U-18 tchoukball girls restore S'pore pride

Celine Sheum scoring a goal as the Singapore U-18 girls beat Chinese Taipei 38-30 in the final at the World Youth Tchoukball Championships. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE KIAT
Celine Sheum scoring a goal as the Singapore U-18 girls beat Chinese Taipei 38-30 in the final at the World Youth Tchoukball Championships. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE KIAT

The Singaporean players had gone into the World Youth Tchoukball Championships determined to repeat their historic treble from 2015.

Despite losing the boys' Under-18 and girls' U-12 titles to top-seeded Chinese Taipei yesterday, the girls' U-18 side gave the hosts reasons to cheer after beating the Taiwanese to deny them a clean sweep at Our Tampines Hub.

The girls' U-18 final was a tightly contested affair as the Taiwanese raced to an early lead to win the first period 13-10.

The Singaporeans bounced back and displayed remarkable composure to win the second and third periods for a 38-30 victory.

Vice-captain Celine Sheum credited her team's patience for their come-from-behind victory.

She said: "We were quite nervous in the beginning as our performance the previous day was not great.

"We panicked but got used to Chinese Taipei's shots and kept our composure from the second period onwards and it paid off."

Taiwanese head coach Fang Shen-szu, who earlier said they were bent on revenge after losing both the U-18 titles and the girls' U-12 crowns four years ago, was happy with the haul of five golds and one silver.

"I am very satisfied with our achievements this year, especially after seeing Singapore's improvement and the progress they have made," he said.

While the Singapore U-18 girls celebrated their win, there was disappointment for their male colleagues as the defending champions went down 55-51.

The thrilling final saw the Taiwanese edging out Singapore in the first two periods with their combinations and powerful shots.

The Singaporeans battled back in the third period but were unable to overturn the deficit.

Singapore U-18 boys' coach Lin Sun Tang rued his players' early mistakes.

He said: "We were rushing to perform well and committed mistakes in the first half that we don't usually do. We dropped the ball about three to five times and wasted chances. Our mistakes in the first period hit us hard."

Vice-captain Amos Chan, 15, remained upbeat despite the loss.

He said: "We put up a really good fight but we made too many mistakes. We must take this experience to motivate us for our next tournament."

Singapore's tchoukball players ended their World Youth Championships campaign with one gold, four silvers and a bronze.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2019, with the headline 'U-18 tchoukball girls restore S'pore pride'. Print Edition | Subscribe