Water polo team eye step-up at Asiad

SINGAPORE - They are the undisputed kings of the ASEAN region, winning 25 consecutive gold medals at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games.

But the men's water polo team are aiming to make a step up at the upcoming Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, where they will face powerhouses such as Kazakhstan and Japan.

The team, along with their female counterparts, swimmers and divers, were present at the OCBC Aquatic Centre at the Singapore Sports Hub yesterday morning in a flag presentation ceremony, organised by the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA).

Captain Eugene Teo said: "We were inexperienced at the last Asian Games but, after going through training camps and competitions, our team have definitely become more mature.

"We just came back from a training camp in Japan, so we're pretty accustomed to their speed."

Japan clinched bronze at the 2010 Asiad in Guangzhou, China, while Kazakhstan and the hosts took gold and silver respectively.

The Republic finished sixth among nine teams then, winning two and drawing one of their six games, and are aiming for a top-four finish next month.

Some 47 athletes across three disciplines - swimming, water polo and diving - will represent Singapore at the quadrennial Games, which takes place between Sept 19 and Oct 4.

Fong Kay Yian, Myra Lee, and twins Mark and Timothy Lee form the diving team for the Games and will train in China for about a month from today before the Asian Games.

The quartet stunned most observers when they brought home four medals - two silvers and two bronzes - at last year's SEA Games in Myanmar. It was Singapore's best haul in the discipline since 1973.

However, Mark's Asiad bow is now in question after injuring himself in training yesterday. The 20-year-old hit his foot on the diving board during a dive and was sent to the hospital, where he underwent surgery.

In a release, the SSA said it has informed Sport Singapore and the Singapore National Olympic Council, and will monitor the situation.

The swimming team are 17-strong, comprising experienced competitors such as Quah Ting Wen, Amanda Lim and Danny Yeo, as well as promising youngsters like Nur Marina Chan, Tan Jing-E and Darren Lim.

In particular, all eyes will be on Tao Li and Joseph Schooling in Incheon.

Tao, 24, is aiming to win her third consecutive women's 50m fly gold and better her silver showing in the 100m fly from 2010.

Schooling, 19, won a historic silver for Singapore in the men's 100m fly at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last month and will aim to make waves again in Incheon next month.

This article was first published on August 31, 2014.
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