Skiers and snowboarders may be missing from Singapore's biggest-ever winter sports contingent - comprising four skaters and 18 ice hockey players - at the ongoing Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, but the Singapore Snowboarding and Skiing Association (SSSA) is hoping this will change.
SSSA president Low Teo Ping told The Straits Times that the national sports association (NSA) aims to assemble a database of Singaporeans based overseas and who have been consistently training and competing, in the hope of having representatives at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
"We know there are Singaporeans who ski competitively out there in the world ... for the moment, we have to rely on this talent overseas and suss them out to see what level they are at, and try to work out some training schedules for them wherever they are," said Low, who is also president of the Singapore Rugby Union and one of the vice-presidents of the Singapore National Olympic Council.
The SSSA launched its website late last month as a major component of its recruitment efforts, and its secretary Kaori Zage stressed that the NSA is seeking serious Singaporean skiers and snowboarders who have been training with a club or coach.
NOT JUST MAKING UP THE NUMBERS
There's a minimum performance level that everyone has to achieve... We want to make sure that anyone who represents Singapore isn't going to be someone who only skis once in a while.
KAORI ZAGE, Singapore Snowboarding and Skiing Association secretary, on seeking serious skiers and snowboarders to possibly represent Singapore at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
"With the next two Winter Olympic Games held in Asia, we think it would be a great time to identify a skier or snowboarder from Singapore," she said.
"But there's a minimum performance level that everyone has to achieve ... we want to make sure that anyone who represents Singapore isn't going to be someone who only skis once in a while."
Zage, who is also vice-president of the freestyle disciplines and ex-vice-president of the Singapore Ice Skating Association, revealed the NSA had turned down offers from German and Austrian athletes who wanted to change their nationalities to represent Singapore in skiing and snowboarding.
While Low and Zage admitted it is unlikely that a local skier or snowboarder will don national colours at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, both are hopeful that Singapore will be represented in skiing and snowboarding at the Beijing Games.
Zage said four athletes based overseas but who could potentially represent the Republic - three in Switzerland and one in Italy - have reached out to the SSSA.
According to Zage, among them are siblings aged 13 and 17, whose mother is Singaporean and father is Swiss. The pair, who both hold Singaporean and Swiss passports, are on a regional ski team in Switzerland and are sponsored by Austrian ski company Blizzard.
Zage added: "There are kids like that, but I think more people will come forward. We hope to reach out to as many people as possible through our website."
•Visit sssa.org.sg for more information.