Monday, 4 August 2014

Commonwealth Games 2014

Two silvers for Singapore on final day of Commonwealth Games
Derek Wong (centre) with the doubles pair Danny Chrisnanta (left) and Chayut Triyachart in Glasgow yesterday. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

It was not a hoped-for Super Sunday finale for Team Singapore yesterday at the Commonwealth Games, when Derek Wong narrowly failed to land the country's first gold medal in the men's singles in badminton.

The gutsy shuttler had clawed his way back to 19-19 in the deciding third game, but India's Parupalli Kashyap held his nerve to reel in the last two points to triumph 21-14, 11-21, 21-19.

Still, Wong, 25, can walk away with the distinction of being Singapore's first badminton men's singles medallist at the Games.

Men's doubles shuttlers clinch final silver for S'pore
Singapore's Chayut Triyachart crosses over to congratulate Malaysia's Goh Wei Shem after he and Danny Chrisnanta lost out to Goh and partner Tan Wee Kiong 12-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the badminton men's doubles final at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Sunday, Aug 3, 2014, clinching a Commonwealth Games silver medal. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE'S men's doubles pair Danny Chrisnanta and Chayut Triyachart clinched a Commonwealth Games silver medal on Sunday, after losing 12-21, 21-12, 21-15 to Malaysia's Tan Wee Kiong and Goh Wei Shem in the final.

The duo had become Singapore's first finalists in the event on Saturday when they defeated England duo Chris Langridge and Peter Mills in the semi-finals.

With the silver medal, Team Singapore completed its Glasgow Commonwealth Games campaign with eight golds, five silvers and four bronzes.

Shuttler Derek Wong lands silver in men's singles
Derek Wong plays against Parupalli from India in the badminton Men's singles final at the Emirates Arena during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Derek Wong landed a Commonwealth Games silver medal for Singapore on Sunday, after he lost 14-21, 21-11, 19-21 to India's Kashyap Parupalli in the badminton men's singles final at the Emirates Arena. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Derek Wong landed a Commonwealth Games silver medal for Singapore on Sunday, after he lost 14-21, 21-11, 19-21 to India's Kashyap Parupalli in the badminton men's singles final at the Emirates Arena.

Although the shuttler failed to land a gold medal, the 25-year-old still becomes the Republic's first medallist in the men's singles event.

Wong's previous singles career highlight was a bronze at the 2011 SEA Games in Jakarta.

Singapore shuttlers clinch bronze after edging India 3-2
Singapore team members run to congratulate doubles pair of Lei Yao (centre top) and Shinta Mulia Sari (right) after the women defeated India's Ashwini Ponnappa (centre bottom) and Jwala Gutta (left) in the Mixed Team event at the Emirates Arena at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on July 28, 2014. Singapore clinched the bronze medal in the badminton mixed team competition at the Commonwealth Games on Monday, after beating India 3-2 in the third-place play-off tie at the Emirates Arena. -- PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE clinched the bronze medal in the badminton mixed team competition at the Commonwealth Games on Monday, after beating India 3-2 in the third-place play-off tie at the Emirates Arena.

The tie was settled in heart-stopping fashion as Singapore's women's doubles pair of Shinta Mulia Sari and Yao Lei fought off the spirited challenge of India's Ashwini Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta in the gruelling second game, edging them 21-17, 29-27. That gave the winning point to Team Singapore in the tie, as the entire team ran onto the court to celebrate the bronze.

Earlier, Danny Chrisnanta and Vanessa Neo had won the opening mixed doubles match against Ponnappa and R.V. Gurusaidutt 21-19, 21-19, but Huang Chao lost to Kashyap Parupalli 15-21, 20-22 in the men's singles tie.

Commonwealth Games: Derek Wong makes history in reaching men's singles final
Singapore's Derek Wong in action at the Emirates Arena during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. -- PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE'S top male badminton player Derek Wong reach the men's singles final at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Saturday, after beating India's R. V. Gurusaidutt 16-21, 21-19, 21-15 at the Emirates Arena.

With the win, the 25-year-old is assured of becoming Singapore's first-ever medallist in the Commonwealth Games men's singles event.

In tomorrow's final, he will face another Indian player, Kashyap Parupalli, who defeated England's Rajiv Ouseph 18-21, 21-17, 21-18 in the other semi-final.

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Local Singaporean Derek Wong has reached the Finals in the Singles badminton at the Commonwealth Games, guaranteeing him either a Gold or Silver medal.

He beat India's R.V. Gurusaidutt two games to one with scores 16-21, 21-19 and 21-15. Wong, 25, will face another Indian, Kashyap Parupalli in the Finals.

Wong is Singapore's top badminton player who comes from a family of badminton players. His father, Wong Shoon Keat was Singapore's gold medallist in 1983 at the SEA Games. This was the last time that Singapore won a Gold in singles' badminton. Derek was the 2011 SEA Games bronze medallist and he now has the opportunity to get Gold in the Commonwealth games if he can beat his Indian opponent.

First gold for Singapore as Teo Shun Xie wins 10m air pistol
Teo Shun Xie of Singapore celebrates winning the 10m Air Pistol event at the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre in Carnoustie, Scotland on July 25, 2014, during the 2014 Commonwealth Games. - PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE'S first medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games was of the gold variety, and it came from an unlikely source on Friday.

Shooter Teo Shun Xie delivered a sparkling performance to top a 28-strong field at the women's 10m air pistol. The research officer, who finished 14th in the same event four years ago in New Delhi, notched a Games record score of 198.6 points, ahead of India's Malaika Goel (197.1) and Canada's Dorothy Ludwig (177.2).

Singapore shooting team manager Ng Jing Hui said: "With a revamped scoring system, it was anybody's game to win and Shun Xie grabbed the chance with both hands. She was simply marvellous, especially on her final six shots. She worked so hard and now, she has brought glory to Singapore."

Commonwealth Games: Shooter Jasmine Ser wins Singapore’s fourth gold

Singapore clinched its fourth gold medal at the Commonwealth Games early on Wednesday with shooter Jasmine Ser winning the women’s 50m rifle three positions final.

She beat Scotland's Jen McIntosh with a score of 449.1 points to 446.6. India's Lajja Gauswami took the bronze with 436.1 points. It was a close fight between Ser and home favourite McIntosh. Going into the final shot, Ser led 439.3 points against McIntosh's 438.7 points. But McIntosh shot a dismal 7.9 points, and a confident Ser hit 9.8 points to take top spot.

The Republic's other gold medal victories were in men's and women's team table tennis, and the women's 10m air pistol event.

Singapore wins first ever Men’s vault medal at Commonwealth Games
Team Singapore gymnast Hoe Wah Toon (Photo by Singapore Gymnastics)

At the Hyrdro, Hoe Wah Toon clinched Singapore’s first Commonwealth Games medal in Gymnastics Men’s Individual Vault coming in third out of eight competitors with a score of 14.195.

His teammate, Aizat Bin Muhammad Jufrie finished sixth in the same event with a score of 14.016.

Schooling wins Singapore's first swimming medal, clinching silver in 100m butterfly final
Joseph Schooling at the men's 100m butterfly event on 27 July 2014. Years of hard work had boiled down to an outburst of explosive energy as Joseph Schooling powered his way into Singapore sports history by winning the country's first-ever swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Years of hard work had boiled down to an outburst of explosive energy as Joseph Schooling powered his way into Singapore sports history by winning the country's first-ever swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games.

The 19-year-old clinched the silver in the 100m butterfly at Glasgow's Tollcross Swimming Centre when he touched home in a new national record time of 51.69 secs, which erased his old national mark of 52.22 secs he set in the semi-finals.

It also eclipsed the Asian Games record (51.83 secs) set in 2010 by China's Zhou Jiawei but it is 0.69 secs slower than the Asian record held by Japan's Kohei Kawamoto since 2009.

Commonwealth Games: Singapore take six out of seven table tennis golds
Singapore's Zhan Jian celebrates winning against England's Paul Drinkhall during their team table tennis gold medal match at the Scotstoun Sports Campus at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. -- PHOTO: AFP

GLASGOW (AFP) - Singapore finished the Commonwealth Games with six table tennis golds out of a possible seven after Zhan Jian won the men’s singles and Feng Tianwei secured her third gold of the Games with Yu Mengyu in the women’s doubles.

Singapore’s dominance of the sport was no surprise but second seed Zhan’s win against Gao Ning, the top seed, in the final, came as a minor shock.

“I didn’t have special strategies,” said Zhan, who won 11-9, 11-2, 11-7, 6-11, 11-7.

Commonwealth Games: Singapore sweep table tennis women's singles medals
Singapore's gold medalist Feng Tianwei (centre), silver medalist Yu Mengyu (left) and bronze medalist Lin Ye (right) pose on the podium after winning the women's singles table tennis competition at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, on Aug 1, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

GLASGOW (AFP) - Singapore continued its dominance of women's table tennis at the Commonwealth Games by winning all three singles medals as Feng Tianwei won the gold just like she had done in Delhi four years ago.

The world number four comfortably beat compatriot and second seed Yu Mengyu in the final 11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 10-12, 11-2 as the competition went with seeding.

Lin Ye, who Feng had beaten in the semi-finals, won the bronze medal with a convincing 11-5, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 success over 42-year-old Australian Lay Jian Fang, to ensure Singapore got their hands on all three medals.

More golds for Singapore in table tennis

Paddlers Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu secured another gold for Singapore, this time in the women's doubles competition. Zhan Jian, meanwhile, won the men's singles gold.

Singapore's paddlers secured another two golds at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow after emerging victorious in the women's doubles and the men's singles. Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu beat Australia's Lay Jian Fang and Miao Miao 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5 to win the gold medal.

"It's a good feeling - I'm very happy," said Feng on her three medals. "My understanding with Yu is getting better and better. The Asian Games are in September so we only have a few days to rest. Time is really tight so I hope my body can recover quickly."

No Pride in 76% of Medals Won By Foreign-born Athletes
The Commonwealth Games have ended in Glasgow, Scotland

Singapore has won medals in 5 events at the Games – table-tennis, shooting, badminton, swimming, and gymnastics. The total number of medals given out for the five events is 38. Out of these 38 medals, 29 medals were won by foreign-born Singaporeans from different countries. This means Singapore-born athletes won only 9 medals.

China-born Singaporeans collected the most number of medals – 23 – mainly from table-tennis. The rest of the 29 medals were won by Indonesia- , Malaysia- and Thailand-born Singaporeans. The final medal tally means that foreign-born Singaporeans collected a whopping 76% of the medals won by Singapore at the Games.

Singapore won 8 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze medals in Glasgow. This was a poorer showing than the 11-11-9 medal haul in 2010 in Delhi. Do you feel proud that 76% of the medals were won by foreign-born athletes?
Have We Seen Enough?

Zhan Jian could have been even happier playing against a non-Chinese. The mainland stars are out of these games. Wait till Zhan Jian et al meet them in the Asian Games. My stand on this issue has never changed. We imported these foreigners and gave them Singapore citizenship for the sole purpose of winning medals. They’re not like married to Singaporeans, received their education in Singapore, converted to Singapore citizenship and THEN represented Singapore in the games.

Such instant citizenship is perfectly legal, but nothing to be proud of. People who defend the scheme love to point at a number of things ranging from our ancestry to our alleged xenophobia. I’ve already separated the apples from the oranges on several blog postings and won’t do it again here. There are clear differences between Chinese immigration over decades and centuries with the immigrants eventually sinking roots and adopting the local cultures as compared to these instant citizens. For all intents and purposes, these players are mercenaries – a bit like contract workers issued with red passports as security passes to qualify them to represent us in the international arena.

One smart alec remarked on Facebook that we are not “open-minded” enough for the 21st century. Great. Let’s be open-minded and transparent all the way. Put all these players on the global market and let countries bid for them. The best players get the best offers. The highest bidders get the best players – and win the most games. How’s that for 21st century sportonomics? Would you feel proud of winning? I won’t.

Commonwealth Games Gao Ning digs deep to take gold

Singapore top seed Gao Ning came back from 3-2 down to make the Commonwealth Games table tennis men`s final with an exciting 11-8, 11-13, 14-12, 6-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6 win over England`s Liam Pitchford on Saturday.

The world number 12 avoided an upset after Pitchford, ranked 56 in the world, had played some inspired table tennis in a one hour and four minute contest.

Pitchford could not quite counter the Singaporean`s dominance but earned many plaudits with the crowd on the edge of their seats in arguably the closest singles match of the entire 10 day event.

Singapore glue on crown holds
Veteran Zhan Jian won both his singles clashes in the showdown against England though he had to overcome the discomfort of pain in his right thigh. The gold adds to the two won by Singapore so far in the Glasgow Games. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Seen as the poorer counterparts to the all-conquering women's squad who won every Commonwealth Games table tennis team gold since 2002, the Singapore men's team are starting to catch up after a 3-1 win over a determined England in the final yesterday.

With that victory, coach Yang Chuanning's men retained the gold medal they won in the 2010 edition in New Delhi, and handed Singapore its third gold at the Glasgow Games.

And it was a triumph achieved with players struggling with pain or faulty equipment.

Why do we need foreign talents to win medals for sg?

‘China’ wins four gold medals at the Commonwealth Games. This is made possible because Singapore imports top Chinese players to represent Singapore. There is nothing to be proud of. Any country willing and able to spend and import players can achieve the same outcomes.

Why stop at table tennis? Maybe we can import some African marathon runners as well? The fundamental question remains unanswered. Why do we need FTs to win medals for us? Is it something that we can be proud of as a nation?

How about importing some MPs, NSFs, or even top performing Ministers for Singapore? Sorry, maybe we are doing that already.


Singapore's China Import Team cleaned up at the Commonwealth Games in the women's table tennis singles event. Getting the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, the podium was filled with Singapore players. Coach of the Singapore team, Jing Junhong, said that it's not easy to win all three medals and the two younger players had really lifted their game.

For the Gold Medal, Feng Tianwei comfortably beat Yu Mengyu, also representing Singapore, four games to one with scores of 11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 10-12 and 11-2. For the bronze medal, Singapore's Lin Ye beat Australia's Lay Jian Fang 4 games to nothing with scores 11-5, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7.

Feng Tianwei said that she was happy with the results but also shared that their team didn't really have any particular strategy this time, "we're already very familiar with each other" she said.

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The men's table tennis teams at the Commonwealth Games did quite well claiming both Gold and Bronze in the doubles competition. Gao Ning and Li Hu, claimed gold by beating India's Sharath Kamal Achanta and Amalraj Anthony Arputharaj, three games to 1 with scores 8-11, 11-7, 11-9 and 11-5.

When Singapore's pair won, Li was overjoyed and ran into the crowd while Gao said that he was very satisfied that they had gotten their "revenge".

Four years ago, Gao had lost in the final to Kamal. He said that this time, they were more familiar with their opponents.


I refer to "Australia Table Tennis Star Slams Singapore Buying Medals with PRC Players". While reading the article, it surprised me that Australia had a 42 year old table tennis player Lay Jian Fang as well. However, Lay has been playing for Australia since 1990s and even though she didn't win, her effort at such an advanced age was remarkable.

What is more remarkable is New Zealand's table tennis player Li Chunli and Karen Li. Chunli is already 52 years old and her sister Karen is in her forties. Chun Li, aged 50, she had a crack at qualifying for the London Olympics. "I started again because I like to challenge myself,” she said. “I am 50 and I just wanted to know how far I can go at this age. It's hard to get to an Olympics if you play table tennis in New Zealand, the NZOC requires a very, very high standard.”

She played very well at the Oceania qualifying tournament in Sydney, winning six of her seven matches to grab the second of three available Olympic slots.

Australia Table Tennis Star slams Singapore for "buying medals" with PRC players

Australian table tennis veteran William Henzell has hit out at the Singapore team, claiming they tarnish the spirit of the event by stacking their squad with Chinese players. The 32-year-old lost 15-7 11-6 9-11 11-7 11-6 to Singapore's Ning Gao in his quarter-final match on Friday.

Chinese-born Gao was the top seed in the men's singles draw and already had a gold medal from Singapore's triumph in the men's team event. But Henzell said Singapore had brought a "professional team" to Glasgow that was largely made up of Chinese-born players.

"I don't think what Singapore does is in the spirit of the Games," Henzell said. "It's disappointing to see." He said Singapore only had two "token" Singaporeans in their team - Clarence Chew and Isabelle Li - while the rest were Chinese-born. "They decided it was much easier and quicker to buy a team rather than produce a team," he said.

PM Lee deletes Singaporeans' Facebook comments about imported table tennis talents

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shared a photo of Singapore's Table tennis teams at the Commonwealth Games on his Facebook page and wrote that both the men's and women's teams had won gold.

Singaporeans quickly took to the photo and commented how there were no Singaporeans in the photo and how they were not proud of having "bought" these gold medals. However, despite the comments not making any personal attacks or being derogatory, the comments were promptly deleted by PM Lee's Facebook admins.

In fact, they went into overdrive in comment deleting that the photo has not got a single comment, over 2 hours after it was posted.

Team Singapore athletes in action at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
Opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games held at the Celtic Park Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 23, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The 14th Commonwealth Games kicked off in the Scottish city of Glasgow on July 23 and Team Singapore, with a 70-strong contingent, will be competing in sports from shooting and swimming to badminton and gymnastics.

Of the team, 45 are young athletes making their debut and medal hopes are high for some of them.

Straits Times photographer Kua Chee Siong will be on hand to capture their competition moments, so bookmark this page and come back for regular photography updates on the team's performance.

President identifies new avenue of sporting excellence
Dr Tan, with chef de mission Low Teo Ping, inaugurating the "Singapore Square" at the living quarters of the athletes. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

A PIECE of real estate in Scotland has been "claimed" by Singapore.

Far away from home, living together for two weeks and facing the pressure of intense competition, Team Singapore athletes were cheered by a visit from President Tony Tan Keng Yam on Tuesday evening.

And, at the invitation of chef de mission Low Teo Ping, he humorously named the backyard of their accommodation in the Games Village "Singapore Square@Commonwealth Avenue".