Sunday, 16 December 2012

Singapore, Sportmanship, Pride

It has been a busy week of sports this week! Just last weekend, I was at the Jurong East Sports Hall, watching the National Wushu and Sanda Championship. Then throughout the week, the Singapore Hockey ladies were involved in the Women’s AHF Cup. Not to forget, our National Football team was in action in the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals against the Philippines.

First up, at the Wushu and Sanda Championship, nothing surprising happened. In fact, most of the national athletes were not involved in the championship as they were away in China for training. Looking at the results, without the national athletes, the standards seemed to be dropping. I can say that even the winners in their events would not even get an earshot into the national team. 

Other than Wushu, I also witnessed the Sanda finals, which is a form of free contact sparring in Chinese martial arts’ terms. The competitors in the finals did put up a good fight and you could actually see the intensity and fighting spirit in each of the competitors. The downside was before the finals, there were quite a few competitors who decided to walkover and not compete. It is a shame actually if you are looking in terms of sportsmanship. That would not be comparable to what I’ve actually witness during one of the weight category finals. On both sides were actually pretty young competitors who couldn’t be more than 20 years old. They were putting up a good fight on the arena with punches that connected, swift kicks and the intensity to floor each other down. The black side actually won the first round marginally while the red won the next. With the next round being the rubber, a general sensing would be the red side could be victorious as he looked fitter, stronger and faster. But then he lost, with the black side gaining a surprising victory. The non-sportsman like behavior was actually displayed during the match by the red side’s coaches. They looked and sounded from China and they kept shouting out instructions animatedly to their young charge, except that the instructions were literally translated into English, “Kill him! Kick him down! His down, don’t give him a chance! Beat him to death!” wise choice of words by these coaches, which I suspect piqued the black side to be even more focus and scored the victory. Even more un-sportsman-like, the victor went to the red’s coaches for handshake and was duly ignored. Now, is that what we want of coaches teaching at the grassroot development level? What would the athlete become in the future?

Due to busy schedule, only managed to make a trip to Sengkang Hockey stadium on Wednesday, for the Singapore Pakistan match. Singapore simply had to win this game to have any chance of finishing in the top 4, having drawn the first match and lost the next 2. The Pakistan men are world beaters in hockey, but their ladies are just starting out. Playing against our ladies, they actually put up quite a good showing in the first half and did took the lead before falling 4-2 by half time. Had to leave by half time to rush home for the 2nd half of the Singapore Philippines match! The Singapore Pakistan match eventually finished 4-2, however that was not enough for Singapore. They went on to draw their next match with Thailand and will only play in the 5th-6th position match, with Pakistan again. Good luck ladies!

On the same day, Singapore Lions were playing against the Azkals. Managed to watch the 2nd half on TV, where the Lions were already leading 1-0. They held on to the lead and qualified for the Finals eventually. As the 3-time champion, they will be facing another 3-time champion in Thailand. Thailand seemed to have found resurgence in form and is definitely the favorite for the final. With the prestige of being the only nation to win the championship 4 times, I guess both countries would not take each other lightly. If Singapore are able to stick to their usual tactical discipline, they should be able to give Thailand a run for their money. Just another point to note, I did not watch any of their 3 group games and their 1st leg semi-final and only the 2nd half of the 2nd leg. The Lions had qualified for the finals! Hopefully this is not a charm because I will definitely want to watch the finals at all cost!

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