Local sports leagues suspended owing to Singapore's stricter Covid-19 measures

Other domestic leagues for netball, floorball and water polo have also been affected. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - After successfully staging the Under-19 3v3 League, which concluded in March, the Singapore Hockey Federation (SHF) began looking at different ways to hold its local leagues within Covid-19 restrictions.

While the 4v4 men's hockey league got under way on April 24, plans for its men's and women's indoor 4v4 league on Saturday (May 8) have now been put on ice.

Following the Government's announcement of tighter Covid-19 measures on Tuesday, national agency Sport Singapore on Thursday revealed new measures for sport and physical activities. They include limiting sports activities to groups of five - down from the maximum of eight previously - which has forced the SHF to postpone all three tournaments.

SHF president Mathavan Devadas was already mentally prepared to suspend the leagues following the introduction of stricter Covid-19 measures by the multi-ministry task force on Tuesday.

He said: "At the end of the day, we accept that this is for public safety. If the task force is trying to minimise personal contact as much as possible, it's three weeks so if it doesn't get worse, we can live with it."

Other domestic leagues for netball, floorball and water polo - which had been modified to adhere to the group of eight rule - have also been affected.

Netball Singapore (NS), which had initially postponed its ongoing 3v3 National League 2021 matches for a week before the announcement, has suspended the competition indefinitely.

The Back2Floorball Modified League and Water Polo National League Open category - both 4v4 competitions - have also been put on hold till May 30.

NS chief executive Cyrus Medora said: "It's a disappointment but we understand, safety is beyond all our control. The Government is doing its best reacting on a week by week basis, we never know what's happening or what's going to happen next."

Although netballer Valerie Wong, whose team Xtrix had qualified for the Division 6 semi-finals, was disappointed as there were just three more matches remaining, she understood the need for these measures.

The 23-year-old said: "As NS had previously postponed the upcoming week's games, it wasn't a total shock, but to shut down for an entire month definitely wasn't expected.

"As bummed as I am, it's a backpedal I'm willing to accept if that means we can resume phase 3 and leniency of rules earlier in the future."

Singapore Floorball Association president Kenneth Ho explained that it was hard for the association to go ahead with the second round of the Back2Floorball Modified League, saying: "Given the fact that there are several unlinked cases in the community, we need to take into consideration of the safety and welfare of our players and officials involved in the competition, especially given our sport involves close contact among players in an enclosed space."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.