SINGAPORE - Despite having to self-fund and crowdfund for their campaign, the national men's and women's teams - both ranked world No. 3 - returned with bronze medals from the World Tchoukball Championships on Sunday (Aug 11).
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 at the Nilai Indoor Stadium in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia.
National 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's team had lost to world No. 1 Chinese Taipei 62-54 in the semi-finals and beat Switzerland 46-33 for the bronze.
National women's skipper Irene Tan felt that with an average age of 23, Singapore still have plenty of room to improve.
She added: "The team are going through a transitional phase with younger players joining us, and playing together with more experienced players requires a higher level of understanding and game play.
"Though the younger players may lack experience and confidence, it is commendable that they have stepped up quite a bit during the competition and played well together.
"Against a stronger team like Chinese Taipei, we usually lack the ability to attack well consistently and be able to break through their line of defence. We need to switch quickly once an attack has been defended, and be more daring on court to look for scoring opportunities."
Players from both teams had to fork out $600 each to cover the costs of participating in the tournament after the Tchoukball Association of Singapore (TBAS) subsidised $200 for each player.
Both captains hope for more sponsors to come on board to support the teams so they can travel overseas for training stints to gain experience and exposure to different playing styles.
TBAS president Delane Lim said: "Both teams did well to finish in the top three, despite being young teams with less exposure than Chinese Taipei. Most of their players have at least competed in more than two World Championships.
"My only disappointment is we did not have a chance to compete against them in the finals but overall, the teams did Singapore proud, especially since they mostly self-funded their trip just to compete for Singapore."