Singapore sports round-up (8-14 April): SPL season to begin on 4 May, Ryan Ang earns Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia tour card

Bowlers Darren Ong and Colleen Pee honoured at SBF awards night, fencing pioneer James Wong dies of cancer at age 70

Albirex Niigata (Singapore) players celebrate winning the 2023 Singapore Premier League. (PHOTO: Albirex Niigata Singapore)
Albirex Niigata (Singapore) players celebrate winning the 2023 Singapore Premier League. (PHOTO: Albirex Niigata Singapore)

SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (8 to 14 April):

2024/25 Singapore Premier League season kicks off on 4 May

The Football Association of Singapore announced on Friday (12 April) that the 29th season of the Singapore Premier League (SPL) will kick off on 4 May with the Community Shield match between Albirex Niigata (Singapore) and Lion City Sailors, before the league commences on 10 May.

The 2024/25 SPL season will see nine clubs taking part and the season will be played in a quadruple round-robin format, where each team will play 32 matches - 16 home and 16 away - until May 2025. Matches will be played primarily between Fridays and Sundays, with every match being broadcast live on Singtel TV and StarHub TV as well as live-streamed online via Mediacorp’s meWatch and the SPL YouTube channel.

There will be several in-season breaks for other competitions during the SPL season: for the final two 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in June, for the Sultan of Selangor Cup in August, and for the ASEAN Mitsubishi Electric Cup in November and December. The Singapore Cup will played concurrently during the season starting in January next year..

The new season will also see the return of Brunei DPMM to their home ground at the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Bandar Seri Begawan. And with field restoration works at Our Tampines Hub, BG Tampines Rovers and Geylang International will play their home matches at Jalan Besar Stadium next season.

There will be several changes to bolster the competitiveness of local clubs on the continental stage. Each club's squad must now comprise a minimum of 18 professional players to ensure a balanced team composition. Clubs can register up to nine foreign players, with at least three players under the age of 21 at the time of registration. Clubs must field a minimum of five local players on matchdays, with the previous requirement for clubs to field at least one Under-23 Singaporean player being removed.

The first match weekend will see Hougang United play Lion City Sailors (Jalan Besar Stadium, 7.45pm) and Balestier Khalsa coming up against Geylang International (Bishan Stadium, 7.45pm) on 10 May; the Young Lions taking on DPMM FC (Jalan Besar, 6pm) on 11 May; and Albirex Niigata (SIngapore) facing BG Tampines Rovers (Jalan Besar, 6pm).

Singapore golfer Ryan Ang earns the tour card to compete in the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia. (PHOTO: The Picture Suite/Singapore Golf Association)
Singapore golfer Ryan Ang earns the tour card to compete in the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia. (PHOTO: The Picture Suite/Singapore Golf Association)

Ryan Ang secures Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia tour card

Singapore Golf Association (SGA) national squad member Ryan Ang secured his tour card on the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia on Friday (12 April), after closing with a final round one-over-par 73 at the Moonah Links in Victoria.

The 24-year-old Singapore Management University undergraduate was among the 36 players who gained their tour cards for the 2024/25 season, after posting rounds of 71, 75, 71 and 73 which placed him in 33rd place.

“I plan to retain my amateur status for now. The amateur season is still busy. I’m looking to play in the British and Scottish Amateur before heading back to play the Putra Cup. That’s an important milestone for me because if I win that, I will get an exemption into the final stage of Asian Tour qualifying school," Ang said.

"I would like to finish off the year with a good result at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Japan, which will give me the chance to qualify for the majors.”

Darren Ong, Colleen Pee earn honours at SBF awards night

Darren Ong, who won the men’s singles title at the International Bowling Federation world championships in Kuwait in October 2023, was name Bowler of the Year at the Singapore Bowling Federation's annual awards night at Raffles Town Club on Monday (8 April).

The 28-year-old became the first bowler since Remy Ong in 2006 to clinch the prestigious world championships title. He had bagged his first individual international title at the Philippine International Open in May 2023, just months before his triumph on the world stage.

Colleen Pee picked up the Youth Bowler of the Year award for the second straight year, after winning a gold and two bronzes at the 2023 Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Championships as well as a women’s doubles silver and a team bronze at the world championships.

Fencing pioneer James Wong dies of cancer at age 70

James Wong, one of the first two fencers to represent Singapore at the Summer Olympics, died of cancer on Sunday (7 April). He was 70.

One of the co-founders of Z Fencing, Singapore's first fencing club, Wong took part in the 1992 Barcelona Games along Ronald Tan, competing in the foil and epee events. He was also a multiple silver medallist at the biennial SEA Games.

Following his retirement from the sport, Wong served as a national coach and vice-president at Fencing Singapore. He had coached future top Singapore fencers such as Olympian Amita Berthier.

Singapore National Olympic Council president Grace Fu paid tribute to Wong, saying, “His contribution to fencing in Singapore was immeasurable. He blazed the trail for the Singapore fencing community to compete at the highest level of sport. James’ legacy will be remembered by the many people he mentored, groomed and coached.”

HCSA launches 'Everesting for Second Chances'

Social service agency HCSA Community Services launched its "Everesting for Second Chances" charity campaign - where participants take part in a cycling challenge to pedal the equivalent height of Mount Everest (8,848 metres) - with a bicycle fellowship ride at Mount Faber on Sunday (14 April) with new apparel sponsor, BikeBaju.

This year’s event will feature a new family carnival to complement the indoor physical event of virtual Everesting on 29 June. With a target of raising S$500,000 at "Everesting for Second Chances", HCSA aims to provide ex-offenders with residential and rehabilitative support towards facilitating their reintegration into society.

Registration for the virtual event opens from 24 April and closes on 31 July. Participants may also choose to take part in the indoor physical event for an additional $88, which offers a safe environment, meals, onsite guidance and medical support.

Women's Premier League to be played across two venues

The Football Association of Singapore announced on Monday (8 April) that the 2024 Deloitte Women’s Premier League (WPL) season will operate across two venues, instead of just at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium when it began last month.

Matches will now be held at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Saturdays and ITE College East on Sundays.

The move came after coaches and fans complained on the poor condition of the Choa Chu Kang Stadium pitch. The pitch was later closed on 23 March for three to four weeks of maintenance, which included restoration works, application of fertilisers, increased mowing, and top-dressing and levelling of the pitch.

DJ Alok to perform at LIV Golf Singapore

LIV Golf announced on Monday (8 April) that one of the world’s most prominent DJs, Alok, will perform at Sentosa to conclude the final day of the second edition of LIV Golf Singapore tournament on 5 May. The gig will kick off at 6pm at Palawan Green, a short distance from Sentosa Golf Club.

Local talents Che Molly and Jade Rasif will join DJ Alok on stage to kick off the evening's festivities. Following DJ Alok’s performance, Culture Collective will take the stage to round up the night.

Tickets for DJ Alok start at S$95 and are available on the Ticketmaster website. Students can enjoy a 10 per cent discount with valid student pass. Fans who have secured tickets to the LIV Golf tournament will need to purchase separate tickets to Alok.

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