WEEKLY ROUND-UP: Sports happenings in Singapore (24-30 Jul)

Swimmers break 3 national records, world No.1 cyclist to take part in S'pore Criterium, Lions to play Guam in World Cup qualifier

(From left) Swimming national record-breakers Gan Ching Hwee and Letitia Sim, and Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar. (PHOTOS: Reuters/ASO/Pauline Ballet)
(From left) Swimming national record-breakers Gan Ching Hwee and Letitia Sim, and Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar. (PHOTOS: Reuters/ASO/Pauline Ballet)

SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (24 to 30 July):

World No.1 Pogacar to take part in Singapore Criterium

World No.1 cyclist and two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar is the first rider to be confirmed for the second edition of the Tour de France Prudential Singapore Criterium from 28 to 29 October.

The 24-year-old Slovenian came in second in this year's Tour de France behind Jonas Vingegaard, and has registered wins at the Vuelta a Andalucia, Ronde Van Vlaanderen, Amstel Gold Race and La Fleche Wallonne to be the runaway leader atop the UCI world rankings.

Pogacar is set for his Singapore debut in a new race route around Suntec City, which will feature its iconic Fountain of Wealth. The 3km street circuit will see 32 top cyclists from eight of the world’s best professional teams set off from Temasek Boulevard for a 90-minute race.

Tickets for the Singapore Criterium will be available from 18 August. Doors will open at 3pm on 28 October with the Criterium team presentation at 5pm. The main race will kick off on 29 October at 4pm with an afterparty at 6.30pm at the Fountain of Wealth.

Amateur cyclists and enthusiasts will have an opportunity to participate in Prudential Singapore’s PRURide Seeker's Criterium. Registration will commence on 1 August.

Three swimming national records broken in a week

National swimmers Gan Ching Hwee and Letitia Sim broke national records at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka over the past week.

Gan, 20, smashed her own women's 1,500m freestyle national record during the heats on Monday (24 July). She clocked 16min 20.88sec, nearly 11 seconds faster than her previous national mark of 16:30.48 set three months ago in Illinois. Her timing placed her in 14th place, fourth-best among Asian swimmers.

Sim, also 20, rewrote her own women's 200m breaststroke national record with a 2:27.73 effort during the heats on Thursday. She bettered her previous mark of 2:27.91 set at last month's National Swimming Championships, and her new mark placed her 22nd in the overall standings, third-best among Asian competitors.

Another Singapore swimmer, Nicholas Mahabir, broke his own men's 100m breaststroke national record on Saturday at the 2023 US Pro Championships in Irvine, California. He becomes the first Singaporean to go under the one-minute mark in the event, clocking 59.96sec to beat his previous mark of 1:00.07.

Lions kick off World Cup qualifying against Guam

The Singapore national men's football team will kick off their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign with a two-legged tie against Guam in October. The Lions are ranked No.158 in the Fifa world rankings, while Guam are No.205.

The draw for the first and second preliminary rounds of the Asian qualifiers were made in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday (27 July), and the Lions are set to play Guam at home on 12 October, before travelling to Guam for the return leg on 17 October.

Should Singapore defeat Guam over the two legs, they will advance into the second preliminary round, where they will face with South Korea, China and Thailand in Group C. These qualifiers will be held from November to next June, and the top two sides will progress to the third prelim round, as well as qualify for the 2027 Asian Cup.

The Lions will play friendlies at home against Tajikistan (8 September) and Taiwan (12 September) ahead of their qualifying campaign.

Meanwhile, the national women's football team are drawn together with North Korea and Cambodia for their Asian Games competition, which will begin in September in Hangzhou.

60 bodybuilders compete at Singapore Regional Natural Classic

Over 60 bodybuilders competed in nine amateur and 13 pro-qualifier divisions at the Singapore Regional Natural Classic bodybuilding competition at Lasalle College of The Arts on 22 July.

Jointly-organised by Fitness Movement and Singapore Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness Movement Federation, the event saw athletes from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Philippines, China, Malaysia, India and Singapore taking part.

Here is the list of Pro Card winners: Wee Jian Le (men's classic physique open), Casey Windsor (women's figure open, women's figure masters (40+), women's figure classic open, women's figure classic Masters (40+)), Marian Hards (women's bodybuilding open, women's bodybuilding masters (40+)), Ken Ross (men's classic physique masters (40+)), Sebastian Ong (men's physique open, men's sports model open), Chin Wei Jian (men's bodybuilding open), Alex Javier (men's bodybuilding grand masters (50+)), Michael Ker (men's physique masters (40+))

With the success of the event, INBA PNBA world president Denny Kakos has commissioned the event organisers to hold the INBA Asia Pacific Championships next May. This championship will be a Natural Olympia qualifier.

4 para-swimmers to compete at World Championships

Four para swimmers - Colin Soon, Sophie Soon, Toh Wei Soong and Yip Pin Xiu - are in Manchester competing at the 2023 World Para Swimming Championships, which has the sport’s first direct slots to the 2024 Paralympic Games.

Taking place from 31 July to 6 August, the event features over 546 para swimmers from 67 nations vying for one of the 270 direct qualification slots on offer for the Paris Paralympics. The top-two ranked athletes in each individual medal event will earn the slots for their country.

Yip will be seeking to retain her titles at the Championships in the women’s S2 backstroke 50m and 100m events. Toh, the Commonwealth Games silver medalist, Toh Wei Soong, made his Paralympic debut in Tokyo 2020 and will be eager to earn a trip to his second Paralympic Games.

The Soon siblings achieved their qualifications to the World Championships at the World Para Swimming World Series Singapore leg in May. Sophie set a new Asian record in the women’s SB12 breaststroke 100m event at the 2022 World Para Swimming Championships, while Colin, 18, came in fourth in men’s S12 backstroke 100m and breaststroke 100m events in his World Championships debut last year.

GetActive! Singapore begins at OCBC Square

Over 1,000 people participated in the opening of the eighth edition of the GetActive! Singapore (GASG) at the OCBC Square of the Singapore Sports Hub on Saturday (29 July), held in conjunction with the Civil Service Club Public Service Sports and Family Day.

The GASG is an annual national-day celebration through sport, and will take place from 29 July to 9 August. This edition will see the addition of the Heartland Festivals, a partnership between the National Day Parade and Sport Singapore, as well as the Majulah Fiesta, an event jointly organised by SportSG and Kallang Alive Sport Management.

These collaborations will offer sports try-outs, competitions, performances, and activities suitable for all ages and abilities, across selected ActiveSG Sport Centres and the Singapore Sports Hub, among other locations.

4 athletes in Singapore Para Athletes Commission

Four athletes will be representing the Singapore Para Athletes Commission (SPAC) for the term from 2023 to 2027. They are: boccia athlete Nurulasyiqah Taha (chairperson), para-swimmer Toh Wei Soong (vice-chairperson), para-equestrian athlete Maximillian Tan (honorary secretary) and deaf bowler Adelia Naomi Yokoyama (member).

The SPAC will serve as the collective voice of para-athletes in Singapore and seek to represent their interests and views. They will also provide input into decision-making so that para-athletes train and compete within a supportive and transparent system.

SPAC members will also be the link between Singapore National Paralympic Council, Singapore Disability Sports Council and Singapore para-athletes.

Chairperson Nurulasyiqah plans to conduct a needs assessment survey of her fellow para-athletes to better understand them and identify areas where SPAC can support them or connect them with relevant resources.

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