WEEKLY ROUND-UP: Sports happenings in Singapore (6-12 Nov)

Lions stalwarts return for World Cup qualifiers, women's water polo team to debut at World Championships, paddler Zane Ong wins in Bangkok

Singapore national football players (from left) Irfan Fandi, Safuwan Baharudin and Ikhsan Fandi are called up for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Korea and Thailand. (PHOTOS: Getty Images/Reuters)
Singapore national football players (from left) Irfan Fandi, Safuwan Baharudin and Ikhsan Fandi are called up for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Korea and Thailand. (PHOTOS: Getty Images/Reuters)

SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (6 to 12 November):

Stalwarts return to Lions fold after injuries

Singapore national football head coach Takayuki Nishigaya has selected 24 players in his squad for the opening two games of the second round of qualification for the 2026 FIFA World Cup/2027 AFC Asian Cup.

Several stalwarts are set to make their return from injury. Veteran defender Safuwan Baharudin is back in the national team fold, cleared by the local medical team after suffering a concussion injury last year. Ikhsan Fandi is also back after being out for almost 10 months with a knee injury, as is elder brother Irfan and BG Pathum teammate Ryhan Stewart.

The Lions will play South Korea at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Thursday (16 November), before hosting Thailand at the Singapore National Stadium at 8pm on 21 November. Tickets for the Thailand match against Thailand are on sale at the Football Association of Singapore website as well as Sistic, with the early-bird promotion period has been extended till Monday (13 November).

Singapore national football squad - Goalkeepers: Hassan Sunny, Syazwan Buhari, Zharfan Rohaizad. Defenders: Amirul Adli, M. Anumanthan, Jacob Mahler, Irfan Fandi, Safuwan Baharudin, Ryhan Stewart, Lionel Tan, Christopher van Huizen, Zulqarnaen Suzliman. Midfielders: Adam Swandi, Hami Syahin, Hariss Harun, Shah Shahiran, Shahdan Sulaiman, Song Ui-young, Zulfahmi Arifin. Forwards: Daniel Goh, Hafiz Nor, Ikhsan Fandi, Ilhan Fandi, Shawal Anuar.

Women's water polo team to make World C'ships debut

The national women’s water polo team is set to make their maiden appearance at the World Aquatics Championships next year in Doha from 2 to 18 February.

This surprise inclusion comes after Japan pulled out from the prestigious event, reportedly due to budget constraints. Japan’s place was then given to Singapore on the basis of the city-state's fourth-place finish at the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games in October. It was the Singapore women’s team's best-ever Asiad finish.

“Participating at this level will give us invaluable experience as we learn from the best teams in the world," said team captain Abielle Yeo. “We hope that participation at the World Championships can serve as an inspiration to future generations of water polo players in Singapore, encouraging more young athletes to pursue the sport.”

Singapore has been drawn into Group C, along with New Zealand, Hungary and Australia, who finished in fourth place at this year’s World Championships in Fukuoka. A total of 16 teams will take part in the competition in Doha.

Defending champ withdraws from S'pore Squash Open

Defending champion and women's world No.4 squash player Joelle King has withdrawn from this week's Vitagen Singapore Open due to injury.

With the revised draw after King's withdrawal, women’s world No.6 Nour El Tayeb will join her husband, reigning men’s world champion and world No.1 Ali Farag, as top seeds for the Professional Squash Association World Tour Gold event. World No.57 Emilia Soini will take King's slot, while men’s defending champion Mohamad El Shorbagy will be back to defend his title.

In addition, 2023 Asian Games men’s gold and silver medallists, Ng Eain Yow and Saurav Ghosal, as well as women’s gold medallist Sivasangari Subramanium, will be taking part along with Singapore athletes Marcus Phua and Au Yeong Wai Yhann.

The squash tournament will be held at the OCBC Arena Hall 1 from Tuesday to Sunday (14 to 19 November), with 48 elite squash athletes battling it out for a combined prize money of US$220,000.

Singapore youth paddler Zane Ong poses with his trophy and coach Wang Yao Jun at the ITTF Regional Hopes Week & Challenge in Bangkok. (PHOTO: STTA)
Singapore youth paddler Zane Ong poses with his trophy and coach Wang Yao Jun at the ITTF Regional Hopes Week & Challenge in Bangkok. (PHOTO: STTA)

Youth paddler Zane Ong triumphs in Bangkok event

Singapore youth paddler Zane Ong clinched the boys' singles Under-11 title at the ITTF Regional Hopes Week and Challenge in Bangkok on Friday (10 November).

The 11-year-old won all of his five matches in the opening group stage on Thursday to advance into the second round-robin stage. In his three second-stage matches, he defeated Malaysia's Muhammad Faiz Danial Muhammad Hazir and Thailand's Peemangkon Hiranyasombat and lost to Thailand's Phoomiphat Noita to emerge champion.

Zane will is set to progress to the next level by participating in the Asia Hopes Week and Challenge, and if he wins there, he will advance to the pinnacle of talent identification in table tennis, the World Hopes Week and Challenge.

Another youth paddler, 15-year-old Loy Xing Yao, came in joint-third in the boys' singles U-15 competition at the WTT Youth Contender event in Szombathely, Hungary, on 4 November.

PTO Tour to return to Singapore next April

The Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) has confirmed the 2024 PTO Tour will return to Singapore on 12 to 14 April, and will stage 100km triathlon races for professionals and experienced amateurs as well as two duathlons.

The event's swim legs will again take place in Marina Bay, while the bike and run courses are expected to be similar to this year's edition, in which the pro titles were won by PTO world No.1s Kristian Blummenfelt and Ashleigh Gentle.

Race slots are on sale for the 100km experienced amateur triathlon and the Standard (4.5km Run/32km Bike/4.5km Run) and Long Distance (9km Run/64km Bike/9km Run) duathlons.

The PTO’s return to Singapore in 2024 comes on the heels of announcing Ibiza as the home of the PTO European Open (28-29 September). Further stages of the 2024 PTO Tour will be announced in the coming months.

Over 2,200 took part in Let's Take A Walk 2023

Over 2,200 people participated in the Let’s Take A Walk 2023 charity event, which was held on 4 and 5 November at the Singapore Sports Hub and Safra Punggol. Organised by Raleigh Singapore, this volunteer-led initiative has also raised $150,000 for the registered charity, Ray of Hope.

The 100km and 50km walks were held on 4 November, with more than 150 walkers embarking on an overnight journey for the 100km event. Volunteers were on hand to provided support at care points throughout the 33-hour event.

On 5 November, the Sports Hub was the venue for the 5km and 10km charity walks which saw around 700 participants taking part.

A virtual edition of the walk, held from 21 October to 3 November, saw nearly 200 participants covering pledged distances of 20km, 50km or 100km through multiple walks or in a single attempt.

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