SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (16 to 22 October):
Paddler Zeng Jian wins first WTT tour title in Doha
Singapore national table tennis player Zeng Jian clinched her first title on the World Table Tennis (WTT) tour, winning the WTT Feeder Doha II women's singles title on Thursday (19 October).
The reigning SEA Games women's singles champion, who is ranked world No.64, defeated Wales' 163rd-ranked Anne Hursey 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 in the final for her title. Along the way, the 26-year-old had defeated South Korea’s Choi Seo-yeon (world No.697), China’s Gao Yuxin (386th), Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin (106th) and Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yi-hua (74th).
While this lower-tier event offered just US$550 prize money for singles winners, Zeng garnered 125 ranking points in her bid to break the top 50 rankings and qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Meanwhile, Singapore's youth paddlers also clinched medals at WTT Youth Contender tournaments around the world. Aron Ng, 15, won the Under-15 boys' singles event at the WTT Youth Contender Puerto Princesa tournament in the Philippines, beating Japan's Soma Ono in the final.
Aron also came in third in the U-17 boys' singles event, while Miguel Liew and Keegan Tang - both just 10 years old - came in second and third respectively in the U-11 boys' singles competition. There were also third-place finishes for Ryan Yeo (U-19 boys' singles) and Valerie Kng (U-13 girls' singles).
Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong course named world's best
Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong course became only the fifth venue to earn the prestigious World's Best Golf Course title at the annual World Golf Awards (WGAs) in Abu Dhabi on Monday (23 October).
The course, which has hosted competitions such as the LIV Golf Singapore and the Singapore Open, joins four others to have won the accolade since it began in 2014: the Old Course at St Andrews, the Championship Course at Carnoustie Golf Links, Augusta National Golf Club, and Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.
Besides the top honour, Serapong has also retained its WGA titles as the best golf course in Singapore and in Asia which it had won in 2022. Sentosa Golf Club had previously won the WGA’s World Best Golf Club award in 2019.
Under Andrew Johnston - the golf club's general manager, director of agronomy and resident golf course designer - Serapong has consistently delivered exceptional tournament-ready conditions. With breathtaking views of Singapore’s cityscape and a dynamic playing strategy, the course has established itself as a world-class championship venue for two decades.
Singapore netballers in narrow loss in Nations Cup opener
Singapore's national netball team lost narrowly 50-52 to Papua New Guinea in the opening match of the 2023 Mirxes Nations Cup at OCBC Arena Hall 1 on Sunday (22 October)
The visitors held 42-35 lead after three quarters, before the hosts launched a tremendous fightback in the final quarter, erasing the deficit and even holding a brief 45-44 lead. However, errors allowed Papua New Guinea to regain their advantage and secure their victory.
Singapore's A team, which predominantly comprises players aged 23 and under, also lost narrowly 50-53 to Cook Islands, the highest-ranked side of the tournament. Despite Singapore taking a 41-40 advantage into the fourth quarter, Cook Islands' veteran experience showed as they controlled the final quarter to pull out the victory.
In Sunday's other match, Canada defeated Sri Lanka 50-46 in their first international match in three years.
Mixed doubles shuttlers lose in Abu Dhabi Masters final
Singapore's Commonwealth Games gold-winning mixed doubles shuttlers Terry Hee and Jessica Tan came up short in their bid to win the Abu Dhabi Masters tournament on Sunday (22 October), as they fell 22-20, 17-21, 18-21 to Denmark’s Mads Vestergaard and Christine Busch in the final.
The married couple were seeking their third BWF World Tour mixed doubles title win, and their first since winning the gold medals in Birmingham in 2022. However, the world No.28 pair will have to settle for ranking points in their bid to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Their next competition is this week's French Open and they face Scotland’s 40th-ranked Adam Hall and Julie MacPherson in the first round.
Tickets on sale for Singapore vs Thailand World Cup qualifier
With Singapore advancing to the second round of the 2026 Fifa World Cup Asian zone qualifiers after beating Guam 3-1 on aggregate in their first-round tie, they will be facing South Korea, China and Thailand in Group C in this round.
The Lions will kick off the group matches with an away tie against South Korea on 16 November, before hosting Thailand at the National Stadium on 21 November. The fixtures will resume during the March and June international windows next year.
Ticket sales for the match against Thailand can be purchased via the FAS and Sistic websites, and an early bird promotion period will run until 29 October, during which fans can purchase adult tickets at a discounted price of $15 each and concession tickets at $6 each. A special family bundle promotion will also be offered during this period, where fans can purchase two adult tickets and two concession tickets at $36.
Following the conclusion of both the early bird and family bundle promotions, ticket prices will revert to $25 for adults and $10 for concessions. Each person is allowed to purchase a maximum of 12 tickets per transaction, across any category.
Singapore’s World Cup qualifying fixtures - 16 November: South Korea (away). 21 November: Thailand (home). 21 March: China (home). 26 March: China (away). 6 June: South Korea (home). 11 June: Thailand (away).
Teen race driver Christian Ho wins 2nd Spanish Formula 4 race
Singaporean teenage race driver Christian Ho clinched his second win of the 2023 Spanish Formula 4 championship in Valencia on Sunday (15 October), rising to second in the drivers’ championship with just one round of racing to go.
The 16-year-old Campos Racing driver made a great start at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, after championship leader and pole sitter Théophile Naël’s car appeared to stall at the start. After taking the lead, Ho produced a brilliant drive to claim the chequered flag in 25min 54.987sec, with an extra point earned for the fastest lap.
Ho’s latest victory comes after a series of podium finishes in his second Spanish F4 season and an earlier breakthrough when he clinched his first win in May. The title will now be decided in the season finale at the iconic Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on 11 and 12 November, with Ho poised to improve on his 13th position last year.
Ho had moved to Milan to train in 2018, and became the first Asian to win a race in the Deutsche Kart Meisterschaft (DKM) German Karting Championship series at age 12. He made the step up to F4 racing last year, and will be in the Eurocup-3 series next season with Campos Racing.
Lion City Sailors beat Tanjong Pagar 4-1 in Singapore Cup
The Lion City Sailors put themselves in the driver's seat in advancing to the Singapore Cup semi-finals, after a 4-1 win over nine-man Tanjong Pagar United in their Group B tie at the Bishan Stadium on Saturday (21 October).
Singapore international Shawal Anuar scored a second-half hat-trick (68th, 78th and 93rd minutes) to seal victory, after Tanjong Pagar's Muhammad Naiquidin had cancelled out Diego Lopes' 13th-minute opener in the 27th minute. The visitors had Australia midfielder Blake Ricciuto as well as Tajeli Salamat sent off in the second half.
With the victory, the Sailors are top of Group B with two wins and a massive plus-10 goal difference, which puts them in good stead to advance to the final four, with second-placed Hougang United and third-placed Tanjong Pagar having far inferior goal difference. Hougang, the defending champions, had beaten last-placed Balestier Khalsa 3-2 at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday.
In Group A, Brunei's DPMM FC came from a goal down to defeat 10-man Geylang International 4-1 at Our Tampines Hub on Sunday, while Albirex Niigata (Singapore) eased to a 2-0 victory over Young Lions at Jurong East Stadium.
Singapore promoted in Davis Cup after beating Kyrgyzstan
Singapore's national men's tennis team beat Kyrgyzstan 2-0 in the Davis Cup Group 4 Asia/Oceania Zone promotion play-off in Antalya, Turkey, thus earning promotion to Group 3 on Saturday (21 October).
Shaheed Alam won the first singles match, defeating Mirgiiaz Mirdzhaliev 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, before Roy Hobbs sealed the tie by beating Ilgiz Kamchibekov 6-4, 6-2. With an unassailable 2-0 lead, the doubles match did not need to be played.
The Singapore team - which also included Jerall Yasin, Michael Jimenez, Steve Ng and captain Daniel Heryanto - had started their 2023 campaign with a 1-2 loss to Syria last Wednesday, but recovered with 3-0 victories over the United Arab Emirates and Iraq to finished second in their group and enter the play-off tie.
They last played in Group 3 in 2019 but were relegated to Group 4 that year. Singapore have also reached Group 2 on multiple occasions, the most recent being in 1997.
SAQ launches Performance Development Centre programme
Singapore Aquatics (SAQ) has launched its Performance Development Centre (PDC) programme, which hopes to help aquatic clubs in Singapore have better access to facilities on longer-term leases.
Partnerships under the PDC programme aim to establish an ecosystem through extended facility bookings, increase involvement through partnerships with stakeholders, maintain the high quality of aquatic programs, and reinforce coach development. In total, about 40 of SAQ’s affiliate clubs could potentially benefit from the programme.
The move to implement the PDC comes in the wake of a 2020 Portas Consulting survey commissioned by SAQ, which found that there was low utilisation of Olympic-size pools in Singapore, due to restricted access for the majority of the pools.
The first partner of the programme is Hwa Chong International School (HCIS), which will enable AquaTech Swimming Club the use of HCIS’ swimming pool for a two-year term. In return, AquaTech will pay a monthly rental for the venue and also assist HCIS with internal aquatics programme and competitions.
The PDC programme was launched on Thursday (19 October) with a swim clinic by Hangzhou Asian Games silver medallist and AquaTech swimmer Teong Tzen Wei for his younger club mates. Also assisting with the clinic were fellow AquaTech and national swimmers Ashley Lim, Zackery Tay and Glen Lim.
F1 Academy series to race on Singapore GP weekend
Singapore's Marina Bay street circuit was announced on Wednesday (18 October) as one of the race venues for the 2024 season of the Formula 1 Academy all-women series.
The second season of the series will feature seven rounds, all of which will be support series to the F1 races next year. It will begin in Saudi Arabia on 7 March and finish in Abu Dhabi on 8 December, with Singapore hosting the race series for the first time on 20 to 22 September.
The calendar has been designed to span three continents, Europe, Asia, and North America, and will feature a mix of street circuits and traditional circuits. The F1 Academy will be supported by all 10 F1 teams, which will provide a driver each to the series and have their livery on the cars.
Sunset Paddle event saw 210 participants
The first Sunset Paddle event - organised by People's Association PAssion Wave@Marina Bay together with PAssion Wave Outreach Committee@Central Singapore - was held at Marina Bay on Sunday evening (22 October).
The event saw 210 participants paddling in dragonboats and kayaks to visit iconic landmarks along Marina Bay and the Singapore skyline as the sun set. With PAssion Wave@Marina Bay as the starting and ending point, the paddle route took participants to landmarks such as the Merlion, Singapore Flyer and Customs House.
During their paddle, participants were also treated to a narration of the history and stories of the river by accompanying tour guides from Indie Singapore.
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