As the Singapore men's squash team head into today's jumbo doubles preliminaries against the Philippines and Myanmar, they are boosted by the silver they received yesterday after a 2-0 defeat by Malaysia in the team event.
Although that did not end the Republic's quest for a first SEA Games gold in 22 years, it was the first podium finish since a siver in 2001 and comes as a timely shot in the arm. It also raised hopes that the sport is on track to eventually emulate the glorious side of 1993, who swept all four gold medals in the meet held on home soil.
Singapore coach Ibrahim Gul said: "We were the dominant force back then because there was not much competition.
"I am confident about double jumbo but today was a wake-up call for us."
Singapore Squash Rackets Association president Woffles Wu is equally optimistic, saying: "We already did very well to get a silver because the other countries were not pushovers.
"It would have been a nice bonus to get the gold but we did not, so we should put it behind us and not get derailed by today's results.
"Our target has always been the men's jumbo doubles, which is our pet event."
Although outclassed by Malaysia at Kallang Squash Centre, the Singapore team believe they threw everything at the favourites and will come back for more.
Samuel Kang, 24, was beaten 3-1 by Bahtiar Muhd (10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9) while team-mate Vivian Rhamanan, 29, who played the second match, lost to Malaysia's Sanjay S. Chal 3-0 (11-4, 11-2, 11-2) in just 20 minutes. The third match was not played.
Said Kang: "I gave it everything I had but they (Malaysia) played very well and deserve their medal. All we can do is just keep our heads up because we still have the jumbo doubles to go and we have a good chance to get gold for that."
An emotional Vivian, who was teary-eyed, added: "They are the powerhouse and we were the underdogs. My boys fought hard, and they can be proud of themselves, the pressure had been on us but we did our best."
This article was first published on June 14, 2015.
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