SINGAPORE - After winning the silver medal at the 2003 SEA Games in Vietnam, the Singapore women's basketball team has been in a steady decline.
They last took part in the biennial ASEAN meet in 2007, and since last October, have also not been training regularly.
The period of inactivity is set to end following the appointment of Ng Choon Hong as the women's head coach. It is the first move to rejuvenate the team with the ultimate aim of challenging for a medal at next year's SEA Games on home soil.
Ng signed a two-year contract on Friday, taking over from previous head coach Mao Hai Bin, whose contract expired at the end of last year.
Basketball Association of Singapore (BAS) deputy president Hoo Boon Hock said: "The women's team has been inactive compared to the men's, but we want to rebuild the team, starting with the new appointment.
"We will use the women's National Basketball League next month to select players for the national team and, if possible, complement them with one or two foreign players.
"We want to field a women's team at next year's SEA Games, and we hope the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) will approve."
Dr Koh Koon Teck, chairman of the BAS' coaching and development committee, added: "The women's team will play in a regional tournament in May. We are also trying to organise training trips for them."
New coach Ng had previously served as BAS' honorary secretary. He had also coached the national men's Under-18s, leading them to the biennial Fiba Asia Under-18 Championship in 2004 and 2006 as one of the three qualifiers from South-east Asia. He currently coaches local club Adroit Sports Association, as well as the girls' team at Unity Secondary School.
Playmaker Koh Wei Bin, who was in the women's team in 2007, said: "I hope the team get to play more this year. We really want to play at the SEA Games."
Meanwhile, men's coach Neo Beng Siang retained his position.
Neo led the men's team to a bronze medal at last year's SEA Games. It was the Republic's first men's basketball medal at the meet since 1979.
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