Singapore sports round-up (4-10 March): Lions head coach announces 1st squad, Loh Kean Yew beats nemesis

Singapore Aquatics inks new partnership deal with HotelPlanner, midfielder Song Ui-young re-signs for Lion City Sailors

Singapore winger Faris Ramli (right) during the international friendly against Hong Kong in March 2023. He has been called up by new Lions coach Tsutomu Ogura for the upcoming 2026 World Cup qualifiers against China.
Singapore winger Faris Ramli (right) during the international friendly against Hong Kong in March 2023. He has been called up by new Lions coach Tsutomu Ogura for the upcoming 2026 World Cup qualifiers against China. (PHOTO: Yu Chun Christopher Wong/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (4 to 10 March):

Ogura calls up 26 players for China matches

Singapore national football head coach Tsutomu Ogura has announced his first squad since his appointment last month, a 26-man list for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers against China on 21 and 26 March.

He has handed the first senior call-up to 22-year-old Jared Gallagher (BG Tampines Rovers), and 19-year-old Fairuz Fazli (Young Lions). Veteran winger Faris Ramli also makes a return to the squad after missing out on the last two call-ups.

Tickets for the home match against China on 21 March are available on the Ticketek platform. Match tickets can also be purchased onsite at the Singapore Sports Hub Box Office at Kallang Wave Mall, on match day from 3pm, subject to availability.

Ogura has also announced two additions to his backroom staff. Former Kashima Antlers assistant coach, Kosei Nakamura joins as his assistant coach, while Tampines head coach Gavin Lee has been invited to be part of the national team's backroom staff for the March international window.

Nakamura and Lee are set to join the national team when centralised training begins on Monday (11 March).

Singapore squad - Goalkeepers: Hassan Sunny, Syazwan Buhari, Zharfan Rohaizad. Defenders: M. Anumanthan, Fairuz Fazli, Jared Gallagher, Jacob Mahler, Irfan Fandi, Nazrul Nazari, Safuwan Baharudin, Ryhan Stewart, Lionel Tan, Zulqarnaen Suzliman. Midfielders: Joel Chew, Hariss Harun, Glenn Kweh, Shah Shahiran, Harhys Stewart, Song Ui-young, Zulfahmi Arifin. Forwards: Daniel Goh, Faris Ramli, Hafiz Nor, Ikhsan Fandi, Ilhan Fandi, Shawal Anuar.

Loh Kean Yew beats nemesis en route to French Open q-finals

Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew reached the quarter-finals of the French Open, but was beaten 21-19, 15-21, 13-21 in 78 minutes by India's Lakshya Sen on Friday (8 March).

The former world champion had make a breakthrough earlier in the round of 16, as he finally defeated Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting after six consecutive losses to the world No.5, winning 21-16, 18-21, 21-16 in 68 minutes on Thursday. He had also defeated France's Toma Junior Popov in his opening round on Tuesday.

In the mixed doubles, Terry Hee and Jessica Tan advanced to the last-16 after beating Denmark's Mads Vestergaard and Christine Busch 21-13, 23-21 on Wednesday. However, they lost to seventh-seeded South Koreans Kim Won Ho and Jeong Na Eun 17-21, 19-21 on Thursday.

Singapore Aquatics inks deal with HotelPlanner

HotelPlanner, a leading travel technology company and hotel booking platform, has inked a two-year deal to be the official accommodation partner of Singapore Aquatics for 2024 and 2025.

The sponsorship, valued at S$100,000, will allow international participants taking part in aquatic competitions in Singapore to rely on HotelPlanner’s platforms to plan their accommodation and travel itinerary. In addition, aquatics athletes in Singapore will also benefit from favourable HotelPlanner accommodation rates when travelling overseas for competitions and training camps.

HotelPlanner joins OCBC Bank, TYR, 100Plus, AminoVITAL and the EMS Unit as official partners for Singapore Aquatics, in support of athletes and officials across all aquatics sports.

The partnership with HotelPlanner was announced during a media day with members of the women’s 4x100m medley relay team - Quah Ting Wen, Quah Jing Wen, Letitia Sim, and Levenia Sim - who became the first Singapore relay team to qualify for the Olympics, clocking a new national record of 4min 2.88sec to book their tickets to the Paris Summer Games.

Song Ui-young re-signs for Lion City Sailors

The Lion City Sailors announced on Thursday (7 March) the return of international midfielder Song Ui-young on a two-year deal, making the Singaporean their third signing of the off-season after Toni Datković and Bart Ramselaar.

Song, 30, rejoins the club following stints in Thailand and Indonesia with Nongbua Pitchaya and Persebaya Surabaya respectively. He had played for the Sailors since their previous incarnation as Home United, from 2011 to 2022.

Sealing a move back to his old club, Song – who has scored four goals in 22 appearances for the Lions after obtaining Singaporean citizenship in August 2021 – is looking to bring further success to the Sailors in his second spell with the club. He is currently undergoing rehabilitation with the Sailors for a minor injury suffered in January.

Singapore women's table tennis team out of Olympics

Singapore's women's table tennis team did not make the cut for the team event at the 2024 Paris Olympics - ending a run of four consecutive Olympic appearances for them since the 2008 Beijing Games.

The latest world team rankings were released on Monday (4 March), and Singapore slipped from 10th to 18th. This means they missed out on the last four qualifying spots based on world rankings, behind Thailand (No.11), Poland (No.12), India (No.13) and Sweden (No.15).

The drop in rankings came after the team were defeated 0-3 by Poland in the round of 32 in February’s World Team Table Tennis Championships. Had they beaten the Poles and progressed to the last 16, they would have secured enough ranking points to qualify for the Olympics.

Singapore Table Tennis Association president Poh Li San told The Straits Times that inexperience and the retirements of former stalwarts Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu and Lin Ye were the main reason why the women's national team failed to qualify.

Singapore national golfers Chen Xingtong (left) and Aloysa Atienza with SGA's new logo. (PHOTO: SGA)
Singapore national golfers Chen Xingtong (left) and Aloysa Atienza with SGA's new logo. (PHOTO: SGA)

Singapore Golf Association unveils new logo

The Singapore Golf Association (SGA) has unveiled a new logo, reflecting the association’s dynamism and forward momentum as it strives to break new frontiers while preserving tradition.

The logo focuses on modernity, and professionalism while keeping a progressive outlook that aligns with SGA’s vision for the future of golf in Singapore. Key elements in the logo feature upward-angled lines that show a golf ball in motion, underlining SGA’s ambitions to be a forward and relevant organisation in the everchanging golf landscape.

The greyed-out dimples represent the golf ball symbol while the Singapore map and colours from the old logo have been retained, reflecting SGA’s unchanging mission and vision.

The SGA had worked with renowned South Korean fashion designer, Song Yujin for the logo revamp, where apart from onsite branding, the logo will also be featured in SGA’s merchandise and selected apparel.

New PGA Tour winner Pavon to play in S'pore Classic

Matthieu Pavon will make his first DP World Tour appearance since becoming a PGA Tour winner, when the French golfer tees it up at the Porsche Singapore Classic, to be held from 21 to 24 March at Laguna National Golf Resort Club.

Pavon, ranked world No.24, won at the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA TOUR last month, which followed his maiden DP World Tour triumph at the Open de España in November 2023. That victory at Torrey Pines saw Pavon become the first French winner on the PGA Tour in the modern era.

Pavon will be joined by 2019 Open Champion Shane Lowry, Japan’s Rikuya Hoshino and Asian stars Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Thailand), Gavin Green (Malaysia) and Li Haotong (China). Singapore will be represented by three qualifiers: Nicklaus Chiam, Joshua Yap and amateur Irvyn Tan.

JSSL tournament to celebrate 10th anniversary

The JSSL Singapore Professional Academy 7s tournament will celebrate its 10th anniversary with its biggest edition yet. Asia’s largest youth football tournament is set to welcome the most number of teams in history – a record 500 registered teams from 16 nations will participate in the event on 28 to 31 March held across five venues in Singapore.

Valencia CF, the defending champions in both the boy’s and girls’ Pro categories, will return to defend their crown, but they face fierce competition along the way from teams hailing from all over the world including Portugal, Spain, Australia, Japan and Thailand.

The pro teams competing in this year’s tournament are:

  • Boys: Everton FC, Sporting Lisbon, Valencia CF, Melbourne City, Urawa Red Diamonds, Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT), JSSL FC.

  • Girls: Valencia CF, Sporting Lisbon, Villareal, Omiya, Chonburi FC, Persib Bandung, JSSL FC.

Promising youth footballers aged six to 16 from around the world will take part in the tournament, which comprises four girls’ and 11 boys’ age groups. Teams are divided into groups of seven/eight teams, where all teams play each other once. Following that, the top four teams of the group will qualify for “Cup Knock Out”, while the remaining teams in the group will qualify for the “Plate Knock Out” stages.

All finals will be played at HQ Arena in Woodleigh on 31 March with guest-of-honour and former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy present to hand out the trophies.

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