WEEKLY ROUND-UP: Sports happenings in Singapore (23-29 Jan)
SPL to introduce VAR for new season, SFA Fiesta at Sports Hub, and Netball Nations Cup gets title sponsor
SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (23 to 29 January):
SPL to introduce VAR for upcoming season
The 2023 Singapore Premier League (SPL) season will kick off on 19 February with the Community Shield match between reigning champions Albirex Niigata (Singapore) and Singapore Cup winners Hougang United.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said in a media release on Friday (28 January) that the video assistant referee (VAR) technology will feature for the first time in the SPL, after it was given the green light to utilise the technology upon passing a final assessment by FIFA.
The new SPL season will revert to a triple round-robin format, where each of the nine teams will play 24 matches – 12 home and 12 away.
The season will also see the return of Brunei DPMM FC, who have been unable to participate due to COVID-19 travel restrictions since their mid-season withdrawal in the 2020 season.
Three SPL clubs will be based at home venues different from the previous season. Balestier Khalsa will share the upgraded Bishan Stadium with the Lion City Sailors, while Hougang United will shift back to Jalan Besar Stadium, which they will share with the Young Lions.
From this upcoming season, the Young Lions will be allowed to register between 20 to 40 players, three of whom may be foreign or overaged Singaporean players. They announced on Saturday that they have signed former Albirex players Jun Kobayashi and Kan Kobayashi.
SFA Fiesta kicks off new year of Unleash The Roar! project
The Unleash The Roar! national football project kicked off the new year with the School Football Academy (SFA) Fiesta at the Singapore Sports Hub on Saturday (28 January). About 200 student-athletes from the SFA programme, which is run in 12 schools, experienced the thrill of playing on the pitch of the iconic National Stadium in an inter-SFA 8v8 tournament.
Players from the newly-introduced girls’ SFAs – Methodist Girls’ School and Woodlands Secondary School – were also in action. Both schools are new additions to the SFA programme this year
Guests at the SFA Fiesta enjoyed a wide variety of activities, such as an exclusive tour of the dressing rooms at the National Stadium and a sports science booth with agility tests for all to try.
The SFAs were officially launched in 2022, and serve as a key pipeline to produce technically sound footballers. Among the key features of the programme are increased training frequencies, the incorporation of sports science with training, and opportunities to train and compete overseas.
Local company MiRXES named title sponsor for Netball Nations Cup
Netball Singapore has received a boost, with home-grown biotechnology company MiRXES coming onboard as a title sponsor for the 2023 and 2024 editions of the Nations Cup.
As part of the sponsorship, MiRXES will also be providing health screening for national netballers at its Early Medical Centre. The baseline screening will enable the players to optimise their body for performance, as well as take action with customisable plans around unique needs and lifestyles.
The 2023 MiRXES Nations Cup will be held from 22 to 28 October and will be one of the highlights on an active calendar for the Singapore national team, who will be competing in the Netball World Cup, which will be held in South Africa from 28 July to 6 August. After the Nations Cup, Singapore will also feature in the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Bangkok in November.
G4D Tour event at Singapore Classic
Singapore will be hosting the first G4D Tour (Golf for the Disabled Tour) event in Asia, with the G4D Tour @ Singapore Classic taking place from 6 to 7 February alongside the Singapore Classic at Laguna National Golf Resort Club.
The tournament is the third of eight stops announced for 2023 as part of the G4D Tour’s expanded global schedule. England’s Kipp Popert, a four-time winner in the inaugural 2022 season, will be taking part in the competition, as well as lead a clinic with youths from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore.
Each G4D Tour event is open to amateurs and professional players of all eligible impairments. For 2023, players will be able to qualify from both their ranking on the gross division of the World Ranking for Golfers with a Disability (WR4GD) and events on the European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA) Tour.
Pedalfest Singapore at Sports Hub
The Pedalfest Singapore cycling lifestyle festival will be held on 11 and 12 February at the Singapore Sports Hub, and will be host to events such as cycling films, health and wellness talks, upcycling workshops and spin challenges.
Headlining the packed programme is Azmi Hussin, more popularly known as ME, a famous cartoonist, caricaturist, illustrator and muralist hailing from Penang. Known online for his inspirational TED talk, Azmi will be using his BMX flatland skills to create a new abstract art piece.
Festive-goers can also sign up for CycleFightClub – a daily eCycling tournament - where riders compete one-on-one using smart trainers. Each day, 32 shortlisted riders will compete in a single-elimination tournament, with the last person standing winning $500 cash and an expenses-paid trip to an overseas cycling event.
There will be a screening of "MAMIL (Middle Age Men in Lycra)", a documentary about why white-collar professionals transform into lycra-clad road warriors every weekend. Narrated by cycling commentator Phil Liggett, the film tries to uncover why middle-aged men are so passionate about riding expensive carbon bikes.
A day-pass to Pedalfest Singapore costs $38 and comes with a complimentary pack worth over $50 including a limited edition T-shirt.
beIN Sports secures exclusive F1 broadcast rights
Media company beIN Sports announced on Thursday (26 January) that it has secured exclusive rights to the Formula 1 World Championships in 10 territories across Asia, including Singapore.
The other territories included in the agreement are Hong Kong, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Philippines, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.
The new media rights agreement begins this year and runs until the conclusion of the 2025 championship which will include rights to all F1 Grands Prix, sprint races, qualifying and practice sessions.
F1's coverage on beIN Sports channels will be available on major pay-TV platforms in the region, including on beIN's live streaming app.
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