Singapore men seal bronze, women are fifth at World Tchoukball Championships (Article: Straits Times 6 August 2023)
The national men’s tchoukball team ended their World Tchoukball Championships campaign with a bronze medal after beating Switzerland 67-57 in the third-place play-offs on Saturday.
Their performance in Prague, Czech Republic, meant they matched their performance in 2019, when they also finished third.
After losing 55-56 to world No. 2 Italy in the semi-final on Friday, third-ranked Singapore went into Saturday’s game against Switzerland with more confidence.
Captain Ivan Ng said: “We did well today and one of the reasons for the good performance was that we were much more confident going into the match. The Italians played at a high standard and that puts the team under some pressure.
“But against Switzerland, we were more relaxed and that allowed us to better control the game. We went into the competition hoping for a top-four finish so I would say we did well to meet our target.”
Despite the loss to Italy, Ng believes their performance showed the gap between Singapore and the top teams is not that wide.
He said: “To reach that level, we need to train hard and build a strong core group of players for the next world championships.”
The 22-year-old added that with the team boasting a good mix of six experienced players and six debutants, there is a healthy base to build on toward the next world championships in 2027.
“One thing we learned at the tournament is that we lack consistency,” said Ng.
“We get distracted by refereeing decisions that don’t go our way and allow that to affect us.
“With Europe showing their strength at this year’s tournament, we should also look to international exposure to gain experience playing in different environments.”
In the final, Italy lost 58-57 to defending champions and top-ranked Chinese Taipei.
Meanwhile, the Singapore women’s team bounced back from Friday’s shock quarter-final elimination by Hong Kong to beat Germany 61-28, before sealing fifth spot with a 68-24 victory against Argentina.
The women, ranked No.1 in the world, were fancied to meet world No. 2 Chinese Taipei in the final. But the championships showed the rise of the European teams as Italy knocked out defending champions Chinese Taipei 61-58.
In the women’s final, Switzerland beat Italy 42-36 to win the gold.
Tchoukball Association of Singapore president Delane Lim said: “Although we had hoped for two medals, the bronze by the men’s team is still a nice birthday present to Singapore.
“I want to pay tribute to the men’s team who showed resilience and courage, characteristics we want our national teams to have.
“The tournament has shown that the world order for the sport may be shifting slightly. The Europeans have improved so much that even traditional powerhouse Chinese Taipei were also affected.
“We will have to work hard to match these teams.”