Amos chases youth title

Amos Chan, 15, will be looking to repeat history when he represents the U-18 boys in the World Youth Tchoukball championships here on Aug 16-18.
Amos Chan, 15, will be looking to repeat history when he represents the U-18 boys in the World Youth Tchoukball championships here on Aug 16-18.PHOTO: JEREMY LIM

U-18 side inspired by Singapore's 2015 triumph over top-ranked Chinese Taipei

When Amos Chan watched Singapore's Under-18 boys upset world No. 1 Chinese Taipei to win the World Youth Tchoukball Championships in 2015, it gave him the belief that anything was possible.

It was the first time any country had defeated the sport's juggernaut in the last 30 years.

This week, Amos will be aiming to repeat history when he represents the U-18 boys in the world youth championships, with the Taiwanese, who top the men's and women's world rankings at the senior level, still favourites to claim the title.

The tournament, which will attract at least 750 players and officials from 15 countries like Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Malaysia, the Philippines, Chinese Taipei and Macau, will be held from Aug 16-18 at Our Tampines Hub.

"I was playing for the U-12 in the 2015 world champs and the most memorable part of the U-18 finals was when Singapore were saving shots from (Chinese Taipei) and then they started to take the lead and pull away from them," said 15-year-old Amos.

"It is every player's dream to be in the champions' team and I knew I wanted to be in the Singapore jersey beating them again."

The Hwa Chong Institution student has represented Singapore in major tchoukball tournaments since 2014, including the Asia Pacific Youth Tchoukball Championships and Southeast Asia Tchoukball Championships, but has yet to win a gold medal.

However, Tchoukball Association of Singapore president Delane Lim believes that Amos and his team can defeat powerhouse Chinese Taipei and win the elusive gold on home soil.

He said: "We have a solid team of players, some of whom also have recent competitive experience, having competed in last weekend's World Tchoukball Championships in Malaysia."

Singapore coach Lin Sun Tang, 27, added: "Amos might be young but at 15 he is already playing for the U-18 team and training with the men's team so you should be able to tell his level of skill and experience.

"He also has very strong fighting spirit even when playing in the men's team and that always motivates the team to work harder together and not give up."

While Chinese Taipei are the odds-on favourites, Amos is also wary of the challenge the European teams will offer.

He said: "The European players are bigger in size so their shots will definitely be stronger and faster. We have to learn to adapt quickly to these kind of shots.

"We play against the national men's team to get better prepared against harder and faster shots."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2019, with the headline 'Amos chases youth title'. Print Edition | Subscribe