Singapore sports round-up (26 Feb-3 March): Sailors sign Dutch midfielder, President Tharman hosts national athletes

Dates announced for ASEAN Mitsubishi Electric Cup, Singapore golfers take all 3 qualifying spots for Porsche Singapore Classic

Dutch midfielder Bart Ramselaar joins Lion City Sailors. (PHOTO: Lion City Sailors)
Dutch midfielder Bart Ramselaar joins Lion City Sailors. (PHOTO: Lion City Sailors)

SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (26 February to 3 March):

Lion City Sailors sign Bart Ramselaar from FC Utrecht

The Lion City Sailors have unveiled Dutch midfielder Bart Ramselaar as the club’s second signing for the upcoming Singapore Premier League (SPL) season, who joins from Dutch Eredivisie side FC Utrecht for a reported fee of about €1.5 million (S$2.2 million) on a contract that runs until the end of the 2025/26 campaign.

The 27-year-old had won the 2017/18 Eredivisie title with PSV Eindhoven, and made three international appearances for the Netherlands senior side. He returned to Utrecht – the club where he made his professional debut in 2015 – and enjoyed his most productive season in the 2021/22 season with nine goals before a knee injury curtailed his next two seasons.

Ramselaar joins a Sailors squad with European pedigree such as SPL Player of the Year Maxime Lestienne, forward Richairo Zivkovic and midfielder Rui Pires. The Sailors had also recently signed Croatian defender Toni Datkovic on a season-long contract, as they seek a second SPL title win and a good showing in the AFC Champions League 2.

ASEAN Mitsubishi Electric Cup to be held from 23 Nov to 21 Dec

The 15th edition of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Championship will be held from 23 November to 21 December, with 10 ASEAN national teams competing for the title last won by Thailand. An official draw is scheduled for 21 May in Hanoi.

The dates were announced on Thursday (29 February), with AFF and title partner Mitsubishi Electric also launching a new logo and brand identity for the event. As part of the rebranding, the competition formerly known as the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup has been renamed as the ASEAN Mitsubishi Electric Cup.

The refreshed logo comprises of three central graphic elements - the ASEAN Championship trophy, the new AFF Unity Weave, together with the event title, all encompassed within a shield. Designed in the five colours shared by the various flags of ASEAN nations, it symbolises the unity and bond of the 12 AFF Member Associations woven together in their spirit of competition.

Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and wife Jane Ittogi with Team Singapore athletes at the Istana reception. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore)
Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and wife Jane Ittogi with Team Singapore athletes at the Istana reception. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore)

President hosts Team Singapore athletes at Istana

More than 700 Team Singapore athletes, coaches and officials were present at the Team Singapore Reception held at Istana on Thursday evening (29 February).

The reception, hosted by President Tharman Shanmugaratnam, was organised to celebrate the hard work, contributions and achievements of Team Singapore at the five major games in 2023 — the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games in Cambodia, the Asian Games and Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, and the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin.

At the event, Tharman commended the athletes for their grit, perseverance, and outstanding performance at the Games, and also highlighted the important role of sports in inspiring national pride and fostering a shared identity among Singaporeans.

Singapore golfers take all 3 qualifying spots for Singapore Classic

Singaporean golfers swept all three qualifying spots up for grabs for the upcoming Porsche Singapore Classic, led by Nicklaus Chiam who won the qualifying tournament at the Laguna National Golf Resort Club on Tuesday (27 February) with a score of one-under-par 71.

The 28-year-old will be joined by Joshua Yap and Irvyn Tan, who was the top Singaporean amateur. Yap, who turned professional last year, finished second after edging out Thailand's Amarin Kraivixien and Tan in a three-way play-off. Tan, 18, carded a 72 to finish as Singapore’s top amateur and earn his place in the US$2,500,000 tournament.

The trio will tee it up alongside a line-up that includes 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry, newly-minted DP World Tour winner Rikuya Hoshino, four-time DP World Tour winner Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Asian Games champion Kho Taichi.

The Singapore Classic will kickstart the DP World Tour’s Asian Swing, and takes place from 21-24 March at the Laguna National. South Africa’s Ockie Strydom won the 2023 edition, which marked the return of the DP World Tour to Singapore for the first time since 2014.

Sentosa Golf Club announces new initiative for junior golfers

Sentosa Golf Club, host venue of the HSBC Women’s World Championship, announced on Tuesday (27 February) a new initiative in support of junior golfers in Singapore. For every birdie made on The Tanjong’s 18th hole, a free round of golf will be given away to a junior in 2024 as part of the club’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

While 39 birdies recorded on the hole in last year's Women's World Championship, a new test will welcome the world’s best women's golfers, with the addition of a large new fairway bunker, designed to create an elevated challenge and increase risk-reward off the tee.

The club has also added three new female players to its local sponsorship program, providing Singapore Golf Association national squad members Chen Xing Tong and Aloysa Atienza, as well as professional Amanda Tan, with access to the venue’s Tanjong and Serapong courses and world-class practice facilities.

Sentosa Golf Club’s 50th anniversary celebrations are set to continue throughout the year, with plans to host a non-members golf day in October. Interested participants can apply for the event through an official ballot, in which applicants will be asked to recall their favourite stories or memories of the club.

Tickets on sale for HSBC SVNS 2024

Ticket are on sale for the HSBC SVNS 2024 in Singapore rugby sevens event, which is set to take place at the Singapore National Stadium from 3 to 5 May. This year’s edition will see the tournament expand to three days with the top 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams from around the world taking part.

Ticketed fans can indulge in a wide-array of cuisines, savour music and engage in exciting activities. As the sun sets, the festivities continue at the iconic beach club, where DJs will keep the energy high with a mix of dance floor fillers and classic anthems. The Sun Stage, nestled within the food market, will feature live music performances and interactive audience participation.

For those seeking a more premium and exclusive setting, the new hospitality experiences such as The Sun Room and The Spring Hotel, feature premium food and drinks, a full programme of fun and entertainment in private lounges and the best seats in the house.

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