WEEKLY ROUND-UP: Sports happenings in Singapore (6-12 Dec)

Sun Yingsha (left) and Fan Zhendong with their trophies after winning the women's and men's singles competition respectively at the WTT Cup Finals at the OCBC Arena in Singapore.
Sun Yingsha (left) and Fan Zhendong with their trophies after winning the women's and men's singles competition respectively at the WTT Cup Finals at the OCBC Arena in Singapore. (PHOTO: Then Chih Wey/Xinhua via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (6 to 12 December):

Fan Zhendong, Sun Yingsha clinch WTT Cup Finals titles in Singapore

China paddlers Fan Zhendong and Sun Yingsha clinched the men's and women's singles titles respectively at the inaugural World Table Tennis (WTT) Cup Finals at the OCBC Arena on Tuesday (7 December).

Men's world No.1 Fan, who was also recently crowned world champion, defeated Japanese world No. 5 Tomokazu Harimoto 4-1 (11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5) in the final.

Meanwhile, women's world No.2 Sun bounced back from the twin disappointments of losing in both the Tokyo Olympics and the world championships women's singles finals by beating compatriot Wang Yidi 4-2 (11-3, 17-15, 11-6, 7-11, 6-11, 11-8) for the WTT crown.

The four-day tournament marked the return of international table tennis to Singapore after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost 700 accredited personnel were subject to regular antigen rapid tests and players remained in a bubble while in Singapore. WTT said that one operation staff member returned a positive test.

Para-athletes in second-best haul at Asian Youth Para Games

Singapore para-athletes achieved their second-best medal haul at the Asian Youth Para Games (AYPG), after winning five golds, three silvers and two bronzes at the fourth edition of the Games, which concluded in Bahrain on Monday (7 December).

Swimmer Colin Soon was the best performer with four golds, three personal-best times and two national records. After winning three golds last week, the 16-year-old added the S11-13 100m freestyle (men's 12-16 age category) gold on Monday, winning in a national-record time of 1min 2sec.

Fellow swimmer Darren Chan won his second bronze at the Games as he swam a personal-best time of 2:42.80 in the SM14 200m individual medley (men's 17-18) race.

Boccia athletes Aloysius Gan and Yan Jia Yi clinched a silver medal in the BC3 mixed pair competition. They defeated Saudi Arabia 5-1 and Iran 9-2 defeat, but lost to Thailand 3-7 to settle for second spot.

Marc Brian Louis smashes U-20 100m record with stellar effort

Sprinter Marc Brian Louis broke the national Under-20 100m record at the Club Zoom Kindred Spirit Series event at the Home of Athletics on Saturday (11 December), clocking a superb time of 10.39 seconds to erase Calvin Kang's 13-year record of 10.53sec.

The record-breaking time was just 0.02sec shy of the senior national record of 10.37sec, set by U.K. Shyam back in 2001. It was also 0.04sec off the 2019 SEA Games winning time of 10.35sec by Malaysia's Muhammad Haiqal Hanafi.

It was the second time Louis had broken a U-20 national record this year, after he set the 110m hurdles record with a 13.77sec effort at the World Athletics U-20 Championships in Nairobi in August.

Singapore youth paddlers Ser Lin Qian and Izaac Quek with their bronze medals at the ITTF World Youth Championships. (PHOTO: Singapore Table Tennis Association)
Singapore youth paddlers Ser Lin Qian and Izaac Quek with their bronze medals at the ITTF World Youth Championships. (PHOTO: Singapore Table Tennis Association)

Bronzes for youth paddlers at ITTF World Championships

Singapore youth paddlers Izaac Quek and Ser Lin Qian clinched three bronze medals at the ITTF World Youth Championships, which was held from 2 to 8 December in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.

Izaac had beaten Portugal's Tiago Abiodun 4-1 in the round of 16 and Belgium's Tom Closset 4-0 in the quarter-finals of the Under-15 boys' singles competition. However, he lost 0-4 to Japan's Sora Matsushima and settled for the bronze medal.

Meanwhile, Lin Qian defeated Belarus' Veranika Varabyova 4-2 in the round of 16 of the U-15 girls' singles event, then beat Germany's Annet Kaufmann 4-2 in the quarter-finals. However, she too succumbed in the semi-finals, losing 1-4 to Japan's Miwa Harimoto.

Izaac teamed up with Taiwan's Chang Yu-an in the U-15 boys' doubles event, defeating Brazil's Leonardo Iizuka Kenzo and the United States' Nandan Naresh 3-1 in the quarter-finals. They lost their semi-final tie against Sora and France's Felix Lebraun 0-3 to settle for the bronze.

Meanwhile, Clarence Chew also clinched a bronze medal in the men's doubles competition at the World Table Tennis Feeder tournament held in Dusseldorf, Germany from 7 to 10 December.

He had teamed up with Austria's Alexander Chen to reach the semi-finals after defeating the pair of Callum Evans (Wales) and Sarun Yingyuenyong (Thailand) 3-1 in the quarter-finals. However, Chew and Chen were beaten 1-3 in the semi-finals by Japan's Yuta Tanaka and Jo Yokotani.

Xavier Teo, Charmaine Chang clinch Open titles at national bowling championships

National bowlers Xavier Teo and Charmaine Chang clinched their first-ever Open titles at the Singapore National and National Youth Championships at the Temasek Club on Saturday (11 December).

Teo, 20, had qualified fourth for the Men's Open step-ladder finals, and had to beat Muhammad Danial Zheng Yi and Cheah Ray Han before reaching the grand final, where he defeated Isaac Ngin 257-182.

Chang, 22, also had to beat Arianne Tay and Charlene Lim in the Women's Open step-ladder finals, before narrowly defeating Colleen Pee 236-232 in the grand final.

The competition made its return after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and featured 738 bowlers across various age categories.

Men's floorballers finish last at World Championship for 5th straight time

Singapore's men's national floorball team finished last at the World Championship for the fifth consecutive time, after a winless campaign in Helsinki which ended in a 2-4 defeat by the United States on Wednesday (8 December).

While the world No.16 side began the competition with a narrow 8-9 loss to world No.11 Canada, they suffered a shock defeat by world No.34 Philippines (4-9), before losing to both 10th-ranked Estonia (2-13) and 14th-ranked Thailand (6-11).

The US defeat also marked veteran player Syazni Ramlee's final game for the national team.

SingaCup competition, activities to be held from 15 to 19 December

The SingaCup youth football competition will be held in Singapore from 15 to 19 December, and features a lineup of both physical and virtual activities such as in-person football matches, online FIFA matches, celebrity FIFA face-offs and meet and greet sessions with renowned football players and coaches.

The event will see the return of in-person football through 4v4 youth football matches and football day camps. The 4v4 matches will take place on 18 and 19 December at The Cage Sports Park, and there will be three categories available – Under-14, Under-16 and Open (girls only).

The SingaCup will also organise football camps for youths aged 13 to 17. These camps are open to youths of all abilities, including those with special needs. An additional all-inclusive camp for youths with special needs will also be organised in collaboration with SingaChamps, which provides sports and arts training to youths with autism.

The event will also include an online FIFA competition with two categories – an individual 1v1 category and a 11v11 team category. Winners of the 1v1 FIFA category will stand a chance at winning from a cash prize pool of $1,120 while teams in the 11v11 category will compete for a pool of $2,000.

Fans can also be entertained by the likes of Haneri (Daphne Khoo), Iryan Fandi, Zaiful Nizam, and more during the celebrity face off as they battle it out to uncover the best FIFA player among them. There will also be an online question-and-answer session, as well as meet-and-greet sessions with Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Cho So Hyun, Lyon defender Ellie Carpenter and West Ham Women's U-21 coach Stephen Opoka.

To catch the exciting lineup of programmes and matches, viewers can head over to SingaCup’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Opening of Global Sports Innovation Center

The Global Sports Innovation Center Powered by Microsoft (GSIC) opened its Asia-Pacific headquarters at the Singapore Sports Hub on Tuesday (7 December), welcoming businesses to develop innovation projects and share knowledge and expertise in the sports industry.

GSIC will provide world class resources and support for sports organisations, government agencies, educational institutions, and entrepreneurs in accelerating the growth of the local sports tech ecosystem, as well as support digital transformation of the local sports entities.

It will focus on seven areas: applied research, innovation and training; business network; start-ups and companies; solutions showcase; Microsoft Partners solutions; digital transformation advisory services; and sport for good.

Sport Singapore also announced that the third wave of the Enterprise Innovation and Capability Development Grant is open for applications. GSIC will form part of the assessment of this panel to identify potential trailblazers for the sport tech world.

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