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“What is the use of concentrating on “If Laos say that they can’t organise
the SEA Games when it does not offer indoor cycling because they do not
popular sports which are in the have a velodrome, it is
Olympics, Asian Games and understandable. But they have even
Commonwealth Games? Even in a done away with the road races, and I
hundred years, fin swimming will not am sure they have roads there.”
make it to the Olympics.”

A CIRCUS’ DATUK SERI ISMAIL, Malaysia’s Sports Minister

Axing of Olympic sports, gold prospects, such as tenpin bowling

and squash, have been sidelined.
“What is the use of concentrating on
Games relevant to S’pore: Teo
inclusion of capteh, the SEA Games when it does not offer
popular sports which are in the Olympics,
upsets Malaysian minister Asian Games and Commonwealth
BY LIN XINYI although the result is that the SEA Games
are perceived as less competitive and
Games,” The New Straits Times quoted “more social”.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Sports Minis- SINGAPORE’S Senior Parliamentary Sec-
Datuk Seri Ismail as saying after he ST FILE PHOTO Singapore National Olympic Council
ter Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has la- launched the Youth Square at Bukit Jalil retary (Community Development, Youth
and Sports) Teo Ser Luck says the secretary-general Chris Chan also feels
belled the South-east Asia Games a cir- on Saturday. that the SEA Games are not in danger of
cus. “Even in a hundred years, fin swim- South-east Asia Games are still relevant
to the Republic. losing their significance.
Incensed that first-time host Laos,
who will stage the next edition in Decem-
ming will not make it to the Olympics,
and so, it is better that our preparations SEA Games 2009 He explained: “The SEA Games can be “For the man in the street, the SEA
Games have a lot of meaning because of
ber, has dropped Olympic sports such as be watered down.” a test bed for us to identify good athletes
the rivalry among neighbours,” he noted.
Bernama quoted the minister as saying to groom.”
gymnastics and hockey, but included *Sports that will feature: Athletics, aquatics “It’s a big thing when Singapore beat
events such as fin swimming and shuttle- that Malaysia might send second-string- However, he conceded that they are Malaysia in football. More so than if we
(diving, swimming), archery, badminton,
ers to Laos, although his ministry would now secondary to higher-level meets like were to beat a team, like say, Bahrain.”
cock kicking (capteh), he said the biennial billiards and snooker, cycling, boxing, fin
discuss the matter with the National the Commonwealth, Asian and Olympic He also said that it is important that
regional sports fest will no longer be a pri- swimming (above), football, golf, judo,
Sports Council and the Olympic Council Games. Singapore accommodate their neigh-
ority for Malaysia. karate, muay thai, petanque, sepak takraw,
of Malaysia before making the decision. He explained that Singapore’s sporting bours, and take into account their histori-
SEA Games hosts have historically had shooting, shuttlecock kicking, silat, table
He was also upset with the cancella- success over the last two years, including cal background.
a big say in the number and type of sports tennis, taekwondo, tennis and soft tennis,
tion of cycling, although The Straits the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where the For example, it would be natural for La-
that feature in each edition. Among the volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling, wushu.
Times could not confirm this. He noted: women’s table tennis team clinched the os – a former French protectorate – to in-
reasons cited are the lack of facilities, Olympic sports that are missing: Fencing,
“If Laos say that they can’t organise in- Republic’s first medal in 48 years, and clude petanque, a game that originated in
equipment or technical expertise. gymnastics, handball, hockey, rowing, sailing.
door cycling because they do not have a swimmer Tao Li finished fifth in the France.
The SEA Games’ previous edition in Other sports that have been dropped:
velodrome, it is understandable. But they 100m butterfly final, signalled the need He added that if Singapore were to
Korat, Thailand, featured 43 sports, from Baseball, bodybuilding, bowling, dance sport,
have even done away with the road races, for Singapore to look beyond the SEA host the SEA Games, tenpin bowling and
which Malaysia took 68 golds, its best rugby, softball, traditional boat race.
and I am sure they have roads there. Games. netball are likely to feature, even though
“away” showing. Status to be decided before the Dec 9-18
“It is fast turning into a community However, unlike Malaysian Sports Min- they are non-Olympic sports.
But this year’s edition in Laos is expect- Games: Basketball, canoeing, water polo.
Games, and that is why it is better we con- ister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Mr He said: “Some sports are more popu-
ed to feature only 25 sports. * List as of Nov 13, 2008, following SEA
centrate on the 2010 Commonwealth and Teo said that he had no qualms about the lar within this region. It wouldn’t be fair
As such, Malaysia has already “lost” Games Federation meeting in Vientiane.
Asian Games as they are good stepping inclusion of non-mainstream sports such for us to say that a game like petanque,
some 34 golds as the country’s traditional stones to excel at the Olympics.” as fin swimming and shuttlecock kicking, for example, is silly.”

Nizam, 17, joins the Young Lions

BY WANG MENG MENG but he is not afraid to take on defenders
and take shots.
IT IS all change at the Young Lions with “He’s very young and it can be a risk
a new tactician at the helm and a new playing him in the national Under-23s
marksman firing the bullets. but when you have a talent who has
In a sparring match between what is something extra compared to his peers,
essentially the national Under-23 side, you have to take a chance on him.”
and the Lions, the eager youngsters put Nizam, who donned the red No. 17
up a spirited fight before going down shirt made famous by Fandi – Singa-
2-3 to the seniors at the National Stadi- pore’s favourite footballing son – yester-
um yesterday. day, was discovered as a 14-year-old
The gritty Young Lions show was pre- playing for Sengkang Punggol’s U-16s
sided over by their new handler Terry three years ago.
Pathmanathan, the former national Un- He is excited about his new adven-
der-21 coach, who has swopped roles ture with the Young Lions.
with last season’s coach, V. Sundramoor- He said: “The training has been very

Creating a buzz for action thy.

And making a big impression was
striker Khairul Nizam, who bagged a
tough. Fitness coach Aleksandar
Bozenko really pushed me to my limits.
“But I’m enjoying myself. I want to
learn and I’m happy to make new
goal and proved to be a handful for Rad-
AROUND 30 youth ambassadors of Create Action Now! friends.”
dy Avramovic’s seasoned players. Nizam’s introduction is just one of
(CAN!), a youth initiative in celebration of the Singapore 2010 The 17-year-old is yet another bright many in an overhauled Young Lions
Youth Olympic Games (YOG), took to the streets along prospect given the “new Fandi Ahmad” squad. According to Pathmanathan, just
Orchard Road and the Bugis area yesterday. label but several Football Association of 10 players were retained from last sea-
Singapore officials believe he could be son’s squad of 30.
Dressed in lime-green T-shirts and freezing momentarily in the real deal, even though he has yet to With the South-east Asia Games to
various poses with their signboards and placards, they were make his S-League debut. be played in Laos in December, the
out to raise awareness and interest for Saturday’s CAN! youth With his team trailing to a former national captain is on a mission
event at the Singapore Management University (SMU) 24th-minute volley from Muhammad to whip his rookies into shape.
Ridhuan, Nizam came on as a sec-
Campus Green. ond-half substitute and made an imme-
He said: “Most of this year’s new
players were recruited from the Prime
The event is jointly organised by the four local universities diate impact, outjumping Baihakki League.
– SMU, Nanyang Technological University, National Khaizan to a corner kick before heading Nizam (left) has been labelled the “new Fandi
Ahmad”. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE “It will be a test of their confidence in
University of Singapore and Singapore Institute of wide. the S-League. They are the best young
Management. It is supported by the Singapore Youth Olympic The former Home United trainee also players in the country and we’ll see if
demonstrated his footwork by turning Juma’at Jantan before beating the ad- they can live up to expectations.”
Games Organising Committee. past centre-backs Baihakki and Precious vancing Lionel Lewis with a ferocious Singapore won a bronze, their first
The activities lined up include a non-competitive 2,010m Emuejeraye. right-footed shot. SEA Games football medal since 1995, at
run, a sports carnival featuring three YOG sports and a music Strike partner Eugene Luo equalised It took another long-range missile the 2007 edition in Korat, Thailand.
concert featuring local bands. in the 50th minute but midfielder Shi from Shi seven minutes from time to Meanwhile, the senior national team
Jiayi put the Lions ahead once more in win the bout for the seniors. will depart for Dubai tonight for a train-
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community the 69th with a long-distance attempt. “Nizam has the makings of a very ing tour before meeting Iran in Teheran
Development, Youth and Sports, will be the guest of honour That lead lasted barely a minute be- good striker,” observed Pathmanathan. on Jan 14 to begin their 2011 Asian Cup
for the festival. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN fore Nizam dispossessed left-back “He struggled a bit with his fitness qualification campaign.

Safin triumphs despite

Next 72 hours sporting two black eyes Scoreboard
Today PERTH: Marat Safin (right) has admitted being Basketball
Football involved in a brawl in Moscow last week, but NBA Indiana 122 Sacramento 117, Atlanta 103
Houston 100, Charlotte 102 Milwaukee 92,
English FA Cup: Blyth Spartans v Blackburn wasted no time declaring he had won the fight. Miami 101 New Jersey 96 (OT), Minnesota 102
(Live, Ch24, tomorrow, 3.55am). The Russian tennis star stunned fans when Chicago 92, San Antonio 108 Philadelphia 106,
he turned up late at the Hopman Cup sporting Denver 105 New Orleans 100.
Tennis Singapore Challenge Series Singapore
Hopman Cup: USA v Slovakia (Live, Ch24, two black eyes, but he recovered in time to Slingers 97 Bantang Pier Harbour Centre 72.
5pm) beat Italian Simone Bolelli 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 in his
ATP Qatar Open: Day 1 (Live, Ch24, 9pm). opening match yesterday. Cricket
“I won the fight, I’m good, I’m okay,” he Third Test Second day in Sydney: Australia
Tomorrow 445 (M. Clarke 138). South Africa 125-1.
said. “I got in trouble in Moscow but it’s okay, Second Test Second day in Chittagong,
Football Bangladesh: Sri Lanka 384 all out (T. Dilshan
Dubai Football Challenge: Hamburg SV v AC
I can survive. I just wasn’t in the right place at
the right time.” 162, C. Kapugedera 96, M. Warnapura 63) and
Milan (Live, Ch27, 10.55pm) 13-0. Bangladesh 208 all out (M.Mortaza 63).
English League Cup s-finals: Tottenham He and younger sister Dinara Safina teamed
Hotspur v Burnley (Live, Ch24, Wednesday, up to beat the Italian pair of Bolelli and Flavia Football
3.55am). Pennetta 2-1 in the Group B tie. Spanish Primera Liga Barcelona 3 Real
Mallorca 1, Valencia 3 Atletico Madrid 1.
He later confirmed 2009 would likely be the
Hopman Cup: France v Italy (Live, Ch24, last year of a career that has netted two Grand Tennis
9.30am) Slams, two Davis Cups and the No. 1 ranking, Abu Dhabi c’ship Final: Andy Murray (Gbr) bt
Rafael Nadal (Esp) 6-4 5-7 6-3.
ATP Qatar Open: Day 2 (Live, Ch24, 9pm). and also left a long trail of broken rackets. ATP/WTA Brisbane International Men’s
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE singles: Julien Benneteau (Fra) bt Robby
Ginepri (USA) 3-6 6-3 7-5, Robin Soederling
Wednesday (Swe) bt Sam Querrey (USA) 6-3 6-3, Taylor
Football Dent (USA) bt Steve Darcis (Bel) 7-6 (7-0)
English League Cup s-finals: Derby County v 6-2, Richard Gasquet (Fra) bt Marc Gicquel
Manchester United (Live, Ch27, Thursday, (Fra) 4-6 6-2 6-2. Women’s singles: Alisa
3.40am) “This is what dreams are made of.” Kleybanova (Rus) bt Kaia Kanepi (Est) 6-1
6-4, Marion Bartoli (Fra) bt Monica Wejnert
Striker Matthew Green, after scoring the (Aus) 6-1 6-2, Victoria Azarenka (Bel) bt
winner for non-league side Torquay in their 1-0 Kateryna Bondarenko (Ukr) 6-0 6-2, Jarmila
Hopman Cup: USA v Germany (Live, Ch24, Gajdosova (Slo) beat Peng Shuai (Chn) 6-4
9.30am) upset over Blackpool, a Championship team 60 6-2, Tsvetana Pironkova (Bul) bt Monica
ATP Qatar Open: Day 3 (Live, Ch24, 9pm). rungs above, in the FA Cup’s third round. Niculescu (Rom) 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-4.