SINGAPORE - Despite bagging just one gold and one silver at the 2011 South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Indonesia, the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) is expecting big things from the country's shooters at this year's competition.
The SNOC released an initial list of 286 athletes from 24 sports that will fly the flag for the country at the 2013 SEA Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, from Dec 11 to 22.
Among the list are the national Under-23 football team, who got the go-ahead after a 13-member selection committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean - the SNOC president - met on Friday.
During a media session at the Singapore Sports Council after the meeting on Friday evening, SNOC secretary general Chris Chan named shooting as one of three sports expected to deliver the bulk of the medals for Team Singapore.
Singapore's shooters won two medals in Jakarta two years ago, compared to Vietnam's 13 and Thailand's 12, but they will be represented by 18 athletes in Myanmar. They will be led by Jasmine Ser, who bagged the silver in the women's 10-metre air rifle in 2011.
Said Chan: "The shooters didn't do too well in 2011, but some of them have hit very high scores in recent times.
"Perhaps the problem is that other countries have shooters who hit (scores of) 400 every week, while we don't attain that mark as regularly.
"Still, judging from the sport's great showing at the Commonwealth Games (in 2010), shooting is a sport we can expect good results from."
Sports to bank on
At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India, Singapore bagged 14 medals in the sport, including five golds.
Chan named sailing and swimming as the two other sports Singapore will bank on to bring home the bulk of the medals.
"For our sailors, we all know the mark that they have set over the years," Chan said.
"We usually do well in swimming at the SEA Games, and I'm also putting my money on water polo to do well."
Around 576 athletes across 29 sports applied for a ticket to Myanmar.
The five sports which submitted nominations but did not get the nod of approval were weightlifting, women's volleyball, chess, karate and muay thai.
Those national sport associations disappointed with the SNOC selection have until Aug 19 to submit appeals. An appeals committee will meet on Aug 30 to deliberate, before all entries by name have to be submitted to the Myanmar organising committee on Nov 6.
Singapore sent a 414-strong contigent to the 2011 SEA Games. The athletes collected a haul of 42 golds, 45 silvers and 73 bronzes.
Chan declined to speculate on the number of the medals he expects Singapore to garner.
He was optimistic that all athletes chosen would be competitive.
"As we have based the qualifying mark on the third-placing (time or distance) at the last SEA Games, those selected should be competitive," he said.
"Nobody is counting medals, we just want our athletes to be competitive in every event."
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