Singapore sports round-up (6-12 May): Sailors begin SPL season with win, paddlers qualify for Paris Olympics

Over 6,800 participants at OCBC Cycle 2024, Joseph Schooling and Yip Pin Xiu among 1st inductees of Singapore Aquatics Hall of Fame

Lion City Sailors captain Hariss Harun and Adam Swandi during their 4-1 victory over Hougang United in the Singapore Premier League (left pic), while paddlers Izaac Quek and Zeng Jian qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. (PHOTOS: SPL/Table Tennis Association of Thailand)
Lion City Sailors captain Hariss Harun and Adam Swandi during their 4-1 victory over Hougang United in the Singapore Premier League (left pic), while paddlers Izaac Quek and Zeng Jian qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. (PHOTOS: SPL/Table Tennis Association of Thailand)

SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (6 to 12 May):

Title favourites Lion City Sailors opened the 2024/25 Singapore Premier League season with a resounding 4-1 victory over Hougang United at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday (10 May), while defending champions Albirex Niigata Singapore slumped to a 1-3 defeat by BG Tampines Rovers on Sunday.

Goals from new signing Bart Ramselaar (24th minute), Shawal Anuar (26th), Adam Swandi (60th) and Obren Kljajic (88th) gave the Sailors the ideal start to their campaign against Hougang, whose goal came from a 34th-minute penalty by Hazzuwan Halim.

Albirex took the lead against Tampines at Jalan Besar Stadium through Daniel Goh (38th minute), but second-half goals by ex-White Swans star Seia Kunori (64th and 74th) and Boris Kopitovic (87th) turned things around for Tampines.

At Bishan Stadium on Friday, two goals from Kodai Tanaka (56th and 81st pen) allowed hosts Balestier Khalsa to rescue a 2-2 draw, after going two goals down against Geylang International by half-time. The Eagles had scored early via Shakir Hamzah (6th) and Tomoyuki Doi (38th).

On Saturday, Brunei DPMM FC notched a 2-1 come-from-behind win over the Young Lions at Jalan Besar Stadium. Goals by Miguel Oliveira (22nd) and Yura Indera Putera (38th) allowed DPMM to overturn a 19th-minute goal by Farhan Zulkifli.

Singapore’s national paddlers Izaac Quek and Zeng Jian have qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics after winning their respective singles finals at the Southeast Asian regional qualification tournament in Bangkok on Friday (10 May). Both are reigning SEA Games singles gold medalists, and will be making their debuts at the Games in July.

Izaac, 17, defeated 41-year-old Thai Phakpoom Sanguasin 7-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 to become the youngest ever Singaporean paddler to qualify for the Olympics. He had earlier defeated the Philippines' John Russel Misal in the semi-finals, surviving a fightback from the Filipino to clinch a thrilling 4-3 victory.

Zeng, 27, had a relatively straightforward win against Vietnam’s Nguyen Khanh in her final, winning 11-7, 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10 to book her Olympic berth.

Cyclists taking part in the mass rides at the OCBC Cycle 2024. (PHOTO: OCBC)
Cyclists taking part in the mass rides at the OCBC Cycle 2024. (PHOTO: OCBC)

Over 6,200 cyclists took to the roads in Singapore on Sunday (12 May) for the OCBC Cycle 2024’s mass rides, matching last year’s in-person participation record. A total of over 6,800 cyclists took part in the cycling event, which also includes the 100km and 500km Virtual Rides.

More than 1,000 participants took part in the inaugural edition of The Foldie Ride by Brompton (40km) - introduced to cater to the rising interest in foldable bicycles - with 60 per cent of them taking part in OCBC Cycle for the first time.

On Saturday, the OCBC Cycle Speedway Championships saw the return of the Speedway SEA Championship for the first time since 2019. Thailand emerged victorious, beating second-placed Indonesia by 18 seconds with Malaysia taking third place. In addition, Quantum Racing A and Team OCBC were crowned champions in the Club and Corporate Championships respectively.

Saturday also saw The Mighty Savers Kids and Family Rides, where young cyclists between two and 12 years old experienced the joys of cycling with other young cyclists and their family members along Stadium Drive, with the Singapore Sports Hub serving as a backdrop.

Singapore Aquatics (SAQ) unveiled the inaugural Singapore Aquatics Hall of Fame athletes during its Anniversary Gala Fundraising Dinner at the Raffles Convention Centre on Friday (10 May).

The event was graced by President Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who witnessed a total of 12 Hall of Fame inductees who have made indelible contributions to Singapore’s aquatic community.

The Hall of Fame inductees are:

  • Athletes: 1951 Asian Games 4x100m freestyle relay team (Barry Mitchell, Lionel Chee, Neo Chwee Kok, Wiebe Wolters), 1954 Asian Games water polo team (Kee Soon Bee, Tan Hwee Hock, Gan Eng Teck, Tan Eng Bock, Keith Mitchell, Oh Chwee Hock, Ho Kian Bin), Junie Sng, Ang Peng Siong, Patricia Chan, Joscelin Yeo, Joseph Schooling, Tao Li.

  • Para-athletes: Theresa Goh, Yip Pin Xiu.

  • Contributors: Kenneth Kee (water polo), Tan Eng Liang (water polo)

SAQ also announced that through its fundraising efforts this year, including donations from well-wishers and sponsors during the dinner, over $1,000,000 will go towards benefitting aquatics in Singapore. The funds will be distributed across four key areas - grassroots development, development pathways for the five aquatic sports, high-performance programmes, and a general fund for coach and staff development.

Singapore Premier League club Lion City Sailors were drawn on Thursday (9 May) into Group B in the opening stage of the inaugural ASEAN Club Championship Shopee Cup, together with Thailand's Buriram United, Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur City, Vietnam's Cong An Ha Noi, Indonesia's Borneo FC, and the Philippines' Kaya FC.

The draw, which was held in Ho Chi Minh City, saw 14 leading clubs from 10 ASEAN countries participating. Lao's Young Elephants FC will face Cambodia's Svay Rieng FC, while Brunei's Kasuka FC will play Myanmar's Shan United in the preliminary play-offs before the group stage in July.

The group stage will begin from 21 August, with two groups of six teams facing off across five mid-week match-days. Group A will feature Thailand's BG Pathum United, Malaysia's Terengganu FC, Indonesia's PSM Makassar, Vietnam's Dong A Thanh Hoa, and the two play-off winners.

The top two finishers in each group will advance to the semi-finals, 2 and 30 April 2025. The two-legged final for the Shopee Cup is scheduled to be held on 14 and 21 May 2025.

StarHub Football For All Carnival. (PHOTO: StarHub)
StarHub Football For All Carnival. (PHOTO: StarHub)

StarHub will be celebrating the end of the 2023/24 English Premier League season with the "Football for All" carnival, to be held at Marina Bay Sand's Grand Ballroom on 19 May. Doors open at 7.30pm, followed by the final round of live matches from 11pm.

Fans will be able to catch all 10 matches on the final day of the season, including Liverpool vs Wolves, Manchester City vs West Ham United and Arsenal vs Everton. Premier League greats Luis Garcia (ex-Liverpool forward) and Shaun Wright-Phillips (former Chelsea and Manchester City winger) will also be hold ing a meet-and-greet session at 9pm.

Admission to the "Football for All" Carnival is free, but strictly by registration due to limited space. Guests are encouraged to register early to secure their spots.

Members of the Chinese Swimming Club (CSC) have approved the club's $9-million upgrading of its recreation complex along Amber Road. The club’s management committee had presented the transformation plans at its annual general meeting held on 28 April, and the members voted overwhelmingly to support the project.

The revamped lifestyle-centric hub will feature an air-conditioned lobby and a contemporary restaurant serving Western fusion food. The poolside area will be decked out with cabanas and outdoor sun lounges, while the hub will have family karaoke rooms equipped with the latest karaoke systems.

Work is targeted to start in the first half of 2025 and expected to be completed by the first half of 2026. The upgrading follows the club's recent renewal of its sports complex lease in August 2023 for another 30 years and is a critical piece of the club’s "Vision 2050" strategy.

Members will not pay any additional fees to fund the upgrading, with CSC saying that it has grown ample reserves over the years. CSC’s lease renewal and upgrading plans also coincide with the expansion of nearby residential areas such as Bayshore and Tanjong Rhu, as well as the improved and enhanced connectivity that will result from the completion of the Thomson-East Coast Line by 2025.

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