Chinese Taipei eye S'pore's world youth tchoukball scalps

Singapore usurped three of their world youth crowns in 2015 and Chinese Taipei, tchoukball's dominant powers, are bent on revenge at this edition, vowed their head coach Fang Shen-szu.

"This time, we are here to win back all the gold medals," he said of the World Youth Tchoukball Championships that run from today till Sunday at Our Tampines Hub.

Four years ago, Singapore claimed both Under-18 titles and the girls' U-12 crown on home ground. The Taiwanese left with the other three titles, both the U-15s and boys' U-12.

Added Fang: "We have selected the best players from each school to form each team.

"We believe the only competitors we have to fight with are Singapore and that they stand an equal chance to secure the golds."

He is wary of the hosts, acknowledging that they have continued to make strides in their development in the sport. He said: "One challenge we have faced is our youth development programme. This is something we wish to learn from Singapore - how they provide platforms to gain experience."

Lin Sun Tang, coach of the Singapore U-18 boys, is unfazed by their arch-rivals' warning, saying: "I just want the team to do their best and, hopefully, not be stressed out and pressured by the standards set by their seniors in 2015.

"If the team can perform well, I believe that clinching a top-three (place) is a very realistic result."

Singapore U-18 girls' coach Melissa Lim has also urged her players not to be overwhelmed by the prospect of defending their title before their own supporters.

She said: "My expectation for them is to keep calm and focus on one match at a time. If they play a near-perfect match, securing top spot is definitely possible.

"I feel we will put in the extra effort for our fans.

"It will be a rare moment to have Singaporeans cheer for us at an international competition."

A total of 15 countries will be participating in the tournament, sponsored by Next Factor, Taishan Sports and the Afternaut Group.

Chinese Taipei won both the men and women's world titles in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, on Sunday, while Singapore were third.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2019, with the headline 'Chinese Taipei eye S'pore's world youth tchoukball scalps'. Print Edition | Subscribe