THE DEBUTANTS: MICKY LIN, NETBALL

Netball captain Micky Lin making up for lost time at 29

The first of a five-part series on Singaporeans making their SEA Games debut

She is the captain of Singapore's netball team and a two-time Asian champion, but surprisingly, this will be Micky Lin's first SEA Games.

For netball is returning to the Games calendar for the first time since 2001, when Singapore lost 42-53 to Malaysia in the final.

The 29-year-old is one of the most experienced members of the 12-strong squad, having been capped 82 times by her country.

But she will take to the court at the OCBC Arena today champing at the bit as she makes her SEA Games debut on home ground.

"We've hardly featured in the SEA Games, so all of us are quite excited and we're all really eager to start," said Lin, whose team open the Games competition against Brunei at noon.

Although Lin and her team-mates are favourites for the gold, the captain insists they are not taking their eye off the ball.

She said: "There is definitely pressure on us, because since we are already Asian champs, we should get the gold.

"(But) we're trying to move our focus away from all the attention we're getting to what we love doing, which is playing netball."

Off the court, the assistant marketing manager has to juggle work with training, like the rest of the team. But as the squad's leader, helping the team bond has been a big priority.

She said: "We have a lot of off-court gathering time during weekends, as we're busy on weekdays.

"After weekend training, we have more time to mingle and know our off-court side."

It is up to veterans like Lin to guide the younger players and help them manage expectations.

However, she does not see herself as a protective mother hen, saying: "As the captain, I see myself more as the middleman between the management and the players.

"I don't go around shouting and mothering per se, they are all mature!

"I usually step in when I see a need to, like when the morale is down or people are not focused."

Looking ahead to the seven-day competition, which will culminate in the final next Sunday, Lin said: "We've trained hard, we have what it takes to succeed. It's now on us to focus and deliver a good game come the SEA Games."