Despite having to self-fund and crowdfund their way to the World Tchoukball Championships, the Singapore men and women's teams, both No. 3 in the world, won bronze medals on Sunday.
After losing 55-53 to world No. 2 Italy in the semi-finals, the men's team edged out Macau 53-50 in the play-off for third in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. Chinese Taipei won the final 79-65.
Men's captain Lin Sun Tang said: "We were behind by five points against Macau and it was our strong mental strength that helped us work together to win the game.
"We need to keep training harder and smarter. We are always in the top three but still lack some details to get to the top. In the semi-finals, we lacked composure to turn mistakes and defence into points."
The women lost to eventual champions Chinese Taipei 62-54 in the last four but beat Switzerland 46-33 for the bronze at the Nilai Indoor Stadium.
Skipper Irene Tan felt that, with an average age of 23, Singapore have plenty of room to improve.
She added: "The team are going through a transitional phase with younger players joining us. Playing together with more experienced players requires a higher level of understanding and game play.
Against a stronger team like Chinese Taipei... We need to switch quickly once an attack has been defended, and be more daring to look for scoring opportunities.
IRENE TAN, Singapore women's team captain, on the things they need to improve.
"The younger ones lack experience and confidence but it is commendable they have stepped up quite a bit and played well together.
"Against a stronger team like Chinese Taipei, we usually lack the ability to attack well consistently and break through their defence. We need to switch quickly once an attack has been defended, and be more daring to look for scoring opportunities."
Players had to fork out $600 each to cover participation costs after the Tchoukball Association of Singapore (TBAS) subsidy of $200 each. Both captains are hoping for more sponsorships for overseas training stints to gain experience and exposure to different playing styles.
TBAS president Delane Lim said: "Both teams did well to be in the top three despite being young teams. Most of the Chinese Taipei players have competed in at least two World Championships. My only disappointment is we did not have a chance to compete against them in the final.
"Overall, the teams did Singapore proud, especially since they mostly self-funded their trip."