Singapore Young Lions lose to Myanmar

Myanmar's Tun Nay Lin (No. 8) celebrates after scoring his team's first goal against Singapore.

Myanmar beat host nation Singapore 2-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium to go top of the group.

The Young Lions now have to beat Cambodia on Monday (June 8) and Indonesia on Thursday (June 11) to ensure they advance in the competition.

The Young Lions first fell behind to the high-pressing visitors in the 24th minute, when captain Tun Nay Lin stole in at the back-post to tap in an in-swinging free-kick.

Spurred on by the 7,500-odd crowd, half of whom were Myanmar fans, Singapore equalised through Faris Ramli's penalty in the 33th minute. This came after Shakir Hamzah's teasing cross was handled in the area by defender Phyo Ko Ko Thein.

The two teams exchanged good chances in the second half, with Singapore midfielder Pravin Guanasagaran's piledriver sailing inches wide of the post.

Myanmar regained the lead through somewhat bizarre circumstances on the hour mark. Ye Ko Oo's free-kick from 30 metres out took an awkward final bounce over the flailing legs of goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari.

Aide Iskandar's men - who have three points from two games - next face Cambodia on Monday, while Myanmar square off against win-less Philippines a day earlier.

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Myanmar went ahead in the 24th minute when its captain Tun Nay Lin tapped in a free-kick.

Faris Ramli drew things level nine minutes later with a penalty, but Myanmar regained the lead in the second half with a direct free-kick.

Even though the match was played in Singapore, just under half of the 7,500 fans at the stadium were from Myanmar.


Read the full report in our print edition on June 5

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Netball: Different aims, same gold

Singapore Netball SEA Games team (back row, from left) Yasmin Ho, Charmaine Soh, Chen Lili, Shelby Koh, Micky Lin Qingyi, Shina Teo; (front row, from left): Nurul Baizura, Premila Hirubalan, Kimberly Lim, Chen Huifen, Ang Shiqi, Pamela Liew.

At 29, netballer Yasmin Ho should already be a senior in the national team, and closing in on a century of caps, like her peers Micky Lin and Chen Huifen.

Instead, the goal shooter has just one cap to her name, from way back in 2008 in a Nations Cup match here against Samoa.

But, rather than to focus on what could have been, Ho is focusing on the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games.

“Some people think that (the national team call-up) has come a little too late,” said Ho.

“But I choose to look at it differently. It’s better late than never.

“The timing is pretty much spot-on. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play in the SEA Games, and to be needed by the team and the fans for such a momentous occasion like the SEA Games, playing in front of a home crowd after so many years; it doesn’t come any better.”

She left the sport in 2010 to focus on getting a pharmacist’s license.

An anterior cruciate ligament injury then also kept her out of sports for about a year.

She returned to netball in 2011, turning out for the Sneakers Stingrays in the Netball Super League (NSL).

The league turned out to be the platform for her comeback.

She impressed national coach Ruth Aitken during the season earlier this year to earn a spot in the national training squad as one of four sparring partners.

She shone in the team, and forced her way into the squad that left for a Fiji training trip last month.

Eventually, she made the cut for the 12-strong SEA Games squad.

Ho said: “It’s a big chance for myself, especially, after the years I’ve spent away from the team. It’s good to be back.”

She is hoping her comeback tale will have a fairy-tale ending on June 7, when the netball final will take place at the OCBC Arena.

Although the Singapore Sports Hub facility opened its doors only last June, it has already witnessed history.

Last September, the team retained their Asian Netball Championships crown on home ground.

Now goal shooter Charmaine Soh and Co. will seek to settle an old score.

The only other time netball was featured at the Games, in 2001, Singapore lost 42-35 to Malaysia in the final.


Singapore are hot favourites to lift the gold this time around, and Soh relishes a chance to beat their arch rivals on the way to the title.

Soh, 24, said: “Regardless of what sport it is, an encounter between Singapore and Malaysia is always intense.

“I remember I was still in school then, and it’s never nice to be on the losing side of such a passionate rivalry. It happened once, but we don’t want it to happen again.

“That’s why it means so much to us, and especially myself. It’s Singapore’s time now.”

Team captain Lin, 29, hopes that fans — both old and new — will pack the OCBC Arena to the rafters and raise its roof, as the team embark on its mission for honour and glory.

Lin said: “The SEA Games is going to play a huge role in terms of the interest level of the sport among locals.

“We are Asian champions, and the SEA Games might just be a minor tournament, but the event brings Singaporeans together. There’s a sense of belonging that is going to be all over the country come June.

“That’s why I hope the fans will be there, because netball has been on an upward trajectory in the last three or four years, and they can see all their effort and support play out at the Games.

“This is what athletes work for. There is nothing greater than having people willing you on — whether it’s your friends, family, or ordinary fans.”

Netball: An old score to settle

Singapore netball defender Premila Hirubalan.

Veteran netball player Premila Hirubalan is a ferocious competitor on the court, and a confident character off it.

But, amid the excitement that surrounds the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games here next month and the optimism of a gold for netball, the 32-year-old was pensive when she spoke to The New Paper recently.

A painful memory sticks in her head. In 2001, the only other time the sport has featured in the biennial multi-sports meet, Singapore lost to Malaysia 53-42 in the final.

She is the only surviving member of the 2001 class in this year’s SEA Games team.

History, she vows, will not repeat itself.

Hirubalan said: “2001 was a very big year for netball — there was the Singapore-Malaysia Cup, the Asian Netball Championships and the SEA Games, and there was big hype surrounding the sport.

“Singapore-Malaysia games at that time were close — we would win one and they would beat us the next time. I remember that we beat them quite comfortably in the earlier rounds in that SEA Games, and we were very confident and gung ho going into the final.

“But Malaysia beat us in the final by quite a bit, and that still haunts me.”

The team also suffered another heart-breaking loss just two months before the SEA Games that year — they reached the Asian Netball Championships final, but narrowly lost to defending champions and hosts Sri Lanka 55-54.

Hirubalan has already exorcised one demon with Singapore’s dramatic 48-47 victory against the same opponents in Sri Lanka in 2012 to clinch their second Asian title, after 2005.

They also successfully defended their crown at the OCBC Arena last year.

But the bitter memory of the 2001 SEA Games final defeat is one that the wing defence/goalkeeper is keen to banish at the SEA Games.


The medical doctor said: “The SEA Games is something special, it’s something all Singaporeans recognise, it’s in Singapore this year and people know we can perform at this Games.

“There’s a lot of pressure on us, but a lot of excitement as well.”

Malaysia are again Singapore’s main foe for the gold medal, but they have not beaten the Republic in an international test match since 2003.

Add to that Singapore’s successful defence of their Asian crown and a very credible second-place finish in the Nations Cup last year, and one is tempted to think that the gold is as good as theirs.

But Hirubalan knows better, and has warned her teammates against slacking off. S

he said: “We work with a Sports Singapore psychologist and during one session I told the team what happened in 2001 and how I could still feel the sheer disappointment of that defeat.

“I wouldn’t want us to experience this disappointment again, and this time we will give it all we’ve got.

“I don’t think we are over-confident, but the girls are quietly confident, and you’d need that to play the game.”

Search for MH370 likely to stop next year if no new info emerges

File photo of a vessel involved in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 jet.

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 jet will likely end early next year if no new information emerges, the Australian government-led Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said in a statement.

"As announced in April, the search area has been expanded beyond an original 60,000 sq km search area to enable up to 120,000 sq km to be searched if required.

"In the absence of credible new information that leads to the identification of a specific location of the aircraft, Governments have agreed that there will be no further expansion of the search area," the agency said.

The plane disappeared on March 8 last year with 239 people on board.

It was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Australia, Malaysia and China have been involved in the search for the missing aircraft.

Search teams have been conducting underwater operations in the southern Indian Ocean, where the plane is thought to have ended up at.

Sources: CNN, Mirror

S’pore win another gold in synchronised swimming

The Singapore team won in the free combination event

The women’s synchronised swimming team did Singapore proud yet again by securing another gold medal in the team free combination event with a score of 77.0667 points. 

The 10-member team had a lead of almost four points, with Malaysia settling for silver with 73.7333 points. 

Indonesia got the bronze with 71.6667 points, their third in synchronised swimming at this year’s SEA Games.

Read the full report in our print edition on June 5. 

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Teen rents a family for her birthday

A teenager in the US put up an advertisement on Craigslist last week seeking a family to celebrate her birthday with her.

Miss Natalie Carson, 19, wrote: "I just want one day that I can feel important and special, and like I matter even if I really don't.

"I have never had a good birthday so I figured why not this birthday."

Miss Carson was put in foster care when she was a baby.

She was adopted by a family, but was later put back in foster care at the age of 12 after suffering abuse, she said. She passed out of the system at the age of 18.

The college student decided to rent a family to spend her birthday with her this year.

She wrote: "I aged out of foster care and since I was never adopted, I don't have a family to spend holidays or my birthdays with."

She added: "I am NOT looking for any monetary support as I also work. I can pay $8 an hour."

Her Craigslist ad went viral and she received an overwhelming number of replies, reported WSB-TV.

Miss Carson has since found a family for that special day in June and has taken down the ad.

7News Denver reported her as saying: "I don't have this big elaborate plan or anything, I just wanted it to be good."

Happy birthday!

Sources: 7News Denver, WSB-TV

Aquaman film finds its director


Insidious director James Wan (below) has signed on to help bring one of DC Comics' most iconic characters to the big screen.

The 38-year-old will helm 2018's Aquaman film which stars Game of Thrones actor Jason Momoa in the lead role.


The film was revealed to be part of Warner Bros. DC movies slate will tell the story of Arthur Curry aka Aquaman, the King of Atlantis and one of the founding members of the Justice League.

Momoa's trident-wielding character will also join Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) in next year's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Wan most recently directed the seventh installment of the Fast and Furious series, Furious 7, which has raked in over S$2 billion since being released in April.

Jason Momoa. PHOTO: HBO

The Australian director's other notable works include Saw (2004) and The Conjuring (2013).

"The Aquaman film will be a major tentpole picture for us and James’s span of work has proven him able to take on any manner of project, bringing his incredible creative talent and unique voice to the material," said Greg Silverman, the studio's president, creative development and worldwide production.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter,

Gao Ning salvages pride with men’s singles gold

Gao Ning in action against Richard Gonzalez in the final on Thursday

At the end of a day of table tennis competition filled with shock and tears, it was left to Singaporean warhorse Gao Ning to salvage some home pride by winning the men’s singles gold medal.

The 32-year-old made light work of Filipino Richard Gonzalez, beating the 44-year-old 4-1 (11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-3) to give 1,000 fans at the Singapore Indoor Stadium something to cheer about on Thursday (June 4) evening .

In the morning, Team Singapore were left reeling after world No 4 Feng Tianwei failed to make it past the women’s singles group stages.

This also means the Republic’s quest for a clean sweep of all seven gold medals ended on the fourth day of the table tennis competition.

Hours later, 19-year-old Clarence Chew lost 3-4 to Gonzalez in the men’s singles semi-final despite holding a 3-1 lead. 

While he won many hearts with his bravery, persevering despite injuring his left master arm, Chew left the arena in tears after coming so close to making the final.

The competition continues with the men’s and women’s team event on Saturday (June 6).

Read the full report in our print edition on June 5. 

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S'pore netballers trounce Myanmar 85-20

Singapore's Chen Huifen in action on June 2.

The Singapore netball team ended their SEA Games preliminary round on a high, thrashing Myanmar 85-20 at the OCBC Arena on Thursday (June 4).

The Asian Champions will enjoy a day's rest before facing Thailand in the semi-finals on Saturday (June 6).

Singapore finished the first quarter 20-6 up, despite coach Ruth Aitken resting first-choice goal scorer Charmaine Soh and veteran Premila Hirubalan. 

With the pair returning in the second quarter, there was little the visitors could do against their bigger and faster opponents.

Singapore Captain Micky Lin said: "We'll have a break tomorrow and try to regroup for the semis. We still have two tough matches left in this competition, so we have to be ready."

Read the full report in our print edition on June 5.

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Malaysian soccer team face early exit

Malaysia's big loss to Vietnam on Wednesday left them with a huge task to progress in the SEA Games. And that possibility is even more slim now after they lost to Thailand 0-1.

Bruising from a 5-1 hammering by Vietnam just two days ago, it was do-or-die for Malaysia when they faced Thailand in a Group A match at the Bishan Stadium today.

A loss would put qualification for the semi-finals out of their hands.

But now, it looks like an early exit from the South-east Asia (SEA) Games football tournament, after the Malaysians lost 0-1 by to reigning champions Thailand.

An encouraging first-half display came undone in the second, as Malaysia finally crumbled to concerted Thai pressure.

Captain Sarach Yooyen broke the deadlock in the 81st minute, thumping in a low drive from just outside the box.

Read the full report in our print edition on June 5

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