Albirex play down favourites' tag

Table-toppers prefer being the 'hunters', rather than the 'hunted'

WELL BALANCED: Albirex Niigata (above) boast the meanest defence and the second-most potent attack in the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League.
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Albirex can deny DPMM

The White Swans' dogged defence can hold reigning champions to at least a draw

STINGY DEFENCE: Albirex Niigata (in orange) have conceded just five goals from eight games.
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Shaw's two runners will spice things up

Patrick Shaw
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Overseas stints for Kranji's young guns

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Laxon's youngsters strut their stuff

Trainer Laurie Laxon
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I'll risk injury for Olympic bid at London Marathon, writes Soh Rui Yong

TARGET: National marathoner Soh Rui Yong (above) is aiming to meet the Olympic qualifying time of 2hr 19min. 


I feel like I'm running with a time bomb in my foot.

At any given time, the plantar fasciitis injury I aggravated at last month's World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff could flare up again and give me serious problems.

But, with the London Marathon looming on Sunday, I've decided to risk doing just that, to have a chance of qualifying for the Olympics in Rio.

The Olympics is once every four years, and this is my first chance at making one, so I'm not about to give up that easily.

I sat on the decision for a while.

It's no fun being in the hospital for X-rays and MRI scans less than a month before a big race.

But, from being unable to walk after the World Halfs on March 26, to limping, then jogging, and then actually doing full workouts again last week, helped me look on the bright side.

My left foot is a weak link, but that's professional sports for you - You can be fit, but small problems can wreak havoc on your plans.

But I also believe that, as much as training is about humility and honest hard work, racing is also about deception.

Deceiving yourself to believe you're faster than you actually are. Lying to your body that, no matter how bad you think you're hurting, you can always give more.

To upset the odds, you have to psyche yourself up, psyche the others out, then hit them with all you have.

I've done the hard work to get ready for this race. I've clocked over 2,000km of running since January - including in Iten, Kenya, where I trained for six weeks from February - doing some of the best workouts I've ever managed in my life.

I felt like I was on track to achieve the Olympic qualifying time of 2hr 19min (my personal best is 2:26:01) while I was there.

But the recent injury has messed up my training rhythm, so I'll have to see how it goes and be more cautious now.

Ironically, training through plantar fasciitis since November has opened doors I would otherwise never have found, such as the five-year contract I signed to join the amazing Asics Singapore family two weeks ago.

I've met lovely people in Singapore, Kenya and England, all of whom have done their best to help me manage this injury.

I can't be more grateful to my main sponsors H-TWO-O, and my agents, Black Dot, for standing by me through this rough patch. Big thanks also to many well-wishers, who helped me get back on my feet.

Some may feel that running the London Marathon on Sunday is not wise. But, all my life, I've been told that pursuing a sports career is an unwise move.

I'm fortunate to be blessed with the talent, opportunities, support and luck needed for the chance of doing something special for my country. I've accomplished a lot, but I know I can do more.

Risks are a big part of sport, and my gamble could very well end in ashes in London. But, at least, I know I have tried.

  • Soh Rui Yong was talking to Sazali Abdul Aziz.
  • You can also follow Soh's journey to Rio on H-TWO-O's Facebook page, where he regularly gives updates.

Mr Controversy: Ecclestone draws flak for comments on women drivers

The NBC Sports website reported Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone's latest comments yesterday morning (Singapore time) under the headline "Ecclestone says more Ecclestone-type controversial things".

The 85-year-old has caused uproar in the past by comparing women to domestic appliances, triggering a backlash on social media.

So what has the Briton shot his mouth off about this time?

In his latest tirade, Ecclestone (above) told the Advertising Week Europe conference in London that women drivers are not physically able to drive quickly enough for Formula 1.

"I don't know if a woman would physically be able to drive a Formula 1 car quickly, and they wouldn't be taken seriously," he said.

But he reserved praise for them in another area. He predicted a rise in female chief executives, saying: "Women are more competent and they don't have massive egos."

There are no female drivers in Formula 1, with test driver Susie Wolff, who retired last November, the last woman to be employed in a driving capacity by an F1 team.

But women have enjoyed greater success at boardroom level, with Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams the most notable example.

British driver Pippa Mann, who has competed four times in the Indianapolis 500 and is a race winner in the US Indy Lights series, fired back immediately.

"Sigh. #HereWeGoAgain," she said on Twitter.

"Perhaps someone should remind him that @IndyCar doesn't have power steering, and we're strong enough to drive those."

Asked by F1's non-executive director Martin Sorrell, whose grandparents came from Russia, whether immigrants had contributed to Britain, Ecclestone replied: "They have not."

This despite Britain's triple Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton being the grandson of immigrants from Grenada.

Below are Ecclestone's views on other topics. - Wire Services.

ON VLADIMIR PUTIN

He should be running Europe. Ecclestone last year declared himself the Russian president's "best supporter".

ON ADOLF HITLER

The Nazi leader got the job done.

ON DONALD TRUMP

Ecclestone has expressed support for the controversial US Republican presidential candidate.

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