Singapore Sports Scene

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

  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Besides softball, SEA Games champion Aloysius Ong shines in A levels
    Besides softball, SEA Games champion Aloysius Ong shines in A levels, Sport News & Top Stories - The Straits Times
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    National softballer Aloysius Ong scored five As and a C for his A levels.PHOTO: WORLD BASEBALL SOFTBALL CONFEDERATION
    Kimberly Kwek and Laura Chia
    • PUBLISHED
      FEB 19, 2021, 9:18 PM SGT

    SINGAPORE - There were times when national softballer Aloysius Ong questioned his decision to defer his studies for a year to focus on softball in 2019.

    Watching his peers graduate before he did while he poured his time into softball to prepare for the 2019 SEA Games was tough and there were also those who doubted his decision to take a year off for his sport.

    In the year away from school, he also spent more than $15,000 on about nine team and self-initiated overseas trips to compete and train.

    But the pitcher's sacrifice bore fruit as he helped the national team secure a historic SEA Games gold medal.

    After the stellar year in sport, Ong channelled his focus to his studies, and looking back, the Hwa Chong Institution student, who received his GCE A-level results on Friday (Feb 19) and scored five As and a C, has no regrets.

    Ong, who hopes to read medicine in university, said: "The perception that people have towards sport is like, 'Why did you do it? Sport isn't going to bring you anywhere.'

    "At the back of people's heads, there will be some questions like if softball is really worth of a year of your life, but I'm glad I stuck to my decision and it paid off."

    National para-swimmer Wong Zhi Wei was another athlete who overcame a difficult time to do well at the A levels.

    In October 2019, his world came crashing down around him when he received news that he had been diagnosed with Stage 5 chronic kidney disease.

    Before that, Wong, who has visual impairment, had also been struggling with his performances in the pool, and the diagnosis was a double whammy.

    The 18-year-old said: "I really tried to push myself and I felt I could better myself but I wasn't able to break my personal best so it was already quite saddening. What made it worse was the diagnosis - that was the lowest point for me.

    "It was very devastating because I couldn't pursue swimming. I felt it was a real tragedy because I couldn't do the things my friends could do and I felt somewhat nihilistic like, 'What's the point of taking A levels if my life is going to be like this?'"

    But that changed when he underwent a kidney transplant in January last year. He flew to China for the procedure and even though it kept him out of school for three months, it was a turning point.

    As he could not return to the pool immediately after the kidney transplant, he decided to treat his A levels like a competition.

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    During his time away from school, the Eunoia Junior College student asked his teachers to send him worksheets and tried to catch up on things that he had fallen behind on.

    This time, instead of a medal at the end of the competition, it was a result sheet with five As and a B.

    "(After the transplant), I really felt like my body had restarted, I felt really empowered," said Wong, who is looking at pursuing a politics or economics-related degree.

    "I feel really happy with my results. For me, there's a sense of relief and accomplishment because I was able to bounce back from the hardships I had to deal with in the previous two years."

    National sailor Lee Wonn Kye and national artistic swimmer Vivien Tai, both Raffles Institution students, were also among those who performed well at the A levels.

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    National sailor Lee Wonn Kye scored six As for his A levels. ST PHOTO: YONG LI XUAN

    Like most athletes, last year was an unusually quiet one for Lee.

    The 18-year-old, who scored six As, said: "It definitely wasn't the same. Last year, when I was training without knowing when the next competition would be, it felt hard to find motivation when every week you're going through the same processes.

    "I'm really happy right now, it feels quite satisfying to do as well as I have after what happened last year with the pandemic and studying through all that."

    Tai had stepped down from the national team while she was in Year 5 and 6 to focus on her studies, but was still juggling water polo training in school and artistic swimming sessions at her club with her academics.

    Despite this, Tai, who competed in the 2017 SEA Games and 2018 Asian Games, scored five As and a B.

    The 19-year-old said: "I'm pretty satisfied with it because I wasn't expecting to get these results."
     
  2. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Floorball: Singapore to host the Women's World Championship in 2023
    Floorball: Singapore to host the Women's World Championship in 2023, Sport News & Top Stories - The Straits Times
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    The 2023 tournament will be only the second time that the biennial Women's WFC is held outside of Europe.PHOTO: MICHAEL PETER/IFF
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    Kimberly Kwek

    • PUBLISHED
      FEB 23, 2021, 7:10 PM SGT

    SINGAPORE - The International Floorball Federation (IFF) Women's World Floorball Championship (WFC) will return to Singapore in 2023, nearly two decades after the Republic last hosted the event in 2005.

    The 2023 tournament will be only the second time that the biennial Women's WFC is held outside of Europe.

    The upcoming event will see entries from 16 countries, including world No. 14 Singapore, which has qualified directly as the tournament's host, and will involve at least 500 participants.

    It will be held at the OCBC Arena and Singapore Indoor Stadium at the end of November or early December that year.

    In the 2005 WFC, Singapore came in 11th out of 17 teams in the two-division tournament.

    The successful bid marks the latest high for the sport here. At the 2019 WFC in Neuchatel, Switzerland, the national women's team achieved their best-ever finish of 12th since the tournament switched to a one-division format in 2011.

    That feat was achieved shortly after they retained their gold medal at the 2019 SEA Games, following a 3-2 win over Thailand in the final.

    Singapore Floorball Association (SFA) president Kenneth Ho hopes that hosting the WFC in 2023 will enable the women's team to build on their recent successes, saying: "This (their performance at the 2019 WFC) has a brought a great belief to our teams, (knowing) that they have the skills and capability to compete at the highest stage.

    "And hopefully, with a strong support from our local fans from the stands, it might spur our team on to reach even greater heights."

    He also believes that having the Women's WFC here will act as a springboard to developing the local and regional women's floorball scene, adding: "We are looking forward to deliver the best World Floorball Championship in Singapore, one that will elevate the women's game and inspire women and girls around the Asia-Pacific region.

    "It will be a catalyst for ensuring the development of women's floorball continues in the Asia-Pacific region and globally."

    National women’s team captain Michelle Lok believes that holding the Women’s WFC here will bring greater recognition to floorball in Singapore.

    The 26-year-old said: “Hosting the Women’s World Floorball Championship would put Singapore in the spotlight in the floorball world as it’s a very popular sport in European countries.

    “The event would be a huge and fantastic exposure for the floorball community here, especially for the younger ones. The youth would be inspired and motivated to work harder and hopefully strive to also be on the world stage one day, and hopefully up the standards of Singapore floorball.”

    Interest in the sport has also grown in recent years, with the number of divisions in the men's and women's competitions of the ActiveSG SFA League increasing from three and two respectively in 2010 to six and three.

    Singapore had also hoped to stage the 2024 Men's World Floorball Championship, but hosting rights for that year's tournament have been awarded to Sweden.
     
  3. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    While there may be emotional and sentimental reasons to support football, is it really worth it?
    While there may be emotional and sentimental reasons to support football, is it really worth it? - The Online Citizen Asia

    Former sports correspondent Jose Raymond raises crucial questions regarding the State's push to qualify for World Cup 2034
    by kathleen
    23/02/2021
    in Current Affairs, Sports

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    There is much to ask of the people in charge of charting the future of football in Singapore when it comes to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) target of the national team qualifying for the World Cup in 2034—a target dubbed GOAL 2034.

    This was said by former sports correspondent for TODAY, Jose Raymond on Sunday (21 February) when he addressed the country’s goal to qualify for the biggest international sporting event in football in a Facebook post.

    The former politician from Singapore People’s Party recounted roughly two decades of Singapore football history, starting with the remark by former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in 1998 who said, “Maybe if we change our immigration criteria to bring in top football talent and make them citizens, then one day we too can get into the (World Cup) finals.”

    Mr Raymond went on to recount the journey of the Singapore national football team, known as The Lions, over the years including how the team has yet to secure gold at smaller events such as the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).

    Mr Raymond noted, “Latching on to how France had lifted the World Cup in 1998 through a team made up of immigrants and sons of immigrants, Singapore’s Number 1 [PM Goh] then made a case which then gave birth to Goal 2010, Singapore at the World Cup project.

    “It was also a way for the Government to have Singaporeans embrace foreigners in our midst, and for them to help us win football’s greatest prize.”

    However, this lofty goal would end up being a bitter disappointment as The Lions failed to secure medals in the SEA Games, or make it to the semi-finals of the regional Tiger Cup tournaments after winning in 1998, let alone qualify for the World Cup.

    Around 2004 after the national team saw a change in management and the change of FAS presidents, “The Goal 2010 project was dropped like a tonne of bricks,” wrote Mr Raymond.

    In place of that, however, the FAS then came up with a ‘Roadmap’ for Singapore football, which included goals of becoming the top ranked football nation in ASEAN, among the top 10 in Asia and qualify for the Asian Cup by 2009.

    While there were some bright spots—such as winning the ASEAN championship twice in 2004/2005 and again in 2007—the Lions did not make it to the Asian Cup nor ranked in the top 10 in Asia.

    Though the team, under Serbian manager Radojo Avramovic, did make it to the third round of the 2010 World Cup Qualifiers, it still did not win the gold at the SEA Games. PM Goh’s vision was still close but unattainable.

    After Avramovic left, the team was led by Bernd Stange and technical director Michel Sablon.

    However, as Mr Raymond described, “Both left with nothing much to show except for the fact that Singapore football had sunken far deeper into the football abyss, despite Sablon having proclaimed in 2015 that Singapore would be like Japan by 2020.”

    Not only did the national team not perform well on the international stage, the youth team—dubbed the Young Lions—“get smashed regularly at regional competitions as well”, said Mr Raymond.

    “So when the people in charge suddenly put together a project, which apparently is aiming for Singapore to qualify for the World Cup in 2034, don’t mind us for showing little belief or faith that the vision will materialise into anything but heartache and worse, a waste of financial resources,” he chided.

    What does the data say about the status of local football?
    Mr Raymond goes on to ask about the state of local football in Singapore, including hard data on how many people follow the sport. He noted that Sports Singapore data shows that running, swimming, and cycling all rank higher on the Sports Participating Index as compared to football.

    He asked, “Does Singapore football still command the same feverish following as it did in the past?”

    Mr Raymond suggested commissioning a study to elicit responses from a wide spectrum of society.

    Beyond just spectator interest, he also asked about the level of resources and effort put into encouraging football at the school levels.

    “How many schools in Singapore offer football as a sport? What happened to the School Football Academies project which was announced by the FAS in 2017?” he wrote.

    “Do parents believe that their children will have a decent future in football as a career in Singapore and what will it take to have them do so?”

    On this note, Mr Raymond also suggested that a study be conducted among parents who have children involved local football and those who don’t to find out their thoughts on the matter.

    At the FAS level, Mr Raymond asked if the Association has done enough on its own to “gather corporate support, build on the sport in Singapore over the last 20 years?”

    He also asked, “How has the current management team fared based on its own manifesto released during the 2017 elections for office bearers? What has been current technical director Joseph Palatsides’ contribution to Singapore’s football since arriving in May 2019 and what has he done to awake Singapore, the “sleeping football giant?”

    Mr Raymond added, “Has the FAS explained what led to the failure of Goal 2010, the subsequent Roadmap, the national ambition to win the SEA Games gold in 2015 in Singapore and its current state of performance malaise?”

    On top of that, Mr Raymond also raised questions in terms of government investment in the sport, asking “Is football worthy of the taxpayers’ contributions?”

    He called on the government to reveal how much the GOAL 2034 project would cost taxpayers and also investing more in and developing other sports that Singapore might excel in instead of football.

    This is a sentiment voiced by many netizens when Culture, Community, and Youth Minister Edwin Tong spoke on Singapore’s effort to qualify for the 2034 World Cup. Back in 2019 when Mr Tong was the vice president of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), he had revealed the ambitious plan to qualify for the biggest international football event.

    Should the State remain steadfast in its goal to qualify for the 2034 World Cup, Mr Raymond asked who would lead such a project which involves multiple ministries— Ministry of Education, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs while being led by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

    Mr Raymond concluded that while Singapore may have the interest to channel into achieving such a goal, it might not have the wealth or even the size.

    Though he did concede that much smaller nations have made it to the World Cup including Uruguay with 3.4 million population, Trinidad and Tobago with 1.4 million, Northern Ireland with 1.9 million and Iceland with only 356,000.

    Still, Mr Raymond warned; “While it is fortuitous that Singapore now has people like billionaire Forrest Li of Sea Group and Shopee fame who is willing to pour his money into helping steer local football, Forrest Li alone is not a sustainable solution to the failed society-driven Singapore Premier League club model, where some clubs are still known to pay players peanuts as former international Faritz Hameed recently highlighted in a podcast.”

    He concluded, “There are lots of emotional and sentimental reasons to support football, but let’s look at data, logic, facts and the track record and history of the sport instead.”

    “Because as of today, Singapore has not won the SEA Games football gold medal despite having tried since 1959.”
     
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