SEA Games showing ‘at best satisfactory’: CDM

REPORTING FROM JAKARTA

Singapore’s athletes may have garnered a total of 160 medals from the SEA Games, 42 of which were gold, but to contingent Chef de Mission Tan Eng Liang, their combined performance was “at best, satisfactory” compared to how they fared at the 2009 Games in Laos.

Speaking at a post-Games press conference held in Jakarta on Monday, Tan said that the boost in the number of gold medals won this year was largely thanks to six sports that were not offered two years ago that produced a combined 12 gold medals for Singapore.

These sports were canoeing, which produced two golds; sailing and bowling, which took home four and three golds respectively; and water skiing, gymnastics and women’s water polo, which clinched one gold medal each.

Deducting them from the total, however, would leave 30 gold medals, fewer than the 33 attained in Laos.

“Therefore, if you ask me, as Chef de Mission, have we done well? My answer is, I’m sorry to say, it is at best satisfactory,” he said, also noting that eight sports out of the 36 that Singapore participated in at the Games held in Jakarta and Palembang performed worse than they did two years ago.

Tan also offered his own “report card” for the various sports, summarised below:

A+ (for outstanding achievement): Swimming

A (more than 2 gold medals/gold medal in team sport): Table tennis, sailing, athletics, bowling, water polo

B+ (credible improvement): canoeing

B (at least one gold medal/medal in team sport): Water skiing, billiards, gymnastics, shooting, badminton, contract bridge, wushu, softball

C (attained medals/no medals attained in team sport):
Fencing, pencak silat, rowing, open water swimming, wrestling, karate, judo, boxing, cycling, synchronized swimming, roller sports, sport climbing, taekwondo, basketball, football

D (no medals attained): Petanque, sepak takraw, weightlifting, archery, golf and traditional boat racing


He highlighted the achievements of the swimmers, shuttler Fu Mingtian who set a historic gold performance in the women’s singles final, sprinter Gary Yeo and thrower Wong Lay Chi who both achieved personal bests alongside their silver medals in the 100m dash and shot put, respectively.

He also lauded the results attained by Singapore's contract bridge players, who clinched one gold and two silver medals from hosts Indonesia, who being world-class bridge powerhouses were expected to sweep the golds on offer.

Conversely, Tan brought up sports that underperformed such as shooting, fencing and pencak silat. Shooting, in particular, was “a real disappointment” given that the team had brought home six gold, five silver and five bronze medals at the Laos Games, as compared to one gold and one silver at this year’s meet, he added.

Also present at the press conference were Singapore National Olympic Council president Chris Chan, who praised the performance of athletes who did not win medals, including shuttler Derek Wong, who defeated World number seven Vietnamese player Nguyen Tien Minh but did not make it to the medal rounds, and the men’s basketball team, which in his opinion played valiantly against the Indonesians before getting knocked out by the latter.

“I, for one, never had such high regard for the men’s basketball team; I thought they played so well,” said Chan.

He also commended the Young Lions’ performance at the Games football tournament despite being knocked out before the semifinal rounds.

“This team is much better,” he said. “But they were in the ‘group of death’, and didn’t go for the win against Malaysia.

“They’re definitely not an ‘F’ for me. This was a good team,” he added.

Singapore Sports Council (SSC) CEO Lim Teck Yin added that Tan’s review allows the SSC to study each sport’s performance individually.

“That way, every sport will be challenged to come back stronger,” said Lim. “Yes, a couple underperformed, and their athletes whom I met are very upset, but are determined to go back and examine what happened.”

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