Singapore National Olympic Council gives 70 athletes the nod for Asian Youth Games

A total of 70 athletes got the nod from the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) on Monday to take part in the upcoming Asian Youth Games (AYG).

They hail from seven sports, including aquatics (diving and swimming), athletics, shooting and table tennis.

The SNOC's 10-strong Games Selection Committee, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, came to the decision after an hour-long meeting at the Singapore Sports Council's Spex House. Athletes nominated by their various National Sport Associations (NSAs) had to meet a sixth-best in Asia or better benchmark set by the committee.

The number of athletes that eventually represent Singapore at the Aug 16-24 Games in Nanjing will be whittled down to 61 by the various NSAs. This is because certain sports, such as shooting, can only send a maximum of two athletes for each event but have more than that meeting the SNOC's selection criteria.

Said SNOC secretary-general Chris Chan: "We were mindful that for many of these sports, there aren't many age-group competitions to compete in, and many athletes also don't get the opportunity to compete in many competitions.

"We made do with whatever results we have and tried to be fair to them. Although the criterion is set at sixth or close to sixth, if an athlete is close to that, we also debate whether he or she deserves a shot."

Singapore hosted the inaugural AYG in 2009. Then, a 90-member contingent bagged 30 medals - nine golds, six silvers and 15 bronzes.