WEEKLY ROUND-UP: Sports happenings in Singapore (23-29 May)

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Singapore national women's footballer Putri Syaliza Sazali attempting a shot.
Singapore national women's footballer Putri Syaliza Sazali. (PHOTO: Football Association of Singapore)

SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (23 to 29 May):

First Lioness to feature in Thai Women's League

Putri Syaliza Sazali is set to become the first Singaporean women's footballer to feature in the Thai Women's League 1 (TWL1), after signing up to play for Chonburi Women's Football Club for the remaining matches of the season.

The 19-year-old impressed Chonburi head coach Kritsada Phungmali when the Lionesses played a closed-door practice match against the Thai club last month, during their overseas training camp for the SEA Games.

Putri, who has 11 caps, will play in the second round of the TWL1, which began on Saturday (28 May) against BRU Burirat Academy. Chonburi, who were runners-up last season, are currently third in the eight-team table with 13 points.

"I had a week's training stint in Chonburi back in early 2020 and I have seen how fast-paced it is, but I am confident that I am going to have a great month and learn a lot from it,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Deloitte Women's Premier League season kicked off on Saturday (28 May) at Yishun Stadium, where Tanjong Pagar United defeated Albirex Niigata (Singapore) 2-1 and Tiong Bahru drew 0-0 with Balestier Khalsa. On Sunday, Hougang vs Still Aerion.

67 Team Singapore athletes for Commonwealth Games

Paddler Feng Tianwei was the notable inclusion among 67 Team Singapore athletes selected by the Commonwealth Games Singapore (CGS) to take in nine sports in the Commonwealth Games, to be held from 28 July to 3 August in Birmingham.

Feng, who missed out on the recent Hanoi SEA Games as she was recovering from the effects of her COVID-19 booster shot, will bolster the national table tennis team, who had won 22 out of the 40 golds on offer at the Commonwealth Games since 2002.

The Singapore National Olympic Council shared that the athlete quota had been set by the Commonwealth Games Federation on a hybrid model based on two types of allocation - qualification and open.

As such, 16 athletes in four sports - para-powerlifting, para-swimming, table tennis and weightlifting - were selected based on the qualification allocation while 51 athletes from athletics, badminton, gymnastics, lawn bowls, swimming and wrestling were selected through the open allocation.

World No.1 Viktor Axelsen to compete in Singapore Badminton Open

Badminton men's singles world No.1 Viktor Axelsen and newly-crowned SEA Games champions Kunlavut Vitidsarn and Pornpawee Chochuwong are the latest stars to put their names down for the Singapore Badminton Open from 12 to 17 July.

Axelsen has had a stellar 2021, winning the Tokyo Olympics men's singles gold medal and becoming the first singles player to win all three World Tour Super 1000 titles in a single season. The Dane has yet to taste victory in Singapore, and will face stiff competition from an in-form Vitidsarn, who defeated Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew in the SEA Games final.

Badminton fans can enjoy early-bird ticket rates until Tuesday (31 May). General sales will begin on Wednesday.

Albirex thrash Geylang 8-2 in biggest SPL win of season

Albirex Niigata (Singapore) recorded the biggest win of the Singapore Premier League (SPL) season on Friday, when they thrashed Geylang International 8-2 at the Jurong East Stadium.

Goals from Kodai Tanaka (11th, 40th and 71st minutes), Zamani Zamri (44th), Masahiro Sugita (64th), Kan Kobayashi (70th and 80th), and a debuting Ilhan Fandi (85th) gave the White Swans the big win, and closed the gap between them and league-leading Lion City Sailors to six points. Geylang replied through Abdil Qayyim (28th) and Sime Zuzul (49th).

Tanjong Pagar United stayed in third spot after a 4-2 win over Tampines Rovers at the Jurong East Stadium on Saturday. Goals from Reo Nishiguchi (5th and 32nd), Rusyaidi Salime (21st) and Shodai Nishikawa (38th) set the hosts to victory. Firdaus Kasman (22nd) and Zehrudin Mehmedovic (36th) scored for Tampines.

Also on Saturday, Hougang United defeated Balestier Khalsa 3-1 at the Hougang Stadium, thanks to goals from Kaishu Yamazaki (22nd), Hafiz Abu Sujad (59th) and Kristian Krajcek (84th). Balestier scored through Shuhei Hoshino (30th).

Japan clinch Queen Sirikit Cup, end 20-year wait

Japan ended their 20-year title drought at the Queen Sirikit Cup golf tournament when the trio of Mizuki Hashimoto, Tezuka Ayaka and Ueta Miku powered their way to a seven-shot victory over New Zealand at Laguna National Golf and Country Club on Friday (27 May).

The last time Japan lifted the Cup was in 2002, when the team consisting of Ai Miyazato, Kyoko Furuya and Ayako Uehara emerged victorious in Malaysia. Two decades later, the team spearheaded by reigning Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship champion Hashimoto would end the week with a combined gross score of 20-under-par to emerge victorious.

The Kiwis secured second place with their 13-under gross score while Korea clinched third place with a 10-under-par score, with host nation Singapore a further shot behind in fourth place.

Despite returning with a one-over-par 73 in the final round, Hashimoto finished atop the leaderboard in the individual standings after previous rounds of 70, 64 and 72. Singapore’s Shannon Tan signed for a 72 to finish in second place in the individual standings, one shot behind Hashimoto.

New Lions coach names Asian Cup qualifiers squad

New Singapore men’s football national head coach Takayuki Nishigaya has named a squad of 26 players for the FIFA international window in June, when they will play Kuwait in an international friendly on 1 June before embarking on their AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, from 8 June.

Young Lions forward Glenn Kweh, 22, has been handed a maiden call-up and is one of five uncapped players in the squad. Defenders Ryhan Stewart and Ryaan Sanizal, as well as midfielder Shah Shahiran, have all earned their second call-ups.

This will be Nishigaya's first assignment as head coach, as the Lions aim to qualify for the Asian Cup for the first time in their history. They will play Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Myanmar in the qualifiers.

Singapore squad - goalkeepers: Hassan Sunny, Syazwan Buhari, Zaiful Nizam, Zharfan Rohaizad. Defenders: Amirul Adli, Iqram Rifqi, Irfan Fandi, Nazrul Nazari, Nur Adam Abdullah, Ryaan Sanizal, Ryhan Stewart, Safuwan Baharudin. Midfielders: Adam Swandi, Christopher van Huizen, Hariss Harun, Shah Shahiran, Shahdan Sulaiman, Saifullah Akbar, Yasir Hanapi. Forwards: Faris Ramli, Gabriel Kwek, Glenn Kweh, Hafiz Nor, Ikhsan Fandi, Song Ui-young, Taufik Suparno.

Children enjoying the facilities at the Singapore Sports Hub's kids water playground.
Singapore Sports Hub's kids water playground. (PHOTO: Singapore Sports Hub.)

Sports Hub activities for June school holidays

The Singapore Sports Hub has lined up a host of sports and entertainment activities for the June school holidays:

  • Kids aged six to 12 years old can pick up new and trendy sports such as in-line skating (29 May) and skateboarding (5, 12, 19, 26 June) through the Learn-to-Play programme at 100Plus Promenade. Participation is free as part of the Active Family programme offered by the Health Promotion Board.

  • The Junior Playcation Urban Camp will be held at the 100Plus Promenade for kids aged 5 to 10 years old to experience different sports and pick up skills (floorball, tennis, football, catapult and more), learn through creative play, and meet new friends.

  • The Basketball Summer Camp will be held from 13 to 17 June and 20 to 24 June at the OCBC Arena. Campers can look forward to training with all-star national players and certified professional coaches. The camp is tailored to players of various proficiencies, and participants will be grouped according to age and skills level.

  • The Aquatic Holiday Camp is a seven-session programme held in partnership with Torpedo Swim School in OCBC Aquatic Centre. Participants aged 6 to 18 years old will learn the basics of artistic swimming as well as diving.

  • Kallang Wave Mall will host a variety of promotion and activities, such as weekday $2 flash deals at selected food-and-beverage outlets, and up to $50 worth of vouchers redeemable at FairPrice Xtra.

SportCares celebrates 10th anniversary

SportCares, the philanthropic arm of Sport Singapore, celebrated its 10th anniversary with Experience SPORTS!, a three-day sports tryouts event at Heartbeat@Bedok on Wednesday (25 May), Thursday and Saturday.

The event aims to encourage the uptake of disability sport programmes available in ActiveSG, SportCares, Singapore Disability Sports Council and Special Olympics Singapore. In addition, the event provides an opportunity for caregivers, SPED school teachers and adult centres’ staff to see what their students or clients are interested in and link up with SportCares and its partners on a suitable programme for persons with disabilities (PwDs).

The event was graced by Eric Chua, Parliamentary Secretary. Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and saw over 150 participants from 12 organisations such as MINDS Towner Gardens School and Touch Centre for Independent Living (Bukit Merah) taking part in sports such as badminton and football.

Fandi Rules street football competition to begin

To encourage more children to play football and ignite interest in the community through street football, Singapore football great Fandi Ahmad, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and Singapore Pools have teamed up to organise Fandi Rules, a 4v4 youth street football competition, with support from the People’s Association (PA).

The tournament, which will run from Monday (30 May) to 19 June, comprises Under-10 and U-12 categories for both boys and girls and have special regulations set by Fandi to bring back the “street rules” he grew up playing with. For example, the first team to score five goals wins the match immediately regardless of the amount of time left, encouraging teams to play on the front foot instead of sitting back.

Matches will be played on selected PA hard courts in the heartlands of Singapore. Interested participants can form teams consisting of a coach and up to six players in the same age category. Players who live in different parts of Singapore can sign up together as a team and compete in a district of their choice.

The Grand Finals will be held at the Singapore Sports Hub on 18 and 19 June.

iFly Singapore provides indoor skydiving experience to beneficiaries

Indoor skydiving facility iFly Singapore launched its 10th anniversary celebrations on 15 May, with 1,000 beneficiaries from a total of 10 charity and non-profit organisations to experience the thrills of indoor skydiving.

The attraction has committed S$129,000 worth of flights to beneficiaries and their families from organisations such as Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics, Singapore Disability Sports Centre, LOVE, NILS and TOUCH Community Services.

Over the course of seven months, iFly Singapore will provide beneficiaries and their caregivers indoor skydiving flight experiences inclusive of two skydives per person. Guided by certified instructors, the flyers will be able to experience the exhilaration and freedom of flying – regardless of their skill level, background or physical ability.

Decathlon launches digital sports marketplace

Sporting goods retailer Decathlon Singapore has on Thursday (26 May) launched its digital sports marketplace, offering online access to products across all sports and budgets.

Hosted on its website and app, the Decathlon Marketplace will be open for brands to list their products to address customers' sporting needs and budgets. It currently has exclusive products from brands such as Garmin, Diadora, Pure sports Nutrition and MYPROTEIN.

With 11 new brands onboard at launch, the marketplace is on track to add 2,000 more products by the year's end to its current repertoire of 5,000 products from 60 sports.

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