SEA Games 2017

SEA Games 2017: Nod for debutants

Short track speed skater Cheyenne Goh is poised to make her SEA Games debut as winter sports have been added for the first time. Hopes are high for Singapore after a record-breaking 2015 Games.
Short track speed skater Cheyenne Goh is poised to make her SEA Games debut as winter sports have been added for the first time. Hopes are high for Singapore after a record-breaking 2015 Games.PHOTO: SINGAPORE ICE SKATING ASSOCIATION

First time for cricket, winter sports while final contingent set to be cut from provisional 840

Among the hundreds of national athletes making their way across the Causeway for the Aug 19-30 SEA Games - expected to be a sizeable contingent again - will be a group of stand-outs.

Cricketers, ice hockey players and ice skaters will be debutants at the Kuala Lumpur event, after they were among 840 athletes who yesterday received the nod from the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC). The three sports - ice skating includes figure skating and short-track speed skating - are featuring at the biennial Games for the first time.

A total of 405 events across 38 sports are slated.

A SNOC selection committee, chaired by Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, who is also SNOC president, also gave the go-ahead to athletes from 31 other sports.

SNOC secretary-general Chris Chan made special mention of the three sports making their debut, noting that the athletes nominated from these sports met the mark on their first try.

READY FOR ANOTHER HIGH

The AWG was such a great experience, so I'm hoping that the SEA Games will be just as amazing.

CHLOE ING, Singapore figure skater, who took part in the Asian Winter Games and aims to finish on the podium in KL in August.

He added: "We are looking forward to more athletes and sports added to the contingent list as some are still on their way to qualify.

"In the meantime, we wish all athletes and national sports associations preparing for the SEA Games all the best and hope they will be in their top form to represent Singapore in August."

The qualifying window will remain open until mid-June for those who have yet to meet the mark, set at the bronze-medal placing of the last Games. The SNOC will consider appeals on June 15.

The eventual number of athletes who will compete in Malaysia, however, is expected to be whittled down when they have to be entered for their events by name by July 1.

Team Singapore had a record showing - both in number of athletes fielded and in performance - when the last Games were held on home soil in 2015.

A total of 747 athletes yielded a haul of 84 golds, 73 silvers and 102 bronzes. The Republic's best away performance at the Games was 43 golds at the 2007 edition in Korat, Thailand.

Figure skater Chloe Ing has major Games experience from her participation at the Asian Winter Games earlier in February to back her up, although the 18-year-old is well aware the SEA Games generate a different kind of buzz among Singaporeans.

She is one of three female figure skaters picked for the provisional squad with two slots available.

Chloe told The Straits Times from Toronto, where she is based: "Seeing as the SEA Games are such a popular event in Singapore, I'm both honoured and excited to be given the chance to represent my country again and hopefully finish on the podium.

"The AWG was such a great experience, so I'm hoping that the SEA Games will be just as amazing."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2017, with the headline 'Nod for debutants'. Print Edition | Subscribe