WEEKLY ROUND-UP: Sports happenings in Singapore (30 Aug to 5 Sept)

Singapore national footballer Siti Rosnani Azman has earned a one-season contract with Japanese professional league team INAC Kobe Leonessa. (PHOTO: Football Association of Singapore)
Singapore national footballer Siti Rosnani Azman has earned a one-season contract with Japanese professional league team INAC Kobe Leonessa. (PHOTO: Football Association of Singapore)

SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (30 August to 5 September):

Rosnani Azman to become 1st S'porean to play in Japan pro league

Singapore women's national footballer Siti Rosnani Azman is set to become the first Singaporean to play in Japan’s professional women’s league, after signing a one-season contract with International Athletic Club (INAC) Kobe Leonessa to play in the Women Empowerment (WE) League, which will begin on Sunday (12 September).

The 24-year-old defender said in a media release by Football Association of Singapore (FAS) on Friday (3 September), “I am very honoured and thankful for this rare opportunity to train and compete in Japan. I believe this experience will push me outside of my comfort zone to grow as both a player and an individual.”

Rosnani's signing was completed with the help of the FAS as well as Albirex Niigata (Singapore) officials Shu Namba and Suzanna Foo, who connected her with the director of INAC Kobe.

In making the move, she will be able to train alongside Japan internationals Ayaka Yamashita, Emi Nakajima, Hina Sugita, Yuka Momiki and Mina Tanaka, all of whom were part of the Japan squad at the recent Tokyo Olympics.

Rosnani, who had played football since she was 11 years old, earned her first national-team call-up in 2012, and was the FAS Player of the Year in 2017.

She becomes the second Lioness to play for a professional club after Lim Shiya, who turned out for Australian side Perth Glory in the W-League in the 2008/09 season. She had previously played for Australia's Southwest Queensland Thunder FC in the semi-professional National Premier League of Queensland, after joining them last year.

Eleven clubs will feature in the inaugural season of the WE League, and there will be no relegation for the first several years. The league also requires that women comprise half of each club’s staff and officials.

HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens cancelled for 2nd straight year

Sport Singapore and World Rugby, together with their partners, have made the collective decision to cancel this year's HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens, which was slated to take place at the end of October. This is the second year in a row that the event has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a media statement on Friday (3 September), SportSG said it remains committed to bringing back the event in April next year, subject to the improvement of the global pandemic situation.

"The difficult decision to cancel this year’s edition was made after much deliberation over global travel restrictions, quarantine protocols (at both Singapore and participating countries) and prevailing safe management measures on event days," SportSG added in its statement.

"Past editions of the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens have always been remembered as a fun family sport and entertainment event for all. Unfortunately, under the circumstances, we would be unable to create that experience and continue to run a successful large-scale event for the fans, players, officials."

Xiong Jingnan (right) of China battles Brazil's Michelle Nicolini in their main-event bout at ONE: Empower. (PHOTO: ONE Championship)
Xiong Jingnan (right) of China battles Brazil's Michelle Nicolini in their main-event bout at ONE: Empower. (PHOTO: ONE Championship)

Xiong dominates Nicolini to retain title at ONE: Empower

Reigning ONE Championship women's strawweight champion Xiong Jingnan retained her title with a one-side victory over Brazil's Michelle Nicolini at ONE: Empower, the fight event company's first all-women event which was aired from the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday (3 September).

All three judges scored the bout in favour of Xiong to win by unanimous decision, as she earned her fifth successful title defence.

In the co-main event, Seo Hee Ham stunned top-ranked Denice Zamboanga via split decision to advance to the ONE women's atomweight world grand prix semi-finals. Also advancing was Thailand's Stamp Fairtex, who also earned a split-decision victory against Alyona Rassohyna.

India's Ritu Phogat survived a first-round onslaught to earn a unanimous-decision win over China's Meng Bo and punch her ticket to the grand prix semi-finals. And Japan's Itsuki Hirata completed the final four with a comprehensive win over Alyse Anderson.

In other bouts, Anissa Meksen made her ONE Super Series debut with a second-round knockout win over Cristina Morales; Jackie Buntan defeated Daniela Lopez in a unanimous decision victory; and Julie Mezabarba dominated Mei Yamaguchi to also earn a unanimous decision win.

Bowler Cherie Tan comes in 2nd at US Women's Open

Singapore bowler Cherie Tan narrowly missed out on winning the prestigious US Women's Open title, after she lost 194-198 to top-seeded American Josie Barnes in the final on Tuesday (31 August)

In her first tournament since 2019, the 33-year-old had qualified for the step-ladder final as the second seed and had beaten another American Shannon Pluhowsky 178-166 in the semi-finals to set up a meeting with Barnes at the Double Decker Lanes in California.

Tan made history in 2019 by becoming the first Singaporean to win the Masters title at the World Bowling women's championships and is also the first Asian to capture the Professional Women's Bowling Association Players Championship.

PHOTO: SailSG Challenge
PHOTO: SailSG Challenge

SailSG Challenge aims to raise funds while attempting circumnavigation

A group of National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduates is organising the "SailSG Challenge" to try and complete the first circumnavigation of mainland Singapore using only wind and sail power.

The event is scheduled to be held from 25 to 26 September, and the group hopes to raise funds for the KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) Health Fund, which aims to ease the financial burdens of young patients and their families.

"The financial burden of medication, hospital visits and monitoring can deprive families and children of the time and space needed to live out a 'normal' childhood. COVID-19 has only worsened the financial impacts and complicated the road to recovery, with measures like the strict visitor policy leaving many young patients feeling lonely and isolated from loved ones," the group said in a media release.

"We hope that this gesture of ours can go that bit further by inspiring others to also encourage and support this group that’s special to us."

To help raise funds for KKH Health Fund via the challenge, the public can donate any amount to SailSG Challenge's giving.sg page.

Limitless Run 2021 opens for registration

The Limitless Run 2021 will be a virtual fundraising running event from 3 to 10 October, where all proceeds will go towards support youth mental health programmes organised by non-profit organisation Limitless.

This year's theme is "I Run For Hope", and there are three race categories: the 5km solo, the 10km solo and the 10km group runs. Participants are encouraged to use a running app to track and record their time and distance during the race period.

Organisers will send the finisher’s medal after verification. All runners will also be entitled to a race pack, while those taking part in the 10km solo category will also get a race T-shirt. Runners will also get access to classes conducted by mental health professionals from 11 to 15 October.

Registration for The Limitless Run 2021 opened on Wednesday (1 September) and will last until 9 October.

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