SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (11 to 17 January):
National shuttlers taste defeats in first competition in 10 months
Singapore’s top female shuttler Yeo Jia Min was beaten by world No. 5 Ratchanok Intanon 15-21, 15-21 in the opening round of the women’s singles competition at the Yonex Thailand Open on Wednesday (13 January).
The competition marked the first competitive action for Singapore’s national badminton players over 10 months, after the COVID-19 pandemic had forced events worldwide to be cancelled or postponed.
All the shuttlers exited in the first round, although they ran their opponents close in each match. Men’s world No. 38 Loh Kean Yew narrowly lost to Indonesia’s Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie 21-13, 10-21, 16-21, while the women’s doubles pair of Crystal Wong and Jin Yujia were beaten 21-12, 15-21, 18-21 by Thailand's Laksika Kanlaha and Atitaya Povanon.
The quartet will remain in Bangkok this week for the Toyota Thailand Open. Yeo is drawn to meet Indonesia's world No. 35 Ruselli Hartawan, while Low faces Thailand's three-time world junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn. Wong and Jin will come up against Denmark's Alexandra Boje and Mette Poulsen.
SSA hires Japan’s Kan Aoyagi as national water polo head coach
The Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) has appointed Japan’s Kan Aoyagi as the new men’s national water polo head coach. The 40-year-old will replaced Serbian Dejan Milakovic, who will leave in February following the end of his tenure.
Aoyagi is currently the general manager and head coach of the Bourbon Water Polo Club Kashiwazaki, and was head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams at the Niigata Sangyo University Water Polo Club from 2010 to 2017.
As a player, he was the youngest player to be called up to the Japanese national team in 1998. He won the silver medal with Japan at the 2002 and 2006 Asian Games, and captained the team to the bronze medal in the 2010 Asian Games.
He played professionally in Europe from 1999 to 2009, and was the top scorer and most valuable player for Italy’s ASD Bergamo Nuoto team in the Italian Second Division in 2005.
Aoyagi’s appointment follows SSA’s recent hiring of Australian Paul Oberman as the technical director for water polo, with the aim of regaining the SEA Games gold medal this year and attaining an Asian Games podium finish by 2030.
Temasek Foundation Inspire Fund accepting applications from athletes
Sport Singapore (SportSG) and National Youth Sport Institute (NYSI) is accepting applications for the Temasek Foundation Inspire Fund (TFIF), in support of promising athletes who aspire to represent Singapore at international competitions that may resume this year.
Made possible through the E W Barker Endowment, Temasek Foundation will contribute $100,000 annually towards the TFIF to provide more opportunities to athletes who are not supported by the existing grants or funding support.
There will be two grant calls in a year for the Fund, where up to $50,000 per call will be awarded to shortlisted applicants, and they will be evaluated based on the level of competition as well as performance and track record.
Potential athletes may apply as an individual or as a team. While funding levels will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, the qualifying costs taken into consideration can comprise airfare, accommodation, registration fees, visa fees, and travel insurance.
The application period for the first grant call is from 13 January to 12 February. The next application period will be announced in the second half of the year.
ONE Championship announces first event of 2021 on 22 January
Mixed martial arts fight company ONE Championship will broadcast its first event of the year, ONE: Unbreakable, live from Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday (22 January).
The main event will feature reigning ONE bantamweight kickboxing world champion, Russia’s Alaverdi Ramazanov, defending his title against No. 2-ranked contender Capitan Petchyindee Academy of Thailand. In the co-main event, James Nakashima of the United States makes his lightweight debut against former ONE lightweight world champion Shinya Aoki of Japan.
Other bouts include: Serbia’s Rade Opacic vs Switzerland’s Patrick Schmid, Sweden’s Zebaztian Kadestam vs Russia’s Gadzhimurad Abdulaev, China’s Meng Bo vs Brazil’s Samara Santos, and China’s Hexigetu vs the Philippines’ Lito Adiwang.
The promotion will continue to offer 250 special in-person “Superfan” ticket packages priced at $148 each, which come with premium, socially distanced seating and selected merchandise.
Meanwhile, ONE Championship also announced that ONE: Unbreakable II and ONE: Unbreakable III events will also take place at the Indoor Stadium, airing on 29 January and 5 February respectively.
The first event features a main-event showdown between Italy’s Mauro Cerilli and Russia’s Abdulbasir Vagabov, and the promotional debut of Senegal’s Oumar Kane against Hong Kong's Alain Ngalani.
ONE: Unbreakable III is headlined by Thailand’s Stamp Fairtex who faces newcomer Alyona Rassohyna of Ukraine. In the co-main event, Japan’s Shoko Sato takes on Brazil’s Fabricio Andrade.
Fitness First launches two workouts for the new year
Fitness First Singapore has launched H20 Flow and H20 HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts for the new year.
Members can build core strength and endurance through a series of yoga sequences for H20 Flow, and to improve their strength and stability with 30 minutes of cardio and resistance type movements for H20 HIIT while balancing and having fun on water.
It is offering the MyFit membership option that allows members to customise their gym experience, with the flexibility to choose a gym near to both their homes and/or offices, so that they can work around their work-from-home schedules and stay active.
The membership option started at Fitness First Tampines in October last year, before rolling out to all Fitness First clubs last month.
FitFest 2021 launched by HealthifyMe
Singapore-based healthcare start-up HealthifyMe has launched FitFest 2021, a month-long health and fitness virtual event to help its users kickstart the year on a positive note.
Over 200,000 users worldwide have signed up for the virtual festival, which is open to both existing and new users, and will run till 31 January on the HealthifyMe app, available free to download from both the App Store and Google Play.
FitFest features content on health, nutrition and wellness, as well as a series of games, exercise routines and interactive activities to encourage users to live healthier lifestyles. The event also aims to celebrate the achievements of HealthifyMe members and coaches by sharing their inspirational personal stories of weight loss and body transformation.
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