SEA Games: Singapore boxers aim to punch above their weight in the Philippines

Flyweight boxer Mohamed Hanurdeen Hamid, who won a silver and bronze at the SEA Games in 2015 and 2017 respectively, is Singapore's best bet to end their gold drought at the Games.
Flyweight boxer Mohamed Hanurdeen Hamid, who won a silver and bronze at the SEA Games in 2015 and 2017 respectively, is Singapore's best bet to end their gold drought at the Games. BH FILE PHOTO

Hanurdeen best bet for gold after SNOC approves 63 appeals for biennial event

Flyweight (52kg) boxer Mohamed Hanurdeen Hamid will lead a four-strong team in the hunt for Singapore's first gold medal at the SEA Games since 1985, after the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) Games Appeals Committee gave the athletes the green light for the Nov 30-Dec 11 Games in the Philippines.

Singapore Amateur Boxing Association (Saba) president Syed Abdul Kadir said that the nomination for the quartet was not discussed at the SNOC selection committee meeting on Aug 1 as they were then still awaiting results from tournaments in Indonesia and Thailand.

The boxers heading to Manila are Hanurdeen, Tay Jia Wei (light welterweight), Danisha Mathialagan (women's light flyweight) and Leona Hui (women's flyweight).

Hanurdeen, who won a silver and bronze at the SEA Games in 2015 and 2017 respectively, will be the best bet for Singapore to end its 34-year title drought. Team Singapore's last SEA Games gold medal was Mohamed Mukhlis's welterweight title from Bangkok in 1985.

At the last edition in Kuala Lumpur, the Singaporeans won three bronze medals in the men's flyweight, light welterweight and light heavyweight.

Kadir said: "Hanurdeen was very unlucky both times at the SEA Games and hopefully he will be third-time lucky. He's had to finance his own training, he's always there training and competing and I hope he can do it."

While he was coy on medal targets for the team, Kadir added: "It's not just about the experience as they must go there to win.

DETERMINATION

Hopefully he will be third-time lucky. He's had to finance his own training, he's always there training and competing and I hope he can do it.

SYED ABDUL KADIR, Singapore Amateur Boxing Association president, on Mohamed Hanurdeen Hamid.

"Boxing is the most difficult of all the sports and I'm happy that we have boxers competing at the SEA Games."

Chaired by Ng Ser Miang, Singapore's International Olympic Committee member, the SNOC Games Appeals Committee gave the nod to 63 athletes.

There was also good news for Singapore Athletics, which has been embroiled in a selection controversy with two-time SEA Games marathon champion Soh Rui Yong, as 13 athletes made the appeals list, including its women's and mixed 4x100m relay teams.

The mixed 4x100m and 4x400m relay events will be debuting at the Philippines Games. Clara Goh, Khairyll Amri Tumadi, Tan Zong Yang and Ariff Januri are among the six in the 4x100m mixed relay team.

With Soh out of the Games, high jumper Michelle Sng is the only defending gold medallist in the athletics squad, which took home eight medals at the last edition.

But SA executive director Syed Abdul Malik Aljunied is looking to the mixed relay team to add to their medal haul this time. He said: "They're a really young team, they fight very hard and broke the national record three times. I'm confident that they've got what it takes to win a medal."

 
 

Aside from athletics, the women's water polo team - who won a silver at the 2017 Games - men's 3,000m short-track speed skating relay team and men's baseball team were also given the consent by the committee.

But veteran speed skater Lucas Ng, the silver medallist in the men's 1,000m in Kuala Lumpur two years ago, will not be going.

The Straits Times understands that Ng, 30, was not included in the nomination and appeals lists submitted by the Singapore Ice Skating Association (Sisa).

Both Ng and Sisa declined to comment on the matter last night.

In total, 647 athletes will represent Singapore in 48 sports, out of the 56 offered.

The Republic will not compete in arnis, equestrian, karate, kickboxing, obstacle sports, rowing, soft tennis and weightlifting at this edition of the biennial regional sports extravaganza.

Singapore achieved its best performance at an away Games two years ago, winning a haul of 58 golds, 59 silvers and 71 bronzes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2019, with the headline 'Boxers get Sea Games nod'. Print Edition | Subscribe