Singapore sports round-up (5-11 Feb): Singapore Youth League launched, interim SPL pre-season tournament

Golf's national squad members unveiled, while defending champs Fan Zhendong and Sun Yingsha set to return for WTT Singapore Smash

Football Association of Singapore and Sport Singapore officials during the launch of the Singapore Youth League. (PHOTO: FAS)
Football Association of Singapore and Sport Singapore officials during the launch of the Singapore Youth League. (PHOTO: FAS)

SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (5 to 11 February):

Singapore Youth League launched, to feature over 200 teams

The Singapore Youth League (SYL), co-organised by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and Sport Singapore (SportSG), was officially launched on Tuesday (6 February). The league - an initiative under the Unleash the Roar! (UTR!) national football project - is the city-state's inaugural nation-wide elite youth football competition and is set to feature over 200 teams from 52 clubs and academies across various age groups.

Open to both boys and girls, SYL will cater to six age groups (Under-8, U-10, U-12, U-13, U-15 and U-17) and serve as the primary pipeline for future Singapore internationals, with nearly 3,800 youth players competing in about 1,100 matches per season.

Youth teams will compete in an annual season spanning approximately eight months, with a mid-year break in between. SYL teams will play an average of about 30 games per season. Through the league, Singapore Premier League clubs can scout for players, opening pathways into professional football for the SYL’s best.

The SYL will also provide a platform for the development of women’s football in Singapore. Clubs can register all-girl teams that will play one age category lower, meaning they will compete against boys one to two years younger. Four all-girl teams will feature when the SYL kicks off this month.

The league will kick off on the weekend of 24 and 25 February, with matches being played at various stadiums across the island for 33 match-days until 1 December. Participating teams include St Michaels’ Soccer Association, Flair Football Academy, the Singapore Premier League’s Lion City Sailors, and invited teams such as Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT).

Schedules, scores, and updates can be found at the official website, or via Singapore Youth League on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

Interim pre-season tournament as SPL shifts its schedule

The Football Association of Singapore announced on Sunday (11 February) the introduction of an interim pre-season tournament from 23 February to 21 April. The tournament will comprise a single-round modified league format, with a total of 20 matches played across five game weeks, with rankings to be based on accumulated points.

The primary aim of this tournament is to get Singapore Premier League (SPL) players ready for the new 2024/25 season, which will begin on 4 May and end in May next year. Subsequently, the 2025-26 SPL season will align with AFC club competitions, starting in August 2025 and concluding in May 2026, setting the timeline for subsequent seasons.

From a Singapore national team perspective, the tournament will help players work towards peak fitness for national-team call-up selection for two upcoming World Cup qualifiers against China in March.

The upcoming season will also see a four-round format where each club will play each other four times in a season, instead of three in recent seasons. The Singapore Cup will also seamlessly integrate with the league calendar instead of having a dedicated period.

Singapore Golf Association national squad members. (PHOTO: SGA)
Singapore Golf Association national squad members. (PHOTO: SGA)

SGA unveils this year's national squad members

The Singapore Golf Association (SGA) has unveiled its 46 squad members for 2024, in a ceremony held at the Singapore Island Country Club (SICC) on Wednesday (7 February). Consisting of the country’s top male and female amateur golfers, these squad members were identified through selection criteria that includes performance, attitude and mental fortitude.

All squad members will receive enhanced tailored programme of support, including additional high performance training as well as local and overseas competition opportunities.

The men’s national squad will feature Ryan Ang, Hiroshi Tai and Brayden Lee, who has been promoted from the development squad. Alyosa Atienza, Chen Xingtong, Inez Ng and Hailey Loh - the first Singaporean golfer to win an NCAA conference championship last April - make up the women’s squad.

Eight other players, aged 18 and under, will feature in the junior national squad. They are Daryl Loh, Troy Storm, Aaron Wee, Bruce Kwong, Jaymie Ng, Jillian Kuk, Valencia Chang and Passion Hsu. Another 10 members from the development squad, who will undergo regular advanced level testing and scoring, will form the rest of the national squad.

The 2024 SGA tournament schedule will include the second edition of the Hana Financial Group Singapore Women’s Open in March, and the South East Asian Amateur Golf Team Championship at the Seletar Country Club in July. The newly-launched SGA-BFG Junior Golf Series will also provide junior golfers with further opportunities to develop their potential in several golf courses across Singapore.

Fan Zhendong, Sun Yingsha to defend S'pore Smash titles

China’s top paddlers Fan Zhendong and Sun Yingsha will be defending their respective men’s and women’s singles titles at the third edition of the WTT Singapore Smash at the Singapore Sports Hub's OCBC Arena from 7 to 17 March.

Fan, 27, will be seeking a hat-trick of Singapore Smash wins in both the men's singles and doubles, titles he won in both 2022 and 2023. Meanwhile, 23-year-old Sun will be attempting to repeat her treble-winning feat in 2023, when she captured not only the women’s singles title, but also the doubles and mixed doubles.

The tournament is set to welcome the best 128 male and female table tennis players, as they compete for their share of US$1,500,000 in prize money across singles, doubles and mixed doubles competitions. Singles qualifying will shift to a Thursday start and Saturday finish from 7 to 9 March, while main draw action begins from 10 March.

For the first time, Singapore Smash 2024 will feature a WTT Youth Series event as well as a para table tennis showcase. Tickets are available via Ticketek.

SCF Track and Wheel To Dream series launched

The Singapore Cycling Federation (SCF) is proud to announce Ascent Bikes as an official partner for the 2024 SCF Track and Wheel To Dream series to be held in the Jurong West Stadium between 18 February and 17 November. These events serve to catalyse the development of youth cyclists as well as promote club competition on a regular basis.

There will be four dates for the Wheel to Dream series: 18 February. 26 May, 30 June and 17 November. Each event will have prizes/medals and an overall general classification over the four events. The top three winners in each category of each event will win Ascent Bikes vouchers worth between $100 and $300, while the top three overall winners for the series will win vouchers worth between $500 and $1,000.

Meanwhile, there will be three dates for the SCF Track series: 21 April, 14 July and 25 August. The top three winners in each category of each event will win Ascent Bikes vouchers worth between $100 and $300, with SCF national ranking points being awarded for the top 10 winners. The top-ranked riders (road events) will be awarded Yellow Jerseys at the end of the 2024 racing season.

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