Singapore women stun world champs Chinese Taipei to lift Asia Pacific crown (Article: Straits Times)
The national women's tchoukball team stunned world champions Chinese Taipei 39-35 to clinch their maiden gold medal at the Asia Pacific Tchoukball Championships on Sunday (Aug 7, 2022).
An earlier 50-35 defeat in the round-robin stage of the competition had suggested that Singapore would come up second best to the Taiwanese. But a change in tactics and a disciplined performance in the final at the Educity Sports Complex in Iskandar Puteri Johor allowed them to secure their first win over the defending champions.
Captain Tan Irene, 31, said: "It's an amazing feeling to beat the defending champions and the best team in the world.
"It's always been our long-term goal to beat Chinese Taipei and we're so proud to have achieved this feat. Credit must go to the team for a determined performance."
She said that the team had used their loss in the round-robin stage to analyse Chinese Taipei's strengths and weaknesses and come up with a game plan to outfox their opponents.
She noted: "We surprised the Taiwanese by coming up with a different approach in the final.
"In a way, we didn't want to show too much of ourselves in the earlier game so they we could surprise them. We knew they have good attackers so the plan was to start out strongly, not commit ourselves too easily, defend well, and make our shots count."
Tan attributed the team's success to extra time spent training and analysing their game during the pandemic.
"Initially we thought that the lack of matches and training tours would set us back during these last two years," said Tan.
"But as it turned out, the added time spent training in Singapore meant we could focus more on perfecting our game, looking at our past performances and analysing our own game and that of our opponents.
"This was our first competition in two years and to win it with a new squad, in which half are new additions to the national team, it is really satisfying."
The win over the Taiwanese has Singapore setting their sights on the world championships next year where capturing their first world title is now a "realistic target", said Tan.
Tchoukball Association of Singapore president Delane Lim paid credit to his players and coaches for their hard work, especially during the pandemic. "The win shows that the plans we have put in place for the renewal of our teams is working," said Lim.
"Other teams sent quite senior players to the tournament. But we sent a good mix of youth and experience and that augurs well for our future."
Singapore's hopes of double gold were however dashed when Chinese Taipei proved too strong for them in the men's final, winning the match 73-48.