SEA Games 2019

Team SG unflappable

Athletes, officials not concerned by Typhoon Kammuri, will defer to organisers' judgment

Team Singapore chef de mission Juliana Seow (fourth from left) with some athletes and officials during the welcome ceremony at the Games Village in the Philippines.
Team Singapore chef de mission Juliana Seow (fourth from left) with some athletes and officials during the welcome ceremony at the Games Village in the Philippines. PHOTO: SPORT SINGAPORE

Singapore's athletes and officials are unfazed by the arrival of Typhoon Kammuri in the Philippines, where the 30th SEA Games takes place from today till Dec 11.

The typhoon could hit the country as early as this evening and is packing maximum winds of 139kmh and gusts of up to 160kmh, according to the latest bulletin from the US Navy and Air Force's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre.

But most athletes and officials whom The Straits Times spoke to feel they are sufficiently prepared and are unconcerned about the typhoon's impact on the competition.

Road cycling team manager Adrian Ng insisted that "our morale is still high and we are looking forward to the competition" although he is still hoping that it will not rain during the Dec 4-10 competition in Tagaytay.

But even if it does, he remained confident the team would be able to cope, saying: "In any case, the conditions will be the same for every team.

"Equipment-wise, we will need to see if we need to make any changes to the model of our tyres. Tyre pressure may also be adjusted, as lower pressure will help with more traction in wet conditions."

Golf team manager Ong Kian Hui also remained nonplussed, saying: "We have no real concerns as our golfers have experience playing in different conditions. If the organisers deem it suitable for play to go on, and all other teams are good to go, then we will follow.

"As of now, we have not heard of any changes from the organisers."

Both the golf and cycling teams leave for the Philippines on Monday, with golf being played at the Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac City.

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The football team have been in Manila for almost a week and manager Samuel Tan said the weather was good during training yesterday morning.

He said: "If the typhoon does affect us, we are prepared to do exercises and do whatever preparations we can indoors.

"As for the matches, we have not heard anything so far, but will comply with the organising committee's decisions where necessary."

Modern pentathlete Shermaine Tung, who leaves today, rated her concern as three out of 10.

"We do have training on Sunday and official route training on Monday and Tuesday, so it's a concern if I won't be able to try out the route," she explained.

"I'm hoping that my races from Wednesday to Saturday will not be pushed back or delayed."

One sport that did have serious concerns was skateboarding. For the skateboarders who leave tomorrow, wet weather could not only affect their preparations for the competition but also present a threat to safety.

Team manager Muhammad Rezal Ramli noted that it could be dangerous for skateboarders to compete on slippery surfaces, saying: "We can't skate on slick conditions. Skaters could easily slip and fall."

Rain could also prevent them from training and familiarising themselves with the course on Monday, which is crucial for the skateboarders.

He added: "The park is new and for the street segment, the skate park is made of wood, which means it is not something our skateboarders are used to, so it would be an important time for the players to get used to the park and course.

"It's not just (the) material of the ground but also the whole course - how it's designed, how steep it is, how high the rails are, the shape of the bowl, shape of the skate park, so it's also important for the park skaters."

• Additional reporting by Low Lin Fhoong, David Lee and Kimberly Kwek

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2019, with the headline Team SG unflappable. Subscribe