School sports

Asean Schools Games: Form friendships, break personal bests at games

Singapore's Asean Schools Games volleyball squad training at Singapore Sports Hub ahead of the July 14-20 event. The Republic will play host for the first time since 2011.
Singapore's Asean Schools Games volleyball squad training at Singapore Sports Hub ahead of the July 14-20 event. The Republic will play host for the first time since 2011.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Singapore's Asean Schools Games volleyball squad training at Singapore Sports Hub ahead of the July 14-20 event. The Republic will play host for the first time since 2011.
Armand Dhilawala Mohan

No medal target for S'pore, focus at ASG on solidarity as Asean celebrates milestone

Armand Dhilawala Mohan is the 3,000m champion among Singapore schoolboys aged 15 to 17.

In April, the Raffles Institution student posted a personal best of 9min 34.95sec en route to winning the boys' B Division title at the Schools National Track and Field Championships.

But the 16-year-old has little idea of where he stands against foreign competition.

Next month, he will get his chance to benchmark his standard against that of his regional counterparts at the Asean Schools Games (ASG).

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

His performance at the July 14-20 affair, he said, will determine whether he pursues running on a more serious basis.

"If I do well, it'll give me more motivation to pursue it as (something) more than just (an activity) in school but overall, it'll be a confidence booster," he said.

He added that he is "pretty excited" about making his Games debut.

"I don't really know where I stand on an international level, so I'm aiming for a personal best," he added.

DIFFERENT COMPETITION

I don't really know where I stand on an international level, so I'm aiming for a personal best.

ARMAND DHILAWALA MOHAN, the B Division boys' 3,000m champion, is looking forward to pitting himself against the best youth runners in the region.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a media briefing for the Games at the Singapore Sports Hub Library yesterday.

Singapore will be hosting the ASG for the first time since 2011. Then, the Republic met its 26-gold medal target and won 22 silvers and 31 bronzes.

This year, there is no fixed target as the aim of the Games is to focus on Asean solidarity, said ASG organising committee chairman Tan Chen Kee.This year marks the 50th anniversary of Asean.

Senior Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary noted: "(The ASG) is an opportunity... to demonstrate that friendship is not just about international diplomacy or trade or international relations, it starts with how we do education, how we do sports and how we do youth engagement across a number of communities."

Singapore will be represented by 205 athletes from 45 secondary schools and junior colleges across 10 sports - athletics, badminton, basketball, gymnastics, sepak takraw, swimming, table tennis, tennis, tenpin bowling and volleyball.

All competitors are aged between 12 and 18 years old.

Last year, the 177-strong Singapore contingent won 13 gold medals, 14 silvers and 30 bronzes in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

This year's chef de mission Tan Teck Hock believes the hosts will put up a "fairly creditable performance".

"We do know that we're strong in some sports and these are traditional sports that Singapore is proud of, and we've got a pipeline of very young, talented athletes," said Tan, who is the principal of the Singapore Sports School.

"I reckon that in those sports we are expected to do well but I don't think we should put unnecessary pressure on the athletes.

"I can assure you that all the athletes who are participating have targets, meaning they strive to achieve personal bests."

Swimming and gymnastics each bagged five golds last year, while athletics and table tennis clinched two and one respectively.

Ryan Lee, who last year led the ASG gymnastics team to third place and won an individual bronze in the rings event, hopes to fare better this year.

More importantly, the 17-year-old Catholic Junior College student believes the experience will be invaluable as he prepares to make his SEA Games debut in August.

"(The ASG) will help me build confidence and further improve on how I perform during competitions. I think it'll help me feel less stressed during the SEA Games," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2017, with the headline 'Form friendships, break PBs at games'. Print Edition | Subscribe