Debutants eyeing bronze at Incheon

Debutants eyeing bronze at Incheon

They will make their Asiad debut at this year's Incheon Asian Games in Korea. But already, the Singapore womens' water polo team are aiming big.

The team have quickly set their eyes on a bronze medal at the Sept 19-Oct 4 Games, after having made the first cut for qualification yesterday.

Said Ivan Tan, Singapore Swimming Association's vice-president (water polo): "It is a fantastic achievement and very good recognition, especially for the women's team, for all their efforts this far.

"The team will be heartened to hear the news and we should chase for a bronze medal at the Games."

Tan reckons that the standard of women's water polo in the region falls into two tiers.

In the first tier are powerhouses China and Kazakhstan, who have professional players within their ranks. The second tier is contested by other nations such as Uzbekistan, Singapore, and Japan.

Singapore's women got the nod after coming in second at last year's Asian Water Polo Cup, which was held here. China won the competition while Thailand was third.

Added Singapore captain Tan Su-lynn, 29: "This is a proud moment for us as we are stepping up to the Asian level.

"We are quietly confident of at least making the semi-finals at the Games."

Tan and her team, who won the 2011 SEA Games gold, were among 210 athletes from 18 sports who got the nod from the Singapore National Olympic Council to represent the Republic at the Korea Games.

At the previous 2010 Games held in Guangzhou, China, Singapore sent a team of 240 athletes from 23 sports and came back with four golds, seven silvers and six bronzes.

This year's Games contingent is likely to be beefed up before the SNOC submits its final list of athletes on Aug 15.

Some notable absentees which missed the first cut include football and hockey - both of which will be appealing with new results - and several big-name swimmers such as top male swimmer Joseph Schooling.

The nine swimmers selected so far hit their marks at last month's Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships. But Joseph, along with his United States-based compatriots such as Lynette Lim, Rainer Ng, Quah Ting Wen, and Meagan Lim, will try to qualify next month at their meet of choice.

Meanwhile, at yesterday's appeal, the nation's Commonwealth Games squad also saw an addition of 11 athletes from gymnastics and weightlifting, including national gymnast Lim Heem Wei. That makes a total of 82 from seven sports who are headed to Glasgow, Scotland, in July.

Three more athletes also got their ticket to compete at August's Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.

Shooters Martina Veloso and Teh Xiu Yi, and Taekwondo exponent Chew Xin Wei join three sailors to make the team of six.

ugenec@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 5 in The Straits Times.

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