Fever pitch football

SINGAPORE - What would you do if you were watching a football game and a player rockets a wayward ball into the stands and it's headed right for you?

Thanks to this picture by Mr Sim Yong Wah, you get a pretty good idea of how people would react.

Mr Sim said that he only managed to capture the moment because was tracking the movement of the ball after the player kicked it into the stands.

"If I hadn't followed through, I wouldn't have been able to get this shot," said Mr Sim, who took the picture at a Malaysian Super League match at Jalan Besar Stadium last year.

For his perseverance, Mr Sim, a logistics assistant at a pharmaceutical firm, won the weekly $500 prize in the Big Picture contest - a year-long event organised by The New Paper and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth to encourage Singaporeans to document everyday life in the city.

Last week's theme, "Kick-Off", called for photos to show how football fever has truly returned to Singapore.

Mr Sim, who is also a freelance photographer for the Football Association of Singapore, said he took the shot from the pitch during the match between ATM FA and the LionsXII last year. He said: "I was actually tracking the player before that.

"But when I saw the ball fly towards the fans in the grandstand, I decided to point my camera in the direction that the ball was flying and just triggered my camera."


Two judges picked Mr Sim's photo as their winning shot.

Judge Bryan van der Beek said: "The photographer must have been meticulously following the ball as he was shooting, which is good as people often forget to shoot once the ball leaves the field of play. Priceless faces on all of the fans."

Judge Jeff Chouw said: "It's a myriad of expressions that made this photo."

Meanwhile, the third judge, Mr Samuel He, preferred Mr Goh Teck Leong's photo of young boys from the Fandi Ahmad Academy waiting on the sidelines of a football pitch.

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