Double delight for Singapore as tchoukball teams win two golds at world youth c’ships (Article: Straits Times 17 July 2023)
Loud cheers erupted at the Pasir Ris Sports Centre on Sunday as the Singapore Under-15 boys upset top seeds Chinese Taipei 44-40 to claim top honours at the World Youth Tchoukball Championships.
It was almost not to be for the Republic’s boys, who were trailing by a goal after the second period, with the lead changing hands many times in the third.
But, told by their coach to “put everything on the court”, they fought tooth and nail to secure victory, as a cacophony of sounds from cowbells and air horns, and cheers from the 1,400-strong crowd reverberated around the packed venue.
Singapore U-15 captain Dylan Siow said: “I thought it was quite close.
“We could have done better slightly, but we did well overall. Quite proud of my team.
“We tried to make them run a bit, up and down the court, by switching between the two wingers, to make them tired.”
The Bendemeer Secondary School student also hopes that the team can stay together and build on their victory at the tournament, which featured U-12, U-15 and U-18 boys and girls’ teams.
Their triumph helped the hosts clinch a golden double, with the U-18 girls retaining their title with a comfortable 43-16 win over Macau.
Singapore girls’ U-18 coach Angie Ng said her team had trained hard over the last year and “played exceedingly well, above and beyond my expectations”.
“Our team played with so much confidence. Personally, I felt they (Macau) lost the will to fight with us,” she added.
Ng, 29, had told her charges that “there is a fine line between confidence and complacency”, and the team showed that they took nothing for granted, winning all six matches in the competition.
“We made sure we saved every shot and started our attack from there,” said captain Claudia Tan.
Besides the two gold medals, the Republic’s teams also racked up three silver medals (boys’ U-18, girls’ U-15 and U-12) and a bronze (boys’ U-12).
This is a slight improvement from the last edition (1-4-1) in 2019, when the competition was also held in Singapore.
The U-18 boys had high hopes heading into the final against Asian champions Chinese Taipei, but ultimately failed to build on their momentum and lost 54-34.
“We were trying to motivate ourselves to play better, have the same hunger and be on the same page for this competition,” said Singapore captain Jerald Tan.
He had also set a target for his team, telling them that the competition is played on “home soil” and that he wanted them to “bring something home” for their efforts.
Boys’ U-18 coach Shah Rykal felt that his team did well despite taking a longer time to gel.
The 24-year-old, who is also a national player, said: “I know it will be tough for them, with the gap. I wanted to make sure that the team get on par, and be as close to the Taiwanese, but it is tough.”
In a display of their continued dominance in the sport, the Taiwanese took home four gold medals and a silver.
Chiu Chien-feng, their boys’ U-18 assistant coach, said: “They’ve all worked very hard and the players have performed within our expectations.”
There was more good news for the Tchoukball Association of Singapore (TBAS), which received a $70,000 cash sponsorship from BOC Aviation to help them prepare for the Tchoukball World Championships in Prague in August.
TBAS had been recognised as a national sport association only four months ago.