Hockey: Eager to make home ground count

Hockey: Eager to make home ground count
From left to right: Laura Tan, Tan Si Jing and national women's coach Coen van Putten at the Seng Kang Stadium.

Laura Tan was a toddler the last time the South-east Asia (SEA) Games was hosted in Singapore in 1993.

But like everyone associated with hockey, she is well aware of the gold medal exploits of Melanie Martens and her golden generation at that Games.

The vice captain of the national women's team vows they will take history in their stride, if comparisons are drawn when the biennial Games arrives in Singapore next June.

In 1993, Martens led the team to Singapore's first and only SEA Games women's hockey gold.

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Tan, 23, said: "We don't really feel the pressure even though the Games will be at home; in fact, it will be nice having our family and friends watch us.

"For sure we want at least a medal. It is our medal to lose, instead of one we need to get - it's not out of our reach."

The Singapore women are ranked 48th in the world; besides Malaysia (21) and Thailand (53) there are no other ASEAN teams on the world ladder.

VIVID

But the pain of the 2013 SEA Games is something Tan remembers vividly.

The Singapore women were expected to return with a medal, but lost 4-2 to Thailand in their last pool game to finish fourth.

They were then beaten by Myanmar - which only recently picked up the sport - 1-0 in the bronze-medal match.

Tan said: "I remember seeing the ball roll in for the Myanmar goal - it was very painful.

"We were attacking the entire game and they were just putting their bodies on the line. We couldn't put the ball in."

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