WEEKLY ROUND-UP: Sports happenings in Singapore (13-19 Feb)

VAR used at Community Shield, para-swimmers win golds in Melbourne, Singapore Sevens to return in April

Albirex Niigata (Singapore) celebrate winning the Community Shield with their fans. (PHOTO: Albirex Niigata/Facebook)
Albirex Niigata (Singapore) celebrate winning the Community Shield with their fans. (PHOTO: Albirex Niigata/Facebook)

SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (13 to 19 February):

Albirex Niigata open SPL season with 3-0 Community Shield win

The 2023 Singapore Premier League (SPL) season opened with the traditional Community Shield match on Sunday (19 February), with reigning champions Albirex Niigata (Singapore) beating Singapore Cup winners Hougang United 3-0 at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology was employed for the first time in a competitive match in Singapore, and it proved a key contributor in two of Albirex's goals.

In the 57th minute, Hougang defender Naoki Kuriyama was adjudged to have barged into Albirex midfielder Kaisei Ogawa in the penalty area, following a lengthy VAR review. Seia Kunori converted the resulting penalty.

Albirex added their second in the 72nd minute, when Shodai Yokoyama pounced to head home after Hougang goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam parried away Ogawa's shot. The effort was initially disallowed for offside, but following another VAR review, referee Jansen Foo correctly gave the goal.

Barely two minutes later, Albirex completed the score when substitute Riku Fukashiro slammed home from just inside the box after eluding a defender.

Para-swimmers earn 3 golds, 4 bronzes in World Series Melbourne

Singapore's para-swimmers returned a haul of three golds, four bronzes and multiple personal bests from the Citi Para Swimming World Series 2023 in Melbourne from Friday to Sunday (17 to 19 February).

Yip Pin Xiu won gold in the women's 100m backstroke multi-class race on Friday, and added a second gold on Sunday in the women's 50m backstroke multi-class event.

Sophie Soon also clinched gold in the women's 50m breaststroke multi-class race, while her brother Colin earned a bronze in the corresponding men's event.

Toh Wei Soong clinched two bronzes in the men's 50m freestyle and butterfly races, while Danielle Moi earned her first-ever World Series medal with a bronze effort in the women's 200m freestyle race.

Shuttlers register 1 win, 2 losses at Badminton Asia Mixed Team C'ships

Singapore's national badminton team registered one win and two losses in the opening group of the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships in Dubai over the past week.

Drawn into Group A in the opening stage, the shuttlers lost 0-5 to both China and South Korea, before defeating Uzbekistan 5-0 to finish third in the group.

Only the top two teams in each group advanced into the quarter-finals.

On-pitch action at the 2022 HSBC Singapore Sevens. (PHOTO: Mike Lee/KLC fotos for World Rugby)
On-pitch action at the 2022 HSBC Singapore Sevens. (PHOTO: Mike Lee/KLC fotos for World Rugby)

Singapore Sevens to return on 8 and 9 April

The HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens will be held on 8 and 9 April at the National Stadium, with top rugby players such as Akuila Rokolisoa, Marcos Moneta, Terry Kennedy and Waisea Nacuqu set to be in action.

As the ninth of 11 tournaments in the men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2022/2023 season, the two-day event will feature top teams such as Argentina, Australia, Great Britain, Fiji, France, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Samoa and South Africa.

This year's Singapore Sevens also features family-friendly fun on the sidelines. Children aged six and below can enjoy engaging pretend play at the Kids Drop-off facility, while those aged between seven and 12 can try out some roller-skating fun at the Roller Kids and Roller Disco Zones.

Adults can also try out lightsaber fighting with Singapore's own Saber Authority, or enjoy surfing at The Stingray - the world's first half-pipe surfing machine.

Tickets for the Singapore Sevens start from $39 for youths (aged 4 to 17) and $69 for adults. Family ticket packages are also available, starting from $149 for four people.

Local paddlers in all categories at WTT Singapore Smash

Singapore will be represented in all categories of next month’s WTT Singapore Smash, as organisers on Thursday (16 February) announced more local wildcards for the 7 to 19 March event at the OCBC Arena.

Five up-and-coming paddlers were unveiled as wildcards in the singles events: Goi Rui Xuan (women’s singles main draw), Izaac Quek (men’s singles main draw), Tan Zhao Yun (women’s singles qualifying), Lucas Tan and Dominic Koh (men’s singles qualifying).

Singapore’s doubles roster is also set, with two pairs each in the mixed, women’s and men’s doubles draws. Clarence Chew and Ethan Poh - who stunned World Championships silver medallists Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles in last year's event - will pair up again in the men’s doubles.

The wildcards will be led by compatriot and women’s world No. 55 Zeng Jian, who will compete in the women’s singles and mixed doubles events.

The inaugural One Team Singapore Golf Day raised $489,600 for the One Team Singapore Fund. (PHOTO: SOF and SportSG)
The inaugural One Team Singapore Golf Day raised $489,600 for the One Team Singapore Fund. (PHOTO: SOF and SportSG)

One Team Singapore Golf Day raises nearly $490k

The inaugural One Team Singapore Golf Day - jointly organised by Sport Singapore and Singapore Olympic Foundation - raised a total of $489,600 from 35 corporates and individuals for the One Team Singapore Fund (OTSF) on Thursday (16 February).

Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, presented tokens of appreciation to the donors and sponsors. With matching grants from the Singapore government, a total of $979,200 will go towards the OTSF, which was established in 2017 to contribute towards strengthening the High Performance Sport HPS system.

These donations will be directed towards enhancing the athletes’ support infrastructure and capabilities, including improving their daily training environment, and in areas such as data analytics and sport science.

The One Team Singapore Golf Day was attended by around 150 partners, donors, sponsors, and Team Singapore supporters as well as 10 athletes across seven sports, including golfers James Leow and Aloysa Atienza, billiards player Peter Gilchrist, swimmer Quah Ting Wen, bowlers Shayna Ng, Cherie Tan and Jazreel Tan.

Women's Wellness Festival at AIBI Maxwell

In conjunction with the International Women’s Day, The Wellness Insider has announced the first Women’s Wellness Festival to empower women to prioritise their health and well-being, to be held from 3 to 5 March at AIBI Maxwell.

The event will bring together renowned experts in health, fitness, and wellness to provide female attendees with the knowledge they need to take control of their physical, mental and sexual health.

In addition to panel discussions, fitness classes, and product demonstrations by wellness brands, attendees can also participate in interactive workshops covering topics such as nutrition, stress management, mindfulness and self-care.

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