WEEKLY ROUND-UP: Sports happenings in Singapore (18-24 Apr)

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·Editorial Team
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Tampines Rovers' striker Boris Kopitovic (right) celebrates after scoring a stoppage-time winner in their 3-2 win over the Young Lions in the Singapore Premier League. (PHOTO: Singapore Premier League)
Tampines Rovers' striker Boris Kopitovic (right) celebrates after scoring a stoppage-time winner in their 3-2 win over the Young Lions in the Singapore Premier League. (PHOTO: Singapore Premier League)

SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (18 to 24 April):

Tampines Rovers climb to 2nd spot with thrilling comeback win

Tampines Rovers climbed to second spot in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) in dramatic fashion, coming back from 0-2 to clinch a 3-2 victory over bottom-placed Young Lions with a stoppage-time winner at Our Tampines Hub on Wednesday (20 April).

Striker Boris Kopitovic was the toast of the Stags, as the Montenegrin scored their first goal in the 56th minute to spark their comeback, and then netted the 92nd-minute free-kick that sealed the victory. In between, Shuya Yamashita grabbed Tampines' second goal in the 82nd minute.

The unfortunate Young Lions had taken a 2-0 lead through Zikos Chua (1st minute) and Jordan Emaviwe (22nd), but lost captain Jacob Mahler through a serious knee injury just before half-time.

Tampines have 12 points from seven matches, four points behind SPL leaders Lion City Sailors but ahead of third-placed Tanjong Pagar United on goal difference. The Young Lions remain rooted at the foot of the table with three points, two behind seventh-placed Geylang International.

Basketballers finish 5th at Pre-SEA Games Challenge

The Singapore national men's basketball team finished fifth in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Pre-SEA Games Challenge, held in Bali from Tuesday to Thursday (19 to 21 April).

They defeated Philippine side Misor Mustangs 95-54 at the Liga Bali Arena in the 5th/6th place playoff, thanks to 17 points from Lim Jun Yuan. In the opening group stage, Singapore defeated Philippine side Zamboanga Valientes 92-76, but lost to home side Louvre Indonesia 68-83 and the Vietnam national team 66-70.

Before the Pre-SEA Games Challenge, the ABL hosted the 3×3 International Champions Cup in Bali on 16 and 17 April. The Singapore Slingers made it to the quarter-final stage, but narrowly lost to the Indonesian Patriots 15-17.

They had advanced after finishing third in their opening pool, beating Louvre Indonesia 17-11, but losing to Vietnam Red and Gold 14-21 and Ahmedabad 3BL 16-21.

Irfan and Ikhsan Fandi in provisional SEA Games squad

The Fandi brothers Irfan and Ikhsan have been selected as part of a provisional 26-player men's national U-23 team for next month's SEA Games in Hanoi. However, their younger brother Ilhan missed out on a spot after suffering an injury with the Young Lions in the Singapore Premier League.

Besides 24-year-old Irfan, coach Nazri Nasir has also selected three other overaged players for the provisional squad: goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam (34 years old) and midfielders Hami Syahin (23) and Zulfahmi Arifin (30).

The squad will be trimmed to 20 players after a centralised training camp which starts on Monday (25 April). At the SEA Games, the Young Lions will face Laos (7 May), Thailand (9 May), Cambodia (11 May) and Malaysia (14 May) in Group B of the men's football competition.

Meanwhile, the national women's team coach Stephen Ng has picked 27 players in his provisional squad for the SEA Games. They will embark on an eight-day training camp in Chonburi, Thailand, before the squad is trimmed to 20 players. The Lionesses will play Thailand (10 May), Laos (13 May) and Myanmar (15 May) in Group B of the women's football competition.

Provisional SEA Games men's team - goalkeepers: Ridhwan Fikri, Riki Kimura, Zaiful Nizam. Defenders: Harith Kanadi, Irfan Fandi, Irfan Najeeb, Jordan Emaviwe, Nur Adam Abdullah, Ryaan Sanizal, Ryhan Stewart, Syabil Hisham. Midfielders: Arshad Shamin, Danish Qayyum, Hami Syahin, Harhys Stewart, Jared Gallagher, Joel Chew, Rezza Rezky, Saifullah Akbar, Shah Shahiran, Zulfahmi Arifin. Forwards: Ikhsan Fandi, Glenn Kweh, Zikos Chua, Khairin Nadim, Nicky Melvin Singh.

Provisional SEA Games women's team - goalkeepers: Hazel Lim, Noor Kusumawati Rosman, Beatrice Tan. Defenders: Fatin Aqillah Ridzwan, Khairunnisa Khairol Anwar, Nadhra Aqilah Saiful, Nur Syafiqah Peer, Nur Syazwani Ruzi, Nur Umairah Hamdan, Nurhidayu Naszri, Siti Nurerwadah Erwan, Siti Rosnani Azman. Midfielders: Dorcas Chu, Ernie Sulastri Sontaril, Ho Hui Xin, Venetia Lim, Mastura Jeilani, Nur Afiqah Omar, Nur Farhanah Ruhaizat, Nur Izzati Rosni, Putri Syaliza Sazali. Forwards: Clara Lau, Danielle Tan, Dhaniyah Qasimah Zamri Abdullah, Nicole Lim, Nur Raudhah Khamis, Stephanie Dominguez.

Ilhan Fandi signs professional contract with Albirex

National Under-23 forward Ilhan Fandi has signed his first professional contract with Singapore Premier League (SPL) side Albirex Niigata (Singapore), joining the White Swans from the Young Lions until the end of the current season.

The 19-year-old, who is the third son of Singapore great Fandi Ahmad, made his SPL debut in 2019 and has scored 13 goals in 33 matches, a better strike rate than his elder brothers Irfan (eight in 43) and Ikhsan (eight in 34), both of whom are now playing for Thai side BG Pathum United.

Ilhan is recovering from an ankle injury, which has forced him to miss out on representing Singapore at next month's SEA Games in Hanoi.

Team Singapore at the Men's World Floorball Championship last year. (PHOTO: International Floorball Federation)
Team Singapore at the Men's World Floorball Championship last year. (PHOTO: International Floorball Federation)

Singapore to host 2 international floorball tournaments

Singapore will be hosting two international floorball tournaments at the OCBC Arena: the Women's Asia Oceania Floorball Confederation (AOFC) Cup from 23 to 28 May, and the Men's World Floorball Championship qualifiers from 31 May to 4 June.

The second edition of the Women’s AOFC Cup will feature six teams: defending champions Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and a Singapore Under-19 side. The first edition was also hosted by Singapore in 2018, and the national women’s team clinched the title with a 4-1 win over Thailand.

Eight teams will compete in the Men's World Floorball Championship qualifiers for a place in the main competition in Switzerland. The teams are: Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Japan, Malaysia and Australia.

The two competitions will also kickstart the inaugural Singapore Floorball Series, launched to regularly bring top floorball action to the community.

Suhaimi Amran appointed national rugby head coach

The Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) has appointed Suhaimi Amran as the national head coach, in a four-year deal that has him overseeing coaching across all teams.

The 34-year-old - who is the son of the late national captain Amran Mohammad - had been the interim coach since November last year, and has led the men's national sevens team to a second-place finish at the Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy challenge series in Thailand earlier this month. The result earned them a spot at September's Hangzhou Asian Games.

"With this responsibility, I know that the demands, and the expectations will be even greater, but I relish the challenge," he told The Straits Times.

STCRC brings back Interclub Show series after 2-year hiatus

The Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre (STCRC) is bringing back its STCRC Interclub Show equestrian competitions after a two-year hiatus, with over 300 entries expected from Singapore's horse-riding clubs and centres competing in dressage and show jumping disciplines over a three-part series.

To kick things off, the STCRC will host the Aprílios/Máios Dressage Show on 30 April and the Aprílios/Máios Jumping Show on 28 May, the first of the three-part series. This will be followed by the Interclub Októvrios Show in October and the Interclub Dekémvrios Show in December.

The upcoming Aprílios/Máios Dressage Show will feature a dressage freestyle event from Preliminary to FEI Intermediate 1 classes of the competition, a first for interclub shows in Singapore.

'Road to UFC' opening round to be held on 9 and 10 June

Top mixed martial arts (MMA) company UFC announced on Friday (22 April) the "Road to UFC" tournament for top Asian prospects to earn a UFC contract, with the opening round to take place on 9 and 10 June at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, ahead of the "UFC 275: Teixeira vs Prochazka" pay-per-view event.

The tournament will feature eight mixed martial arts athletes competing in each of four men’s weight classes: flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight and lightweight. The semi-finals and finals are scheduled for later this year, and a UFC contract will be awarded to each of the four divisions' winners.

Participants are expected to come from Japan, Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, India, and from the UFC Academy in China. There will also be one non-tournament bout on each card, for a total of five bouts on each event.

Admission is free and tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting in May. Additionally, the purchase of any VIP package for the pay-per-view event will include a reserved seat for both days of the tournament. Fans can stay up to date on ROAD TO UFC and receive priority ticket access by registering here.

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