Singapore to see first 2 athletes at Winter Youth Olympic Games

Chia Han Keong
Squash player Samuel Kang, flag bearer for Team Singapore for the upcoming SEA Games, holds aloft the Singapore flag at the flag presentation ceremony at Our Tampines Hub. (PHOTO: Chia Han Keong/Yahoo News Singapore)
Squash player Samuel Kang, flag bearer for Team Singapore for the upcoming SEA Games, holds aloft the Singapore flag at the flag presentation ceremony at Our Tampines Hub. (PHOTO: Chia Han Keong/Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — Singapore will be sending its first two athletes to the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Lausanne, Switzerland, in January next year.

Short track speed skater Alyssa Pok and ice hockey player Matthew Hamnett, both 15 years old, made the cut to represent Singapore at the Games, which will be held for the third time after past editions in Austria’s Innsbruck (2012) and Norway’s Lillehammer (2016).

Alyssa was appointed as flag bearer for Singapore at the Games, and she was handed the flag in a presentation ceremony at Our Tampines Hub on Saturday morning (9 November), together with other flag bearers for the 2019 SEA Games and 2020 Asean Para Games.

Besides Alyssa, the other flag bearers are squash player Samuel Kang for the SEA Games, and para badminton player Tay Wei Ming for the Asean Para Games.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin handed out the flags to the three athlete contingents.

“I am sure Alyssa and Matthew feel the honour of being the first Singaporeans to represent at the Winter YOG. We hope to bring a positive attitude to the YOG and fly the Singapore flag high at the Games,” said Joanne Kyra Loo, chef de mission for Singapore at the Winter YOG.

“Travelling from the tropics in Singapore to winter in Lausanne, the team would need to acclimatise quickly to the weather, manage jet lag and familiarise ourselves with the venue. The support staff at the National Youth Sports Institute will be helping the athletes to take steps to manage these challenges.”

Largest away contingent for SEA Games

Team Singapore will be sending its largest away contingent for the SEA Games – a total of 666 athletes across 48 sports will compete in the Philippines from 30 November to 11 December.

Many will be making their Game debut in new sports such as breaking, beach handball, e-sports, jiu-jitsu, kurash, sambo, skateboarding, surfing and underwater hockey.

“Preparations started many months ago as it is a mammoth task getting the 1,000-strong contingent of athletes, coaches and officals ready for the Games,” said Juliana Seow, chef de mission for the SEA Games.

“Keeping our athletes healthy and in tip-top shape to put on their best performance for Singapore, and their safe return thereafter, is our utmost priority and I am grateful for the support from all stakeholders.”

Another 61 para athletes will be competing in 12 sports at the 10th Asean Para Games in the Philippines from 9 to 22 January. They will be led by chef de mission Eric Tseng.

Tao Li, Shakir Juanda to be inducted in Sport Hall of Fame

During the flag presentation ceremony, the Sport Hall of Fame also announced this year’s two inductees – swimmer Tao Li and silat athlete Muhammad Shakir Juanda.

Tao, 29, was the first Singaporean swimmer to win golds in more than one Asian Games, managing the feat in the 50m butterfly races in 2006 and 2010. When she won in 2006, she also became the second female swimmer to win gold at the Asiad, after Junie Sng in 1978.

She was also the first Singaporean and Southeast Asian female swimmer to qualify for an Olympic final, finishing fifth in the 100m butterfly event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Shakir, 31, is a two-time pencak silat world champion in 2012 and 2016. As captain of the national silat team in 2009, he actively volunteered to coaching children and youth in the sport, and also conducted talks at schools to inspire students.

In 2015, he also awarded the Singapore Youth Award for his dedication in nurturing young silat athletes.

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