarence suspended his studies in 2017, his deferment extension was consequently withdrawn. Kean Hean was enlisted after his deferment extension for studies ended in Sept 2017,” the ministry said.

    NS deferment for full-time studies is granted to pre-enlistees to pursue their studies for GCE ‘A’ level, polytechnic diplomas, or equivalent. This deferment, which was granted to Chew and Loh, is different from the one accorded to elite sportsmen such as swimmers Quah Zheng Wen, and Joseph Schooling who won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

    Mindef reiterated that it supports national athletes by exercising flexibility in allowing full-time National Servicemen to train and participate in international competitions such as the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, subject to operational requirements.

    It has also granted deferments to “exceptional sporting talents who are assessed to be potential medal winners at international competitions like the Olympic Games for the purpose of achieving national pride for Singapore”.

    Mindef added: “In recent years, Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen, who competed in the Olympic Games, were granted deferment based on these criteria.”


    TODAY understands that in Chew’s case, the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) did not apply for the NS deferment scheme for sportsmen as he would not have met the criteria.

    However, Chew’s decision to take two separate breaks — totalling two years — from school to train for the 2015 and 2017 SEA Games, respectively, appeared to have backfired, resulting in his deferment extension being withdrawn by Mindef.

    STTA president Ellen Lee told TODAY: “As far as Mindef is concerned, there’s nothing unusual about (Chew’s case), and it’s in accordance with the rules. He was supposed to take five years to finish his studies, but he suspended his studies for two years and he wasn’t going to classes so he cannot qualify for that set of considerations (for deferment).”

    The STTA did not want to comment on whether Chew’s decision to take the sabbaticals to train for the SEA Games was taken by him or the association. Chew, a three-time SEA Games gold medallist, could not be reached for comment.

    One of the national team’s key players, Chew will complete his BMT in February, leaving him only two months to train for the Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Gold Coast, Australia.

    His participation in the Games will also be dependent on whether he is able to get leave from NS to travel and compete with the men’s team, which is aiming to defend their gold medal from the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

    While the STTA recently welcomed Pang Xuejie back into the fold after he quit university in February to play professionally, the men’s team is suffering from a shortage of seasoned players after a spate of retirements in recent years.

    Veteran paddler Gao Ning, 35, and Chew are the only remaining players from the 2014 gold medal-winning side, after five-time Commonwealth Games champion Yang Zi and doubles specialist Zhan Jian retired due to injuries. Former world junior champion Li Hu was sacked by the STTA in October last year for insubordination.

    Ms Lee said: “Of course, this is a huge blow to us, and to him (Clarence) as well as he has been training for the Commonwealth and Asian Games all this while. But he has a duty to the country and that comes first. Whether he can play in the Commonwealth and Asian Games will depend on where he is posted after BMT, and whether he can apply for leave.”

    The Asian Games will be held in Indonesia over August and September.

    Loh could also miss out on a debut at the 2018 Commonwealth Games due to his NS commitments. The world No 48 doubles specialist, who won the team bronze at the 2015 and 2017 SEA Games, was initially expected to compete in the mixed team and men’s doubles. “My chances of playing in the Commonwealth Games will be reduced by a lot because I won’t have much time to train and compete,” Loh told TODAY.

    “It’s definitely disappointing as I was preparing for it thinking that Commonwealth Games would be my last one (major tournament) before enlisting for NS.”
     
    Master likes this.
  7. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Netball: Singapore finish third in Nations Cup, Cook Islands emerge as surprise champions

    [​IMG]
    Ireland's Kristy Owens squaring off with Singapore's Charmaine Soh at the 3rd and 4th placing match of the 2017 Mission Foods Nations Cup.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

    Published
    Dec 9, 2017, 3:48 pm SGT
    Updated
    Dec 9, 2017, 11:58 pm

    SINGAPORE - The national netball team concluded their 2017 Mission Foods Nations Cup on a high with a 60-41 win over Ireland to finish in third place at the OCBC Arena on Saturday (Dec 9).

    Singapore had lost 53-54 to Ireland in their first match of the tournament.

    Trailing 7-10 in the middle of the first quarter, 19th-ranked Singapore caught up to equalise, but world No. 22 Ireland edged ahead to end the quarter up 14-11.

    The hosts levelled the score twice in the second quarter, before taking the lead at 19-18 for the first time.

    With Singapore always one step ahead of their opponents, the Republic maintained their lead to enter the second half with a 27-23 advantage.

    Ireland's Jan Hynes took the court as goal attacker in the third quarter. But Singapore's smooth attack, coupled with defender Aqilah Andin correctly anticipating the Irish opposition's passes, saw the hosts widen their lead.

    Up 47-32 entering the final quarter, there was no looking back for Singapore.

    As the crowd of 1,600 cheered and waved their clappers, Singapore ramped up their attack to stay ahead and take the win.

    In the final, which took place later on the same day, the unranked Cook Islands defeated No. 30 Swaziland 39-38 to win the Nations Cup title.

    Cook Islands captain Luciana Nicholas said the win was a good start in helping the team get back into the netball world rankings ahead of next year's Oceania qualifiers for the 2019 Netball World Cup.

    She added: "We came in not knowing what to expect and we were quite scared we weren't going to win anything, so coming through with the trophy is a great honour for us.

    "We've got to play eight international games to get back into the rankings, this is our sixth and it has definitely helped us."

    In the day's first match, SEA Games champions Malaysia, represented by a youth team, beat Hong Kong 48-43 to finish fifth.
     
    Master likes this.
  8. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Singaporean teen fencer marks birthday with historic title

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Amita Berthier's progress has come ahead of schedule, says her coach Ralf Bissdorf.PHOTO: SPORTSG
    Teen becomes first Singaporean fencer to win a Junior World Cup title


    Lim Say Heng
    Sports Correspondent
    Dec 18, 2017 06:00 am

    Amita Berthier turned 17 on Friday and gave herself the perfect birthday present a day later when she became the first Singaporean fencer to win a Junior World Cup title at the Havana leg in Cuba.

    In yesterday's (Singapore time) foil final against Canada's Naomi Moindrot-Zilliox, Amita triumphed 15-9 to claim the gold medal and cap a stellar year.

    The US-based teenager had finished second at last month's Guatemala stop - the first Singaporean to claim a podium finish at the eight-leg Junior World Cup series - and had secured a bronze medal in the cadet category at the Junior and Cadet World Championships in April.

    She then reached the last 32 of the senior World Fencing Championships in July before winning gold on her debut at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in August.

    "It's an awesome way to celebrate my birthday. It was my last competition of the year, and I got to spend some time here with some of my friends and my mum," Amita told The Straits Times over the phone yesterday after her match.

    "That, along with bringing back the gold medal, were the best things I could ever ask for."

    In Havana, I tried not to think about the gold medal but to focus on the process. Singapore fencer Amita Berthier, on what went through her mind before her historic win.

    The left-handed fencer won all five matches in the poules, and beat Canada's Jane Caulfield 15-9 in the round of 16.

    She then overcame Venezuela's Anabella Acurero Gonzalez 15-10 in the last eight, and Taiwan's Tsai Xiao-qing 15-5 in the semi-finals.

    "I definitely tried to keep my calm here because in the Guatemala final, I was a bit nervous as it was my first-ever final in the category and I really wanted to win," said Amita.

    "In Havana, I tried not to think about the gold medal but to focus on the process. It definitely helped me because I fenced freely, without worrying whether I won or lost."

    Her coach Ralf Bissdorf was happy with yesterday's performance and said that his protege was "a bit ahead of schedule".

    He had projected two top-eight finishes in tournaments and a year-end top-15 ranking for Amita, who moved up to the Under-20 junior category after April.

    Prior to the Havana stop, she was 13th in the junior world rankings and is slated to jump to world No. 5 when the latest rankings are released today.

    Despite the progress, Bissdorf remained cautiously optimistic for the 2017-18 campaign.

    He said: "We have to adjust the target for this season and try to keep her in the top 10. I don't think it will be a steady climb all the time. Top five in the world is pretty difficult and so is every single step forward.

    "All the things that we are doing right now are pretty much long-term development. We are not trying to fast-track anything because I don't think it's possible, and if you try to fast-track anyone, I don't think it would be successful."

    Fencing Singapore president Juliana Seow said: "This Junior World Cup win is another step in Amita's continued progression and she - along with her peers - have shown Singapore fencers can make a mark on the international stage."

    Amita added: "For 2018, my focus is on the Asian Junior & Cadet Championships (next February) and to try and qualify for the Asian Games. I will work hard and look forward to the competitions in 2018."


     
    Master likes this.
  9. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Emotional rollercoaster for fencer Amita as Air France loses, then recovers S$5k of equipment

    By Low Lin Fhoong

    [​IMG]
    S$5,000 worth of fencing equipment belonging to Singapore's national fencer Amita Berthier (top R) was misplaced by Air France as a result of flights delays in Havana and Paris. Photo: Fencing Singapore (top) and AFP

    Published22 December, 2017
    Updated 22 December, 2017

    SINGAPORE — Misfortune struck national fencer Amita Berthier on Monday (Dec 18), just a day after the teenager won Singapore’s first-ever title at the Havana Junior World Cup in the women’s individual foil.

    As a result of flight delays in Havana and Paris, the 17-year-old’s luggage containing S$5,000 worth of fencing equipment was misplaced by Air France. Her mother Uma Berthier said that the airline was not able to provide details or information on the whereabouts of her daughter’s bag. As a result, the mother and daughter pair had to wait anxiously for three days before they finally received news that the bag had been found in Paris.


    [​IMG]
    (Above) Lost and found: Amita Berthier's bag. Photo: Uma Berthier
    Advertisement

    TODAY had contacted Berthier and Air France early Friday morning before the missing bag was located, and the airline responded in the evening that they were looking into the case.

    Berthier had told TODAY on Friday morning: “I know bags can be delayed but to get answers with a ‘can’t be traced... many bags to locate’.... is very disappointing.

    “All we want is some update and a person who could make decisions to talk to, and I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request. They were just nonchalant.”

    On Sunday, up-and-coming young fencer Amita clinched a historic gold medal for Singapore in Cuba after defeating Canada’s Naomi Moindrot Zilliox 15-9 in the final. However, her joy was dampened by Air France’s baggage bungle a day later.

    Amita and her mother boarded an Air France flight bound for Paris on Monday after a delay of close to two hours at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba. As a result of the delay, they missed their connecting flight to Lyon, and waited five hours before boarding the next flight.

    Upon touching down at the Lyon-Saint-Exupery Airport, they discovered that only two of their three luggage bags had arrived. To their dismay, it was Amita’s equipment bag containing her fencing weapons, extra foils, full suit, wires, two pairs of shoes, and mask – worth about S$5,000 – that was missing. Amita was especially “upset and disappointed” over the loss as her treasured Team Singapore jacket – which she wore at the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in August when she won gold in the women’s foil – was among the misplaced possessions.

    "“I won my first SEA Games medal and wore that jacket all through the competition and have taken it with me ever since to the United States, Romania, Guatemala and Cuba," said Amita on Friday before her luggage was found.

    "It’s given me great memories... kept me happy and motivated.”

    But attempts to find out the whereabouts of her missing luggage proved frustrating, and futile, for the duo. According to Berthier, they made about 20 calls to the airline and staff could only say they there was “no trace” of the bag, and her request for the contact of a manager and email contact was turned down.

    Berthier said that she had fork out some €2,000 to purchase new equipment for Amita as the fencer, who is ranked No 5 on the junior world rankings, will be competing in two tournaments early next month: the Junior World Cup in Italy, and Senior World Cup in Poland.

    But luckily for the pair, there was good news when they arrived in Geneva on Friday for their year-end vacation with Amita’s paternal grandparents - Amita’s lost luggage had been found in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport.

    Amita told TODAY: “This is the best Christmas present! My heart is so light, I am truly elated and I can now enjoy Christmas with my family!”
     
    Master likes this.
  10. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Singapore woman bowler Lim wins mixed-gender tournament

    [​IMG]
    Singapore bowler Bernice Lim pocketed 60,000 Swedish krona (S$9,740) for winning the mixed-gender AIK International in Stockholm, Sweden. PHOTO: SINGAPORE BOWLING FEDERATION

    Sazali Abdul Aziz
    Sports Correspondent

    Match Report
    Jan 09, 2018 06:00 am

    Singapore bowler Bernice Lim took full advantage of the mixed-gender tournament rules to win the AIK International in Stockholm yesterday morning (Singapore time).

    The women receive an eight-pin lead and that buffer proved critical as she narrowly defeated top-seeded local hope Jesper Svensson 240-233 (with the handicap applied) in the final.

    The 22-year-old Swede has won seven Professional Bowlers Association Tour titles, including the 2016 PBA Tournament of Champions.

    Lim, who beat 2017 SEA Games women's Masters champion Shalin Zulkifli of Malaysia 226-220 in the first match of the step-ladder finals, won 60,000 Swedish krona (S$9,740).

    Lim told The Straits Times yesterday: "I'm very happy since it's the first tournament of the year, so it's a good start to the year.

    "I've been working on my game quite a bit, just trying to make it simpler and focus more on the process, and I think this (victory) proves my work has paid off."

    Her last significant win was the 2016 Professional Women's Bowling Association USBC Queens event in Las Vegas.

    The 26-year-old added that while she has bowled frequently in mixed-gender tournaments on the European tour in recent years, it was her first singles triumph in such an event.

    "The two people I faced (in the two final games) were Shalin and Jesper, and they are really good," said Lim.

    NOTHING TO LOSE

    "It was quite intimidating to bowl against them, but I also felt I had nothing to lose.
    "So I just enjoyed myself, focused on my own game."

    I'm very happy since it's the first tournament of the year, so it's a good start to the year. Singapore bowler Bernice Lim, on her win in the AIK International

    Her teammates Daphne Tan (14th), Shayna Ng (26th) and Jasmine Yeong-Nathan (33rd) were also in the 455-strong field.

    Senior national assistant coach Jason Yeong-Nathan said he was very pleased with their performances and praised their consistency.

    "In mixed-gender competitions, the lanes will play differently because girls bowl further to the right, and guys bowl further to the left," he noted.

    "Plus, guys are more aggressive and girls are usually mellower, so the atmosphere at these competitions is different.

    "So, it's good for our bowlers to gain this experience."

    The quartet will next compete at the Brunswick Ballmaster Open in Helsinki, Finland, another mixed-gender tournament, which ends on Sunday.
     
    Master likes this.
  11. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Commentary: Are Singapore’s efforts to be a sporting nation half-hearted?

    We either go full steam ahead or not at all in our bid to support high-performance national athletes, says Channel NewsAsia's Bharati Jagdish.

    [​IMG]

    Singapore's Joseph Schooling celebrates after winning the 100m freestyle final at the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur. (AFP/Manan Vatsyayana)

    By Bharati Jagdish

    SINGAPORE: On paper, it would seem Singapore has made great strides towards becoming a sporting nation.

    Sports funding has increased over the years. Today, we have a Sports School and a Sports Hub. There’s even a road map for “using sport as a strategy for Singaporeans to have a healthier and better life through the impactful experience of Sport” in the form of Vision 2030.

    In the last few years, the Physical Education syllabus in schools has also been boosted.

    Swimmer, Joseph Schooling’s gold medal win at the 2016 Olympics rallied the nation and is much lauded even today.

    In last year’s SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, we saw Singapore athletes deliver a record-breaking overseas performance with 57 gold, 58 silver and 73 bronze medals.

    IS SPORTS FUNDING HALF-HEARTED?

    However, amid these achievements, there lie several 'buts'.
    While a focus on mass participation is positive in order to encourage healthier lifestyles and perhaps even to catalyse participation in competitive sports, focus seems to be lacking at the high-performance level.
    Sports funding may have increased over the years, but local athletes often say it’s insufficient.
    Just this year, the Government announced enhancements in the form of an injection of S$50 million over five years into the High Performance Sports system and a new One Team Singapore matching grant.
    [​IMG]
    Singapore's 4x100m medley relay champions at the 2017 SEA Games. (Photo: Justin Ong)
    But still, some athletes have taken to crowdfunding to support their needs, giving rise to questions from members of the public about the sufficiency of Government funding.

    Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/new...-efforts-to-be-a-sporting-nation-half-9836558

    In a recent edition of On the Record, CEO of Sport Singapore, Lim Teck Yin, sought to allay these concerns.
    He, in fact, said that athletes are getting much more than they let on.

    “A vocal few fail to acknowledge what is already being given. Very often, I wonder if I should come out on social media and declare the amount of money they are actually getting from Government.”

    When I asked why he doesn’t for the sake of transparency, he said, "I’d rather not because I think we position these athletes as role models and they are. I do understand what they perceive their struggles to be. I understand they perceive that a lot more can be done and to their credit, they are standing up to take action."

    Lim pointed out that beyond funding in the form of cash, there are many other ways in which Singapore athletes are supported.

    “There’s medical support and support in terms of sports science. Sports science has physiology, nutrition, psychology, strengthening and conditioning and even facility support. And all this is free for the athletes.”

    In spite of this, many promising athletes have told me that if they didn’t hold down full-time jobs, it would be impossible to pursue their sporting dreams.

    Joseph Schooling had the financial support of his parents who made numerous sacrifices.

    Not many families would have the means in spite of personal sacrifices.

    Lim assured me that the system for spotting athletes at a younger age and investing in them has improved.
    But even the current system has its limitations.

    “At what stage should we intervene with more money? How much flexibility would we have to make bets and how much latitude do we want to give ourselves for failed bets as opposed to having much stronger success rates? This is a continuing conversation to have.”

    As an affluent nation that claims to be serious about being a sporting nation too, surely more latitude can be exercised even if it means intervening later with more money. More transparency on funding would also help citizens develop more informed views on such issues.

    Lim, however, firmly believes that the Government should not be solely responsible for funding.

    “The meaningfulness of the achievement of our national athletes will be enhanced only when the village gets behind them in substantive ways. When there’s an over-reliance on one party to do everything, the value of bringing people together is lost. We need to build something great together.

    He is not wrong. Corporates need to get behind this effort too.
     
    Master likes this.
  12. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    SPORTS – A VIABLE CAREER?

    How far does the current state of affairs go towards inspiring confidence in potential athletes and their parents that a sporting career need not be a tremendous struggle and that it can be viable?
    As an example, the sorry state of Singapore football exacerbates the situation.

    As the new Football Association of Singapore Council takes steps to heal local football, many Singaporeans express scepticism, with some saying the sport is a lost cause here and no more time or money should be invested in it.

    [​IMG]
    Fazrul Nawaz in action during Singapore's AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers fixture against Turkmenistan. (Photo: AFP)

    The public has witnessed years of poor performance so those who make these remarks can’t be blamed for feeling some measure of disillusionment.

    A Channel NewsAsia report last year found that average squad members in the S.League earn less than S$3,000 a month, while players who regularly feature in the national team can pull in S$5,000 to S$8,000.

    Many feel this is discouraging considering the high cost of living in Singapore.

    Whether more public funding can be given is a discussion we all have to contribute to. Most would agree that serious and committed athletes deserve funding.

    Others say if athletes have to struggle with money, wouldn’t it discourage them from being committed?

    ARE WE TOO PRAGMATIC?

    We also need to consider what sporting excellence means to us.

    Are many of us unwilling to take risks or apathetic because for many years of our country’s growth, we were conditioned to focus on academics?

    The dictum for many years was and in some quarters continues to be: Study hard, get into a good school, get a stable job or make lots of money as an entrepreneur. Sports is leisure, nothing more.

    In 2015, President of the Singapore Sailing Federation and then Nominated Member of Parliament, Dr Benedict Tan said: “We are goal oriented and we monitor closely our key performance indicators (KPIs). We pay close attention to what is tangible and measurable, i.e. medals and grades.”

    Are we being too pragmatic? If our children don’t show prodigious talent, shouldn’t we encourage them to at least explore it, instead of pouring water on their ambitions?

    TAKING ACTION

    Even while we feel this way, we clearly recognise the value of sports.

    The jubilation surrounding Schooling’s Olympic gold was evidence of this.

    We were inspired. We waxed lyrical about the value of sports in instilling discipline, determination and in bringing a nation together and making us proud.

    [​IMG]
    Joseph Schooling stands with his family as he receives a standing ovation in Parliament.

    Lim said: “Everything we do must have meaning to Singaporeans. If an Olympic gold medal does not make sense to the majority of Singaporeans, we will not pursue it.”

    Many of us agree that it’s meaningful, but agreement is not enough.

    Some experts have suggested it’s not at all about money or the viability of a sporting career. Rather it is the issue of facilities.

    In some countries kids play football and other games on the streets. It is ingrained in them from a young age. In Singapore, you often have to make prior arrangements to use facilities.

    Countries such as Iceland also have more facilities for sports like football than we do on a per capita basis. We have space constraints to consider.

    FAS’ deputy president Bernard Tan has suggested having more artificial pitches, and more floodlit and covered facilities to encourage kids to play more organically.

    Some experts feel if all this were in place, more people would participate in community and competitive sports and the money will come.

    OUR ATTITUDES TOWARDS SPORTS

    In 2016, a hue and cry by residents living near the Home United Youth Football Academy in Mattar Road also led to a debate about our attitudes towards sports.

    The residents had complained about the noise generated by youth training activities at the academy.
    Some had said this was reflective of a culture that discourages sporting activities.

    But when we almost missed the chance to watch Joseph Schooling win his gold medal “live” during the Rio Olympics because of broadcast rights issues, the public was livid.

    Another contentious issue that gets the public talking is the Foreign Sports Talent Scheme even though foreign talent make up a very small percentage of sportspeople here.

    To date, we have five Olympic medals – four of which were won by foreign-born athletes.

    The fact that such debates are generated shows that sports still means something to many of us.

    WHOLE-HEARTED FOCUS AND VISION

    Structures like the Sports Hub may attract international sports events and enable Singaporeans to be inspired by world-class athletes on our shores, but clearly much more is needed to help us prioritise sports.

    We see initiatives to boost community sports, outdoor education, competitive sports, but all this needs to be woven into a tapestry that makes us a truly sporting nation that must also make sense to citizens.

    [​IMG]
    Singapore's Yu Shuran won a gold medal for ice skating at the 2017 SEA Games on Sunday (Aug 27). (Photo: Justin Ong)

    Athletes’ funding concerns must be addressed more transparently.

    More corporates need to have faith in our sportspeople. Don’t just wait for an athlete to win a medal before putting money into his or her development.

    Poor leadership in sports associations needs to be addressed more quickly and decisively.

    Citizens must demand more from the country’s investment in sports and exact public pressure on sports associations and organisations to ensure every dollar is used effectively.

    We can also do our part in terms of exposing, encouraging and supporting our athletes and our own children who have the desire and the potential to succeed.

    This requires whole-hearted effort. Let’s either go full steam ahead or not at all.

    Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/new...-efforts-to-be-a-sporting-nation-half-9836558
     
    Master likes this.
  13. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    2018 PyeongChang

    https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/sports/2018/01/702_242451.html

    [​IMG]

    [INTERVIEW] Short track legend returns after 20 years

    Posted : 2018-01-15 12:42
    Updated : 2018-01-16 11:01


    [​IMG]
    South Korean short track legend Chun Lee-kyung, right, currently Singapore's national team coach, and Cheyenne Goh, the first ever short-track speed skater from Southeast Asia to qualify for the Winter Olympics. / Courtesy of Chun Lee-kyung

    Chun will join PyeongChang as Singapore national team coach


    By Kim Jae-kyoung

    SINGAPORE ― South Korean short track legend Chun Lee-kyung returns to the Olympics after 20 years.
    This time, she will set a new record not for South Korea but for Singapore and Southeast Asia. She will participate in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games as a coach of the one-woman Singapore national team.

    Singaporean female short-track speed skater Cheyenne Goh, coached by Chun, earned a spot in the 1,500m event for the Winter Games in early November and will race in the 1,500m scheduled for Feb 12 at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

    The 18-year-old will be the first Singaporean to compete at the Winter Games. Also, she will be the first short track speed skater to participate in the Winter Games from Southeast Asia.

    "I feel very thrilled."

    This is the very first word Chun said with a big smile in an interview held at The Rink@JCube in western Singapore on Jan. 6, two days before she left for South Korea with Goh for final preparations ahead of the Feb 9-25 Games.

    "This reminds me of old memories. I was expected to join the Olympics as a commentator but never expected to go to PyeongChang (as a coach)," she said.

    At the Audi ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating events in Shanghai in November, Goh came in second in Group 7 as her leading competitors crashed into one another. As a result, she advanced to the semi-final and is ranked 36th in the ISU ranking to luckily secure the last spot for PyeongChang.

    "It will be the first time in 20 years for me to enter an Olympic village," she added. "I am already fluttered."
    Chun was one of the most dominant short trackers. The 42-year-old won four Olympic gold medals _ two each in 1994 and 1998 ― and nine world championship titles.

    ‘Sports can boost ASEAN-Korea cooperation'


    Chun believes that Singapore's first-ever participation in the Winter Olympics will not only boost the popularity of winter sports in Southeast Asia but also provide the impetus for cooperation between Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

    "I'm glad that I'm here in Singapore at this moment. Goh's outing in PyeongChang comes at a time when President Moon Jae-in is pushing for his plan to expand cooperation with Southeast Asia," Chun said.

    During his state visit to Jakarta on Nov. 9, Moon unveiled his Southern Policy aimed at elevating Korea's relationship with the ASEAN to the level of its relations with the four major powers around the Korean peninsula.

    "Sports cannot be the main part in exchanges between nations but it can play its own role by spicing up the exchanges," she said. "So I think it would be a good idea to use sports as a catalyst for bolstering bilateral cooperation."

    In particular, the four-time Olympic champion is very upbeat on the outlook for exchanges with ASEAN nations in the short track event.

    "There is the high possibility of South Korea expanding short track exchanges with ASEAN nations as they are showing keen interest," she said.

    "There has been a short-track boom following the 2017 Southeast Asian Games (SEA) in Malaysia, and I think Goh's participation in the PyeongChang Olympics will further increase people's attention and interest in the region," she added.

    Goh earned two silvers and one bronze in the 2017 SEA Games.

    "I hope that they now realize that in short track they can compete for Olympic finals once they have proper skating rinks that allow training opportunities."

    Against a unified Korean team

    Chun said what's interesting is that currently, most of the national teams in ASEAN are headed by Korean coaches.

    "The short-track exchange is already underway but I believe that Singapore's achievement will further facilitate the exchanges because other nations might gain confidence that they can compete as Singapore did," she said. "So I expect these countries to invest more in fostering the short track event."

    Regarding the possibility of forming a unified Korean team for the PyeongChang Olympics, the 42-year-old said she is opposed to the idea.

    "I think it doesn't make sense. There is no reason why we have to try to form a unified team because it can affect our own players," she said.

    She suggested that North Korea use the International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s wild card system for participation.

    She thinks that North Korea could receive wild cards from the IOC for several events, including short track.
    "The IOC sets a quota for every event, and it allows some wild cards within the quota. Regarding the short track, I think there are two or three wild cards available," she said.

    "Since North Korea's short track team is quite good, it's possible that the North will get those wild cards."

    Q: Can you tell us about Singaporean short-track speed skater Cheyenne Goh? What is your goal in PyeongChang?

    A: Frankly speaking, chances are very low that she will advance even to the second round because she is outclassed by her competitors. But she is working very hard after she qualified because the Olympics greatly motivates her. Goh will be an underdog at the PyeongChang Games but the preliminary round shows that anything can happen.

    I believe this opportunity will make her realize how much more she needs to train, and this Olympics will be a turning point in her career because just being there may give her great experience. She used to be an ice hockey player and turned into a short track speed skater four years ago. She has power but she needs to learn more about how to use it and has to fix bad habits from ice hockey.

    Q: How do you think Goh's participation in PyeongChang will change the landscape of winter sports in Singapore and other ASEAN nations?

    A: I expect that Goh's outing in PyeongChang will make more Singaporeans and ASEAN people attracted to winter sports as well as short track skating. I believe that her qualification will be a turning point for people in this region to become keen on short track helping the sport win more support from the government.

    Q: What brought you to Singapore? How did you become the coach for Team Singapore?

    A: I came to Singapore in January, 2015 to take care of my two children who study here. One year later, I got an offer from the Singapore Ice Skating Association (SISA) to head Team Singapore after the former coach suddenly left the team. In Singapore, even national team players are trained only in the evening as the city state's education system focuses on study. That's why I accepted the offer. I work on one-year contracts but may continue to head the Singapore team as long as my children study here. I really enjoy finding and teaching young talent here.

    Q: What are your plans for the future? Do you still want to become the first female Korean IOC member?

    A: First of all, I would like to play a role in the booming winter sports in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Singapore is a rich country but its infrastructure for winter sports is still poor. There is only one ice rink that meets the international standard. What is more challenging is the high cost of training. The rental fee is around $800 per hour but it is not fully supported by the government. I hope that this PyeongChang Olympics will be a turning point for the Singaporean government to provide more support for winter sports.

    I like to teach young children who learn skating first because I like to teach basic skills. One thing I can be sure of is that I will continue to be in the sports circle. But I am not interested in coaching Korea's national team because it requires a lot of time and effort. I get easily stressed out. Since the Korean national team is the world's best, it is going to be very intense and tough.

    My motto is to "have a great dream" but I think my dream of becoming an IOC member slipped away from me when I got married. I would not say that I gave it up but it is true that it's quite away from me now. Still, I will give it a shot once I have a chance.
     
    Master likes this.
  14. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] Getty Images
    Date
    17 Feb 2018

    PyeongChang 2018
    Singapore’s Goh blazing a trail on the ice

    Cheyenne Goh will become the first Singaporean athlete to appear at the Olympic Winter Games when she competes at PyeongChang 2018. The intrepid short track speed skater is looking to do more than just make up the numbers, however, and has her eyes set firmly on winning medals.

    The 18-year-old will be Singapore’s only representative at PyeongChang 2018. Football and badminton are the number one pursuits in the south-east Asian city-state, where winter sports rarely set pulses racing.

    Goh could be about to change all that, however. The youngster moved to the chillier climes of Canada when she was four and took up her sport a few years later. She has since gone on to represent her country of birth on the international stage, competing at last year’s Asian Winter Games in Sapporo (JPN) and at the Short Track Speed Skating World Championships in Rotterdam (NED).

    Goh is entirely at ease with the idea of representing a country with no winter sports tradition whatsoever: “It’s not strange for me at all,” she said after a recent training session in Singapore.

    Short track speed skating is an indoor sport, so as long as the facilities are there, there’s no reason why you can’t do it.Cheyenne Goh Singapore

    Training in Singapore is not without its challenges, however. The nation’s only Olympic ice rink is located on the third floor of a shopping centre and is flanked by restaurants and a cinema. Goh can only train when the rink is open to the public, and even then, she has to share the ice with other speed skaters, figure skaters and an ice hockey team.

    A passion born in Canada

    Just qualifying for PyeongChang 2018 is an achievement in itself for the young skater. The hope now among the country’s sports officials is that Goh’s success will encourage more Singaporeans to take an interest in winter sports.

    [​IMG] Getty Images

    “Her qualification is a big thing for her and for us as a governing body,” said Sonja Chong, the president of the Singaporean Ice Skating Association. Goh is aware, however, that she will have a hard task achieving the same success as the swimmer Joseph Schooling, who won the nation’s first ever Olympic gold at Rio 2016.

    The trailblazing skater has nevertheless shown that she can win medals too, picking up two silvers and a bronze at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games, which saw winter sports make their very first appearance on the competition schedule.

    Chong is hopeful the youngster can prove every bit as inspirational as Schooling: “After Joseph’s gold medal a lot more people began taking an interest in swimming. We hope the same thing will happen for skating here.”

    Goh’s first taste of winter sports in Canada came through ice hockey, an integral part of life there. Her passion for short track was fired when she watched Vancouver 2010.

    Drawn to the speed of the sport and its sheer unpredictability, she began taking lessons, and now devotes all her time to her sport, having taken a year out after finishing her school studies. Dividing her time between Singapore and Canada, she also has regular training sessions with four-time Olympic champion Chun Lee-kyung in the Republic of Korea.

    Goh, who will be competing in the women’s 1,500m on 17 February, has stepped up her training to six hours a day, six days a week.

    Yet no matter how much she trains and competes, she never quite knows what to expect when she takes to the ice:

    The more competitions you do, the more experience you pick up. The thing is, you can never predict how a race is going to go, and I think that’s what makes it even more exciting.Cheyenne Goh Singapore
     
    Master likes this.
  15. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    https://www.runsociety.com/news/the-sixth-edition-of-singapore-community-games-kicks-off-today/

    The Sixth Edition of Singapore Community Games Kicks Off Today

    [​IMG]
    by Eva Natalia On Mar 11, 2018

    This year, Singapore Community Games (SCG) saw more friends and neighbours coming together to play sports and form multi-racial teams to represent their own constituency in this competition.

    [​IMG]
    Singapore Community Games (SCG) will be held across the island from 11 March until 13 May 2018. The nation-wide competition kicks off with Minister Gan Kim Yong witnessing the first rounds of the Bowling, Table Tennis and Badminton tournaments at Keat Hong CC.

    SCG 2018 features seven different sports: Basketball, Table Tennis, Bowling, Sepak Takraw, Badminton and Football, as well as the all-new Community Ultra Ekiden. This year’s Games has attracted 30% more participation from Community Sports Clubs (CSCs) and corporations as compared to 2017 and is expected to attract more than 8,000 participants and will involve over 80 constituencies.

    Singapore Community Games was introduced with the aim to bring sports to the heart of the community and connect residents of different ages and races. This year, SCG 2018 further improves the social mixing by expanding its outreach to corporations and Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs). Two of the seven sports at the Games: Bowling and Football, will be opened to corporate teams and the VWOs.

    For the first time ever, the corporate community can also raise funds for the less privileged through their participation in the Games. To date, 17 corporate sponsors have stepped forward, for example, StarHub and Pokka have pledged $20,000 each to organisations Boy’s Town and Care Corner respectively.

    [​IMG]

    StarHub representative presents a mock cheque to Boys’ Town at the launch of the Singapore Community Games 2018 at Keat Hong Community Club. To date 17 corporate sponsors have stepped forward- StarHub and Pokka have pledged $20,000 each to organisations Boys’ Town and Care Corner respectively.

    This is the first time that the corporate community can raise funds for the less privileged through their participation in the Games. Photo Credit: People's Association

    The Singapore Community Games is a great way for the community to bond through sports. It also gives our residents a reason to reach out to their neighbours of diverse backgrounds to deepen friendships and incorporate fitness into their lifestyles. This year, our badminton team includes a Team Singapore para-shuttler, Kevin Pung, who will be participating in the Games for the first time with his able-bodied neighbours, as well as families from different generations forming a team for bowling,”

    said Joseph Tan, Chairman of Punggol North Community Sports Club.
     
    Master likes this.
  16. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Doesn't miss competitive swimming, didn't like the limelight: On the Record with Joscelin Yeo
    [​IMG]
    Former national swimmer Joscelin Yeo is also Vice-President (Swimming) at the Singapore Swimming Association. (Photo: Facebook / Joscelin Yeo-Purcell)


    [​IMG]

    By Bharati Jagdish

    11 Mar 2018 06:33AM (Updated: 11 Mar 2018 05:03PM)

    SINGAPORE: Joscelin Yeo never won an Olympic gold medal but, for many years, she was the larger-than-life national swimmer whose triumphs in the pool made a nation proud long before Joseph Schooling came on to the scene.

    Her broad-shouldered swimmer’s body pushing against the water was a sight to behold especially during the years when no one else of her calibre was representing Singapore internationally.

    Ms Yeo won 40 gold medals at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in her 17-year competitive swimming career. She is the only athlete on record to have won that many SEA Games gold medals. She also represented Singapore in the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and four Olympic Games.

    Her international swimming career began at the tender age of 11, at the 1990 Asian Games.
    Just a year later, she got a rude shock.

    At her SEA Games debut in 1991 in Manila, she won two silver and three bronze medals.

    “I WAS NOT LIVING UP TO PUBLIC EXPECTATIONS”

    You would think this would be enough of an achievement for a 12-year-old. But others didn’t think so.
    “I got a bad report in the media saying that I didn’t come home with any golds," she says.

    "I was 12 and I was swimming at my first SEA Games. But because I was representing the national team, the expectation was that you come home with gold medals. So I knew I was not living up to public expectations.”

    It feels as if a dark cloud is progressively descending on the room as we further discuss the ugly side of competitive sport.

    “It was tough because I think at that point, there wasn’t a group of swimmers who were performing well that you could spread the news across. It was just me.”

    She actually quit swimming for a few months after the negative media coverage.

    “I remember very distinctly telling my mum that I just wanted to swim but if swimming came with all these bad reports and stuff that I had to deal with, with the media, I just don’t want to do it.”

    But an Australian coach, who was then a head coach in Hong Kong, brought her back from the brink of permanent retirement.

    His advice was simple.

    “He said, ‘Look, you have the chance to do something really great here. You have a talent that not a lot of people have and you just focus on that.’ For that to have come from a very reputable coach and someone I respected … I just took a leap of faith and said ‘Okay, I’ll try it'.”

    Many would agree that it’s a good thing she did. Today, in spite of having never won an Olympic medal, she is seen as one of the pioneering legends in Singapore swimming.

    Her life today is markedly different.

    She works as a counsellor at a church. It’s a job she describes as a calling.

    Her driving force is to “hopefully give people hope and light for the situation they are facing”.

    Her four children also keep her busy, but she continues to contribute to the sport as Vice-President (Swimming) at the Singapore Swimming Association.

    HER LOWEST POINT

    However, her memories of her own sporting career are bittersweet.

    The 39-year-old recalls the bitter memories with startling clarity.

    Her lowest point was at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

    “I had been swimming really well. In fact, just a few months before the Olympics, I broke a world record with my team. I got to the Olympics and I was told that I had a press conference scheduled. I was on my way to the press conference when I was told, ‘You need to make a detour and your brother needs to speak to you.’ and I’m thinking, ‘Why does my brother need to speak to me?'”

    He had bad news about her younger brother, who was involved in an accident in Singapore. The taxi he was travelling in was hit head on by another vehicle. The taxi driver was killed instantly. Her brother, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, suffered serious injuries.

    “He was all beat up, his joints were broken and dislocated and he was in a coma. My older brother and my mum, who were at the Olympics to support me had tried to keep it from me, at least till after my events but the media wouldn’t have that. They were going to ask me about that at the press conference.”

    Her family had kept it from her for a few days.

    “I couldn’t focus. I’ve always grown up protecting my younger brother and I felt that his accident was on me in some weird way. I felt that I should’ve been there to protect him and I wasn’t. The only reason I wasn’t there was because I had chosen to go to some faraway country to swim.”

    All her feelings had to be swiftly put aside though.

    “I didn’t know if I wanted to swim anymore and yet the Olympics was before me. The weight of the country was on me and everybody was expecting me to perform. But I had a struggle going through my head and my heart and I just didn't know what I wanted to do.”

    But she soldiered on.

    “I went to the press conference. They asked me and I just said, ‘Look, I don’t know. I just want to know how he’s doing.’ Also, there was no justification for me to pull out of my events, so I swam.”

    Her head wasn’t in it.

    “When it comes to race day, 90 per cent of it is mental.”

    Her brother recovered well, but she was disappointed in her performance at the Games.
    image:

    [​IMG]
    “You have goals to want to win a medal, but at the end of the day, it’s not the only thing that matters and you walk away. I gave it everything I had," says Joscelin Yeo. (Photo: Facebook / Joscelin Yeo-Purcell)

    NO OLYMPIC MEDAL

    She participated in three other Olympics – the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 2004 Athens Olympics - making her the only Singaporean to have represented Singapore four times at the Olympic Games.

    What does she think prevented her from winning a medal?

    “When I went to my first Olympics, I was 13 and I think at that time, I was sent because I was the fastest in Singapore. They sent me for exposure. At the subsequent Olympics, I was four years older, but I was not quite at the level to win a medal. I was on the cusp of making the B finals and so there was progression.

    “The Sydney Olympics in 2000 would probably have been my best chance of making the finals but because of what happened to my brother, everything just fell apart.”

    Her final Olympics in 2004 also didn’t see her succeed, in spite of the fact she gave it everything she had.

    “You have goals to want to win a medal, but at the end of the day, it’s not the only thing that matters and you walk away. I gave it everything I had. For the last four years I had poured my heart and soul into training, into preparing myself for this event and it just didn’t go my way.”

    She intended to leave competitive swimming after the 2005 SEA Games. But she did well at the Games, so she decided to continue till the 2008 Beijing Olympics. However, after the 2006 Commonwealth Games and the 2006 Asian Games, she decided it was time to stop. She did not have the motivation to carry on.

    “It’s ten times a week, three hours a session. It’s a big commitment. Do I have the drive to keep doing this? At the end of 2006, I asked myself that question and I didn’t feel that I had that drive that was necessary.”

    When asked what caused the drive to dissipate, she struggles to explain.

    “I don't know. There had been seasons in the past where I felt like I don’t want to do it and I throw my hands in the air but it always passed. This was different. This wasn’t out of frustration. There was this “settled-ness” on the inside of me and I just knew that this is it.”

    Her goal previously was to at least make it to the top five at the Olympics.

    “I MADE THE BEST OF WHAT I HAD”

    Why does she think she never made the made the mark in spite of giving it her all?

    “It’s really hard to say. When I left Singapore to go overseas, I went because there was nobody here that could coach me to a higher level and so I didn’t have the kind of resources that the athletes have now with sports science, with sports medicine, with coaching of a decent level within Singapore. I had to go search for it at a time when things in general weren't as developed as they are now. That can be tough.”

    Her search took her to Australia in 1995, and to the US from 1999. In 2001, she followed her coach when he transferred to the University of Texas at Austin.

    "There's so much involved in moving countries. You’ve got to adapt to a different way of life, to different types of food, find a way to look after yourself. I started doing that when I was 14. Not many people have to live on their own, cook their own food, do their own laundry at 14 and try to be successful in their sports and their studies. I found it tough.

    “Given where sports was in Singapore at that time, I think I made the best of what I had. Could it be different given the resources that they have now where they can start from an even younger age? Perhaps.”
     
    #276 Loh, Mar 12, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
    Master likes this.
  17. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    [​IMG]
    "Fair enough, they have to get their story in but so do I. I have to swim. If I don’t swim well there’s no story," says Joscelin Yeo about her relationship with the media. (Photo: Facebook / Joscelin Yeo-Purcell)


    A FEAR AND DISLIKE OF THE MEDIA

    As she was growing up, she also developed a reputation for being stand-offish with the media.

    She admits to being naturally shy and introverted, which made dealing with the media even harder.

    “It got the worst at the 1993 SEA Games. I was swimming ten events over five days and the time between events were very short. After each event, I would have to warm down and get ready for the next event. But the reporters wanted their story and they wanted it immediately. Unfortunately at that time, our team manager was not equipped as to how to handle the media and how to handle a swarm of media and so I was left to fend for myself.”

    Reporters chased her down at the warm-down pool.

    “I just told them that I have to get ready and I can’t do this now but they wouldn’t take no for an answer. Fair enough, they have to get their story in, but so do I. I have to swim. If I don’t swim well there’s no story.”

    She grew to have a fear and dislike of the media.

    “I got a negative report saying that I refused to talk to the media without the proper context of what had happened. I did not like talking to the media because I wasn’t sure they were going to write anything nice again.”

    I remark that much of the coverage was positive.

    “They wrote about the results, but a lot of times, they didn’t have anything good to say about my personality. I was a teenager. I was growing up. To have all that splashed in the newspaper was very tough. You’re going through that awkward stage in life. There was no buffer. There was nobody to help me. I had to deal with the media all by myself.”

    Her mother was sometimes able to act as a buffer but at major competitions, she was not allowed into certain spaces and could not help.
    However, she grew to improve her ability to face the spotlight, seeing it as a social responsibility.

    “Eventually, I came to accept the fact that it’s part of who I have to be and it’s part of who I am as a national athlete. As I matured, I learnt how to handle that as well.”

    This also explains why she doesn’t shy away from the media today.

    In fact, in spite of not naturally gravitating towards the limelight, she wrote her autobiography, On the Move: My Career, My Story, in 2004.

    “IF I HAD A CHOICE, I WOULD RUN AWAY”

    But what she says next implies that in spite of maturing enough to deal with the limelight, her preference is still to shy away from it.

    “Having time away from Singapore also allowed me to grow up without being under a constant spotlight and that helped me a lot.”
    I remark she must have enjoyed the limelight at times, especially the thousands of adoring fans.

    “Not really. It’s not really my thing. While I really appreciate the support from the fans, it doesn’t determine my self-worth and so I think while it’s nice, it’s not going to change who I am. I just accepted it as part of my social responsibility. But if I had a choice, I would run away.”

    [​IMG]
    Joscelin Yeo with fellow national swimmers. (Photo: Facebook / Joscelin Yeo-Purcell)

    “I DON’T THINK I MISS ANYTHING”

    We’ve established she doesn’t miss the limelight, but what she tells me next is even more surprising.
    She doesn’t miss anything about competitive swimming.

    Just to be sure, I ask her the question again.

    “I really don't think I miss anything. I don’t miss waking up at 4:30 in the morning. Never been a morning person. I don’t miss that rigour."
    If she doesn’t miss competitive swimming, nor the limelight that came with it, why then did she push herself so hard back then?

    “Because I loved the sport. I enjoyed competition, I enjoyed the challenge. I wanted to be the best that I could be. I wanted to see how far I could go, but I don’t really miss anything about it. The adrenaline was fun but I have other opportunities now to get my adrenaline going.”

    She’s referring to CrossFit training and her four kids, who she takes swimming from time to time.

    It makes me wonder if she would have done something else with her life if given a choice.

    “No, I chose swimming. My parents exposed me to a lot of things – piano, violin lessons and a lot of sports, but I chose swimming. I just loved the feel of the water. I made the choices to want to go overseas to get better. I made the choice to leave my family and to pursue my sporting career.

    “Looking back, I would have chosen it again. There are many things that came out of my time in sports, such as learning how to deal with failure. It sounds simple but there are a lot of people in life who don’t know how to deal with failure. There are a lot of people who don’t know how to persevere through something. Sports has taught me that.”
     
    Master likes this.
  18. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    A FATHER IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW AND LOSING HER MOTHER

    Public scrutiny followed her even after she retired from swimming.

    In 2011, it was reported that her father was sentenced to jail and fined for running a loan shark racket.

    “He made his mistakes and he served his time. My father is an adult. I don’t feel that I need to speak for his actions, so that’s all I have to say about that.”

    She and her father are very much in touch, she says.

    But her mother who supported her throughout her career, died as a result of a brain tumour in 2009.

    “She went for an operation but they couldn’t remove the entire tumour. So she went for chemo. But she lived a lot longer than the doctor said she would. They told us she’s got two months left. But she went on for another two and a half years. So we were really grateful for that.”

    Watching her health deteriorate was painful.

    “It was tough seeing my mum, who’s an amazing and strong lady who would run interference for me and do all that, be in a place where she was so immobile.”

    Her mother was a powerful influence.

    “She was a very strong independent lady. I think she’s somebody who always believed if you want to do something, then go all out. She also showed me the strength of a mother’s love and you can love your child through even their worst moments.”

    When Ms Yeo retired she didn’t have a plan but when someone at her church approached her about a counsellor job, “it clicked on the inside.”

    “One of my other passions was being able to impact young people and this job allowed that.”
    :
    [​IMG]
    Joscelin Yeo (third from right) with the rest of the executive committee of the Singapore Swimming Association. (Photo: Facebook / Joscelin Yeo-Purcell)

    MONEY FOR SPORTS

    Her job as Vice-President (Swimming) at the Singapore Swimming Association also keeps her very in touch with young people in competitive swimming and the challenges associated with it today.

    She says that during her career, she felt blessed to have the support of the Singapore Sports Council, now known as SportSG.

    “When I chose to go overseas, they supported my training expenses. Not 100 per cent, but they covered quite a bit of it. I was one of the first few whom they poured so much support into. I’m thankful that my parents were able to supplement that. It was just survival. I wasn’t making money or building up savings, but it was enough.”

    She had an apparel sponsor back then, but that was short-lived. She claims that today, more corporates are willing to invest in athletes, but this still requires some convincing.

    “These days we are able to use data to track where an athlete is going, how he’s doing. We can use many data points over a period of time, even if they haven’t won medals to make a case for athletes.”
    In fact, the spexScholarship is also given on the basis of such data points.

    "They don’t just step in later but they currently they look at people who have the potential."
    However, she thinks sources of funds need to be varied.

    “If you’re only relying on the government, that’s only one source. How much do you expect it to grow? We need to find other sources. There is something about being invested to succeed and not just having everything handed to you.”

    The Singapore Swimming Association has a team in place to raise additional funds. Inevitably, Joseph Schooling comes up.

    “Sometimes when people make comments, they don’t have the whole picture. It’s not that we have not been supporting Joseph. If you look back at the records, the Government has been supporting him. But not 100 per cent. Joseph went overseas and of course, expenses overseas are also higher. It’s a chicken and egg thing. You put your money in those who show the most potential and more after they reach a certain level.

    Yet athletes need that support to be able to get better. Until he was winning at that level, the government, I think, supported him appropriately. His parents might disagree.”

    “The corporates have even higher expectations. Companies want to see results before they invest in somebody.”

    Ms Yeo was also a Nominated Member of Parliament from 2009 to 2011 and one of the issues she spoke against was the Foreign Sports Talent Scheme. She stands by her views.

    “I think that it’s good to bring in foreigners for purposes of sparring. But at the end of the day, they should help to raise the standards here. The purpose has to be clear. I think it’s important that that knowledge is transferred to the local people.”

    The foreigners who work at the Swimming Association’s secretariat and the foreign coaches, she claims, are doing just that.

    During her two and a half years as NMP, she made only seven speeches. This was highlighted by some media organisations at the time.

    “It was not an easy time. A lot goes into preparation. I was just starting out working and I found it challenging to juggle both. But I have to say I had many backroom conversations with MPs that were not necessarily recorded. These helped me bring forth the views on sports too.”

    “GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY WHAT SPORTS HAS GIVEN YOU”

    We end on an uplifting note. Her vision for Singapore sports is very much tied to what she herself would like to be remembered for.

    “Just like how my mum had impacted many people, I want to be remembered as somebody who was able to give back and impact the swimming scene while I could.”

    She would like to see generations of sportspeople who are “not self-centered” but those who “understand that they can make an impact on society”.

    “If you’ve learnt how to really persevere through something, talk to kids who are down and out and share with them how you push through when you don’t see success, how you find a way to succeed.

    Give back to the community what sports has given you.”

    Source: CNA
    Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/new...ormer-national-swimmer-on-the-record-10028882
     
    Master likes this.
  19. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Bowling: Jonovan Neo, 21, wins first international title at Dubai Open

    [​IMG]
    Runner-up Muhd Jaris Goh (left) and champion Jonovan Neo, both of Singapore, with their trophies.PHOTO: SINGAPORE BOWLING FEDERATION

    Published
    9 hours ago

    Neo, 21, breaks his international duck by overcoming Goh, 22, in stepladder final

    Shamir Osman
    Correspondent
    shamiro@sph.com.sg

    On Singapore Bowling Federation's (SBF) website, Jonovan Neo cites the first time he bowled a perfect game as the most memorable moment in his young career.

    The 21-year-old achieved a new high on Saturday after winning his first international title at the Dubai International Bowling Centre (DIBC) Open in the United Arab Emirates.

    "I've been in the national team for six years, and I've spent a long time trying to win my first international tournament," Neo told The Straits Times in a phone interview yesterday before returning to Singapore.

    "To finally do it feels absolutely fantastic - now my aim is to get another win this year."

    In the stepladder final, Neo lost the first game 234-258 pinfalls to compatriot Muhd Jaris Goh, 22, but won the second game 248-201 to take the winner's cheque of 25,000 dirhams (S$8,973).

    Runner-up Goh received 12,000 dirhams while the UAE's Khamis Al Shamsi took home 8,000 dirhams after finishing third.

    Goh also finished second at the H.H. Emir Cup two weeks ago in Doha behind another Singaporean, Basil Ng, who also won his first international title.

    The main assignment for the Republic's bowlers is the Asian Games in Indonesia from Aug 18-Sept 2.

    "I already got two second-place finishes, but I cannot assume that I will make the squad. Everyone is pushing his limits to get into that six-man team for the Asian Games," said Goh.

    It was a point well proven in Doha and Dubai. In Neo and Ng, Singapore now have two first-time international winners.

    And the quality of the male bowlers is evident after Joel Tan (fifth), Darren Ong (seventh) and Timothy Tham (ninth) finished inside the top 10 of an 89-strong field.

    Singapore assistant coach Helmi Chew declined to reveal details of the SBF's selection process for the Asian Games.

    But he has faith in the quality of the male bowlers, who won the SEA Games team gold in Kuala Lumpur last year.

    "The training squad (for the Asian Games) has not been announced yet, but I'm very pleased with the performances here in Dubai," said Chew.

    "It is a bonus that good performances have turned into good results.

    "But what I want to see from the bowlers is that they continue to focus on the process, because that will eventually bring results."
     
    Master likes this.
  20. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,659
    Likes Received:
    877
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Swimming: Nur Marina Chan ends four-year lean spell by qualifying for Asiad 50m free

    [​IMG]
    Nur Marina Chan, seen competing in the 4x100m medley relay, beat the Asiad qualifying time (25.72sec) in the 50m free yesterday with 25.66sec, behind Amanda Lim who matched her SEA Games record (25.41sec).ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

    Published
    9 hours ago
    Updated
    1 hour ago

    Chan qualifies for 50m free at Asiad after lean spell; Pang also meets 'A' mark for 200m IM

    Shamir Osman
    Correspondent
    shamiro@sph.com.sg

    The race was over and, having waded across to the side of the competition pool at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, Nur Marina Chan pushed herself up and out of the water.

    The beaming smile she wore as she emerged lit up the entire venue.

    Chan clocked 25.66sec in the 50m freestyle at the Liberty Insurance 49th Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships (Snag) yesterday, ending her time in swimming's wilderness.

    Even though the 21-year-old finished second, she earned the right to represent Singapore at the Aug 18-Sept 2 Asian Games in Indonesia by beating the qualifying mark of 25.72.

    Chan could not wipe that smile off her face, even as she walked aimlessly around the pool deck with her hands on her head.

    "The main reason I showed such a reaction was that it has been four years since I hit personal-best times. Last year, I didn't even make the SEA Games team," she said of her unbridled joy.

    "This week has been a roller-coaster of emotions. After so many years of trying, when I hit the wall (at the end of the 50m free) and I saw the time, I thought, 'Oh my God'.

    "It was joy - I still had to double check the numbers - but it was joy."

    The winner of the 50m free race was Amanda Lim, who also had to overcome struggles of her own.

    Food poisoning and a fever blighted the 25-year-old, whose time of 25.41 matched her SEA Games record set when she won her fifth consecutive gold medal in the event at the biennial Games in Kuala Lumpur last year.

    "I want to go faster, but this week has just been bad for me," Lim said of her ailments.

    "In a 50m race, everything has to come together - I cannot make a mistake - and to do the exact same time as I did last year, it is pretty impressive."

    Pang Sheng Jun's 2min 2.12sec in the men's 200m individual medley also met the "A" qualifying time of 2:02.80, meaning he will join Chan and Lim at the Asiad, subject to official approval.

    The trio acknowledged that more work will be needed before the Indonesia Games, but Chan wanted to take a moment to appreciate her milestone.

    "Stephan (Widmer, national head coach and performance director of the Singapore Swimming Association) came in last year and he's been a massive help to me," she said, while also extending her gratitude to her supportive parents.

    "He's highlighted the things that I'm not good at, and we've worked hard on so many things, and I think I've improved on my weaknesses.

    "Right now I just want to soak up this feeling and take it all in.

    "We've had to train hard to get here, and results like these are the motivation that really keeps you going and helps you to train harder."

    The meet came to a close last night, with Ephraim Tan and Ashley Lim named the Most Valuable Swimmers among the 13-14 year-olds.

    Zachary Ian Tan and Gan Ching Hwee were picked as the best of the 15-17 year-olds.

    Correction note: This story has been edited for clarity.

    A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2018, with the headline 'A high after a 4-year low'
     
    Master likes this.

Share This Page