Lack of teams for floorball, sailing events a concern

Lack of teams for floorball, sailing events a concern

The uncertainty over floorball and some sailing events has cast a pall over the upcoming SEA Games but Singapore's top sports executive is confident of finding a solution before the June 5-16 showpiece begins.

SEA Games Organising Committee (Singsoc) exco chairman Lim Teck Yin did, however, admit that he is concerned that floorball and certain events in sailing have not met the minimum requirement that four National Olympic Committees (NOCs) must participate for an event to be included in the Games programme.

In the case of floorball, a strong gold medal prospect for Singapore, only the hosts, Thailand and Malaysia have registered their men's and women's squads.

It is understood that Indonesia and the Philippines have sides ready to play but are awaiting clearance from their respective NOCs.

"The two teams are there but it is a matter of waiting for the green light. So, in our role as organisers, we will wait for as long as it takes them to decide," Lim, who is also Sport Singapore's chief executive, told The Straits Times yesterday.

"It will be a real pity if an up-and-coming team sport that people are interested in watching and playing is dropped but I believe the matter can be resolved before the Games start."

Floorball, featuring three teams, was a demonstration sport at the 2013 edition in Myanmar, with no official medals given out.

As for sailing, five events - women's 470, Under-19 Laser Radial, 49er FX, Laser Radial team and men's Laser Standard team - have only three entries submitted for competition.

"Sailing is not so severe in the sense that the programme will continue - it's just a matter of how many events," Lim noted.

Nonetheless, it could hamper Singapore's medal ambitions as the Republic were the top performers in sailing two years ago, winning five golds, two silvers and five bronzes.

What is certain for now is the multi-sport extravaganza will get a grand kick-off, as Lim declared the opening ceremony on June 5 at the National Stadium a sell-out.

Swimming and fencing have already sold 80 per cent of tickets to date but boxing, judo and silat - all to be held at the Singapore Expo - are struggling to pack a winning punch.

Lim said: "I'd like to see a better response there. The national sports associations tell me it's not going to be a problem but I think they need to step up a lot more."

The former national water polo captain was speaking after leading President Tony Tan Keng Yam on his first tour of the Sports Hub yesterday - where they met national athletes training for the Games.

Dr Tan said: "Our athletes are all geared up and ready to go.

"The SEA Games is a coming-out party for the Sports Hub. Everything seems to be in order and we are all set to go.

"I'm confident we will be able to surpass the 50 gold medals we won in 1993. It will be a landmark moment for Singapore."

nsanjay@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on April 16, 2015.
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