SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (11 to 17 September):
Albirex finish triumphant season with 5-0 win
Albirex Niigata (Singapore) finished their triumphant 2023 Singapore Premier League (SPL) season in style, thrashing Hougang United 5-0 as they received their trophy at Jurong East Stadium on Saturday (16 September).
Goals from Seia Kunori (12th and 19th minutes), Junki Kenn Yoshimura (44th) and Tadanari Lee (49th and 69th) rounded off another successful season for the White Swans, as they clinched their second straight SPL title and sixth overall in their history.
The Lion City Sailors, champions in 2021, finished second for the second straight year, eight points behind Albirex. They completed their season with a 3-1 win over Geylang International at Bishan Stadium, coming back from a Yushi Yamaya goal (31st) to win with goals from Shawal Anuar (53rd), Hami Syahin (62nd) and Haiqal Pashia (95th).
Tampines finished third on 48 points, completing with a 3-1 win over Balestier Khalsa at Bishan Stadium on Friday. Glenn Kweh (72nd), Kyoga Nakamura (91st) and Shah Shahiran (94th) scored for the Stags, while Ryoya Taniguchi replied for Balestier.
DPMM FC finished sixth for the season, following a 1-1 draw with seventh-placed Tanjong Pagar United at Jurong East Stadium on Friday. Hakeme Yazid scored for the Brunei team in first-half stoppage time, but Marin Mudrazija equalised 10 minutes into the second half.
Cavendish, Ciccone confirm participation in S'pore Criterium
Next month's Tour de France Prudential Singapore Criterium will see two more cycling stars being added to the race - Mark Cavendish and Giulio Ciccone.
Cavendish, 38, holds the joint-record for the most stage wins at the Tour de France with 34 victories. The Briton has said that he would retire at the end of the 2023 season, meaning that his Singapore appearance could be the last time fans in the region will be able to see him in action.
Ciccone, on the other hand, won the mountain classification of the 2023 Tour de France race, establishing himself as the reigning king of the mountains.
Besides the duo, four other cyclists have confirmed their participations in the event, which will be held on 28 and 29 October around the Suntec City area. They are: Pello Bilbao and Yukiya Arashiro from the Bahrain Victorious team, and Victor Lafay and Axel Zingle from the Cofidis team.
Lions bounce back to beat Chinese Taipei 3-1
Singapore's men's football national team rebounded from a 0-2 friendly defeat by Tajikistan on 8 September with a 3-1 win over Chinese Taipei at the Bishan Stadium on Tuesday (12 September).
It was a marked improvement in performance from the Lions, who have been under fire after a run of unimpressive performances since the start of the year.
They had to rebound from a goal down against the visitors, after Ange Samuel Kouame headed in a cross by Fong Shao-chi in the 29th minute. The revival began in the 42nd minute, when Song Ui-young scored from the penalty spot after Iqbal Hussain was fouled in the box.
Defender Lionel Tan gave Singapore the lead in the 65th minute when he connected with a free kick by Zulfahmi Arifin, and forward Shawal Anuar added the third in stoppage time.
The Lions will next play their 2026 World Cup first-round qualifiers against Guam on 12 and 17 October.
Mixed doubles pair reach Hong Kong Open q-finals
Commonwealth Games gold medallists Terry Hee and Jessica Tan made it to the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Open on Thursday (14 September), when the mixed doubles shuttlers defeated China duo Cheng Xing and Chen Fanghui 21-13, 21-15 at the Hong Kong Coliseum.
While the duo could not advance further, after losing to China's Guo Xinwa and Wei Yaxin 12-21, 20-22 on Friday, it marked a change in fortunes for the Singapore pair, who have struggled for form this year.
Singapore's former world champion Loh Kean Yew, however, suffered an upset defeat in his opening round at the Hong Kong Open, losing 21-12, 17-21, 13-21 to France's Christo Popov on Wednesday.
Women's singles player Yeo Jia Min made it to the round of 16 after defeating American qualifier Kisona Selvaduray 21-11, 21-12 on Wednesday, but was beaten by fifth-seeded Indonesia Gregoria Mariska Tunjung 21-11, 21-18 the following day.
Women's football confirms squad of 22 for Asian Games
Singapore women’s football national team head coach Karim Bencherifa has named a final squad of 22 players for their debut Asian Games campaign in Hangzhou later this month.
The final selection was trimmed from a provisional squad of 29 players that had been undergoing centralised training since late August.
The Lionesses will be captained by centre-back Siti Rosnani Azman, and will feature stalwarts such as goalkeeper Noor Kusumawati – who could achieve her 50th cap for the country at the Asian Games – Ho Hui Xin, Farhanah Ruhaizat and Stephanie Gigette Dominguez.
The original match schedule for the Lionesses had included matches against both North Korea and Cambodia, but with the latter’s recent withdrawal from the Games, Singapore will have to play North Korea twice with the overall winner to be determined either by points or by a superior goal difference.
Singapore squad - Goalkeepers: Noor Kusumawati Mohammad Rosman, Beatrice Tan, Erlinawaty Dewi Jaffar. Defenders: Irsalina Irwan, Nur Syazwani Ruzi, Nur Umairah Hamdan, Siti Rosnani Azman, Nur Adrianna Hazeri, Khairunnisa Khairol Anwar, Siti Nurerwadah Erwan. Midfielders: Dhaniyah Qasimah Zamri Abdullah, Venetia Lim, Nasriah Ibrahim, Sitianiwati Rosielin, Nur Afiqah Omar, Stephanie Gigette Dominguez, Ho Hui Xin. Forwards: Nur Farhanah Ruhaizat, Nur Sarah Zu’risqha Zul’keplim Farah Nurzahirah Abdul Fattah, Nur Raudhah Kamis, Nicole Lim.
Nations Cup to return in October at OCBC Arena
The Mirxes Nations Cup netball tournament will return to the OCBC Arena from 22 to 28 October 2023, and will feature the Singapore Opens team against five other sides: Sri Lanka, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Canada and Singapore's A team (developmental squad).
The competition will see Charmaine Soh, Singapore's most-capped player, make her comeback following a year out due to injury. Together with Lee Pei Shan, the 33-year-old will rejoin the national squad which were placed 15th in July's Netball World Cup.
For the Singapore A Team, it will be the second time they are featured in the Nations Cup. Established in 2020, the team predominantly comprises players aged 23 and under, and also includes Opens players who may not regularly secure court time or are returning to the national setup after a hiatus from competitive action.
Tickets are available for purchase through Ticketmaster. Follow Netball Singapore (@netballsingapore) on social media for the latest updates.
Singapore Opens team: Toh Kai Wei, Khor Ting Fang, Aqilah Andin, Charmaine Soh, Lee Pei Shan, Amandeep Kaur, Angelina Lim, Tan Yi Jie, Rachel Ling, Kimberly Lim, Jamie Lim, Reena Divya. Singapore A team: Goh Wei Ping, Priscilla Wong, Rebecca Leong, Sherlyn Yip, Zulfa Rashad, Laura Low, Matilda Su-Yin Narayan, Miki Ng, Faith Lawrence, Norah Paul Gabriel, Shannon Tan, K. Mishalenee.
Play Inclusive 2023 concludes with badminton, football competitions
The final competition day of Play Inclusive 2023 was played out at the OCBC Arena on Saturday (16 September), with 350 participants from Special Education (SPED) schools, disability centres and partner secondary schools teaming up to compete in badminton and five-a-side football.
This year's event saw the highest number of organisations coming on board as unified partners, with 31 of them partnering SPED schools and disability centres across six sports: badminton, basketball, boccia, floorball, football and goalball. About 660 participants and unified partners took part in Play Inclusive 2023 over the two competition days.
Inaugurated in 2018, Play Inclusive is a multi-sport competition to promote inclusion in the community through shared sporting experiences between persons with and without disabilities. Unified teams trained for up to eight weeks together before competing in the finale events.
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