SEA Games: Sepak takraw team make late appeal, SNOC stand firm on selection criteria

SINGAPORE - The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) has reiterated that the national sepak takraw team failed to meet the SEA Games selection criteria.

This comes after nine national players voiced their displeasure on Wednesday (July 12) via an e-mail addressed to Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth parliamentary secretary Baey Yam Keng seeking further explanation about their exclusion from the SEA Games contingent.

In the e-mail, the players claimed they had met the selection benchmark - pegged at the third-place mark at the last SEA Games.

But the SNOC stated that in the 12-month period before next month's SEA Games, the players nominated by the Singapore Sepak Takraw Federation (Perses) did not win a single match at the competitions considered for SEA Games selection.

"No players were selected as it was not clear that a third-placing standard could be established based on their results," said a SNOC spokesperson.

Their appeals were turned down by the SNOC on June 27, making them one of three sports which Singapore will not be participating at the Aug 19-30 Kuala Lumpur Games. The Republic will also not be represented in weightlifting and volleyball.

By sending the e-mail, the sepak takraw team were hoping to make a last-ditch appeal for them to be sent to the biennial event.

National men's regu captain Farhan Amran, 36, said: "It's our last resort. Maybe it's too late, but we just want to try. We want to defend our silver medal won at the last SEA Games and we hope to be given a chance, and I'm confident that we can win a medal if we go."

Team-mate Danial Feriza, 23, added: "We feel that we've wasted two years of time training for the SEA Games."

Their letter was met with disapproval from Perses president Abdul Halim, who did not know that the players were intending to send the e-mail.

Said Halim, who is also the secretary general of the International Sepak Takraw Federation: "We are taking this matter very seriously. We know that they are frustrated. But the players cannot undermine the authority and the proper SEA Games selection process."