Bolt wants world mark

Bolt bullish about 200m final as Gatlin misses out

CHASING HISTORY: Usain Bolt (middle) is attempting to become the first sprinter to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m in three consecutive Olympics.
Premium content not available

Marin into final

Premium content not available

Spurred by anger

Lee's coach says Malaysian is focused on winning elusive Olympic crown

CLASH OF GIANTS: Lee Chong Wei will be hoping to outgun his nemesis Lin Dan (above) in today's semi-final.
CLASH OF GIANTS: Lee Chong Wei (above) will be hoping to outgun his nemesis Lin Dan in today's semi-final.
Premium content not available

RE-Run

IAAF orders time trial for American women's relay team after baton controversy

BOTCHED: Allyson Felix (right) screaming in agony as the baton drops during the handover to English Gardner.
Premium content not available

A real Singapore son

'Joemania' hits Singapore as large crowds pay tribute to our first Olympic gold medallist

HERO'S WELCOME: Singaporeans gathered at the Singtel Comcentre Plaza honouring Joseph Schooling (far left).

COMMENT

Singaporeans are used to sporting victory parades.

We have read about badminton maestro Wong Peng Soon and his Thomas Cup team being taken on a coach ride through the city after their triumphs in the Fifties.

Weightlifter Tan Howe Liang was honoured with one such parade - and a banquet - after his Olympic Games silver medal in 1960 in Rome.

Tan was escorted by motorcycle riders from his airport arrival to the city square after a fire-cracker welcome to set off the celebrations for his first Olympic medal for the country.

Our Malaysia Cup football heroes - Fandi Ahmad, Quah Kim Song and S. Rajagopal, et al - have experienced this euphoria after the inter-state victories in 1980 and 1994.

But those parades paled in comparison to what I witnessed from the open-top double-decker in the company of our swimming sensation Joseph Schooling, 21.

The charming personality had mined an Olympic gold medal - a historic first for Singapore - from the turquoise waters of the Rio Aquatic Centre last Saturday.

And that too in dramatic fashion, leaving his three world-class rivals, Michael Phelps, Chad le Clos and Lazlo Cseh, overawed while they shared the silver medal as Schooling cruised to victory in an Olympic record time.

That time of 50.39 seconds is etched in every Singaporean's mind, judging by the spontaneously-quick response when queried by the compere at regular intervals along the 24-kilometre coach ride from the Sports Hub, Marine Parade, Comcentre at Orchard Road to Raffles City at Bras Basah Road.

The parades of the Fifties and Sixties drew smaller crowds and were over a shorter stretch.

The football versions had big turnouts, but they were also over a curtailed route ending at the National Stadium and the spotlight was shared among a bunch of players.

EXTRAORDINARY

But yesterday's extraordinary parade was all about one man; whose imposing presence, intelligent answers, easy disposition and down-to-earth mannerisms impressed many Singaporeans.

The crowds that greeted and honoured him were young and old, blue and white collared, schoolchildren in uniforms, uncles and aunties at a hawker centre and executives from Orchard Road offices.

And all of them wanted a share of Schooling, either with or of him from handphones and selfies as they continued to chant his name.

Schooling's addresses were punctuated with patriotic lines.

"I am proud to be Singaporean, my family is here, my friends are here and this is my country" has been his favourite refrain. And a reaffirmation of allegiance to Singapore.

During the coach ride, his renowned coach Sergio Lopez, an Olympic medallist himself, confessed: "He was among my better students at school. I knew he was set for big things when he first came to me. He felt tension during the historic race. But, once he hit the turn first, I knew the gold was his."

Schooling is a natural sportsman, who also excels in golf. He picked up golf and swimming at the age of four. He has an eight handicap in golf and whacks a massive 275-metre average off the tee.

He was named after his great grandfather, a British officer and good sportsman who displayed tremendous courage in whatever he did.

From another world, the late Joseph Schooling would only have great admiration for his highly talented namesake who summed up yesterday's "Joemania" event as "truly awesome".

Ice woman Sundhage seeks gold hat-trick

Premium content not available

Hosts eye revenge

Final against Germany gives them chance to exorcise the ghost of 7-1 loss at World Cup

Premium content not available

Brazil's football chance

Neymar's side can end unwanted streak, gain revenge, and resurrect the national game

GO FOR GOLD: Brazilians will be looking to Neymar to win Brazil the elusive Olympic football title.

It started even before the opening ceremony and will come to a head on Sunday morning (Singapore time) with a pair of teams the organisers perhaps would have been hoping for when they planned the tournament for the 2016 Olympic Games here in Rio.

Maybe, Germany were also who Brazil were hoping for, although history suggests few will ever want to play the European giants in a high-stakes football contest.

The tournament kicked off a couple of days before the opening ceremony on Aug 5 and all I can remember were the boos and the hissing that accompanied the Brazil side, because all the Brazilians remember.

The team drew a blank in their opening two games against South Africa and Iraq, Neymar was a man distracted by his millions, they complained angrily, football here was no longer fantasy but had turned dark, the national game was suffering, paying penance because of the sin of corruption and neglect.

Suffering because no one could forget the 7-1 humiliation on home soil by Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals.

Then came a must-win final group game against Denmark and Brazil responded, letting loose in a 4-0 victory.

Now they are in the final, and out of the depths of despair in Belo Horizonte two years ago comes an opportunity for Brazil to begin the long climb back up.

And gain a small measure of revenge.

The hosts will line up against Germany at the Maracana Stadium, and suddenly, the country is engaged.

This is a contest between two sides mostly made up of young players - the tournament comprises players under the age of 23, with three overage players permitted for every team - but neither nation have won Olympic men's football gold, and both want to end that surprising streak.

Said Brazil's Gabriel Jesus, after the team's semi-final win over Honduras: "This is what we wanted. We are fighting to conquer this. Everything is in our favour as we are at home in Brazil."

Nearly three hours before the semi-final against Honduras, Brazil's football cathedral was crowded and, with an hour to go to kick-off, it was a heaving, singing mass of nearly 78,000  souls.

After only 15 seconds, Neymar pounced, scoring the fastest goal in Olympic history, and football's legendary samba sound went loud.

It only got louder as the Barcelona star led the inexperienced Hondurans on a merry dance, orchestrating a thrilling 6-0 victory despite some brutal treatment by the opponents.

FEAR

For years now the senior side have played colourless football, they have been fearful, weighed down by the huge expectations every Brazil team carry on their shoulders.

Here, at this Olympics, the Brazilian youngsters led by 24-year-old Neymar have been playing fast, attacking football, even in the two games at the start, where they created a torrent of chances but simply could not find their scoring boots. 

The post-match press conference at the Maracana yesterday morning was like all the ones involving Brazil - packed to overflowing, noisy, with numerous TV cameras and crew bellowing at those blocking their view, radio commentators and a crowd of press.

Coach Rogerio Micale, on the brink of hero status, stayed for nearly an hour.

"I think we have had a good campaign so far and now in the final stretch we are playing good football, the football we wanted to show, the beautiful game.

"But every match is a different story and the next one we have to be strong but we are developing and growing and this is an important time for Brazil," he emphasised.

The final is more important to Brazil than Germany.

The German system is the envy of all and the local game is humming along nicely. But, like any German outfit, the Olympic team will pull no punches in their bid to strike gold.

They have good vibes of the Maracana, after the seniors lifted the World Cup there two years ago.

They will feel the heat from most of the crowd but could adopt the mind-control technique of the beach volleyball players who faced a Brazilian pair in the final, and blocked out the noise from the partisans, to win gold.

But Brazil know they have a Neymar in the mood, in his biggest game for his country since the World Cup quarter-final against Colombia two years ago.

"When he is in the team he upsets the balance in a positive way, but I think there is a whole generation of Brazilian players with talent in the team," said Micale.

"I still believe in Brazilian football and when you have a star like Neymar, you have to be grateful because he rings you to a higher level."

This may be an Olympic final, but winning the gold will be of huge significance as Brazil work on a football renaissance.


Neymar is a monster. He has the gift of playing football, he delights everyone with his talent. Neymar deserves our gratitude because he pushes Brazil to a higher level. 

- Brazil’s Olympic coach Rogerio Micale

Neymar is the best or second best player (behind Lionel Messi of Argentina) in world football, so controlling him is not easy. But the referees are falling into his trap.

- Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto

TNP New Face 2016 - Faustina Pang

Faustina Pang.

Faustina Pang, 21

Marketing student at RMIT University (SIM Global)

Faustina admires singer-songwriter Jay Chou for his musical talent.

She said: "Even though he was an introvert, he made it big in the music industry. He was rejected at first when he was a composer, but he pressed on and eventually made a name for himself.

"His songs touch me deeply."

What's interesting about you?

I am an introvert and an extrovert. In other words, I am an ambivert, because I can be either extremely shy or extremely friendly.

Describe yourself in three words.

Real. Goofy. Passionate.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to spend some time with my loved ones or catch up on Korean drama series, but recently, I love watching (Netflix TV series) Orange Is The New Black.

My friends and I would also play badminton to keep fit or we explore different places in Singapore together.

If you could have only three items with you on a deserted island, what would they be?

A fire starter kit, so I can cook and keep myself warm.

Fishing gear so I can catch some fish for food and for survival.

Pets for company and to keep me sane on a deserted island.

But I'd rather just have a plane and a pilot to get me out of the island.

Who do you look up to for fashion style tips?

It depends on the type of look I want to go for. But I will most probably look up to Jenn Im (the Korean-American YouTuber) or Kendall Jenner for fashion style tips.

See more at tnp.sg/tnpnewface16

Small speakers, big sounds

Sharing your music with others means connecting your phone or tablet to an external speaker. ZAYNE SEAH (tnp@sph.com.sg) looks at the choices available for under $160

X-MINI EXPLORE PLUS ($79.90)
UE ROLL ($159)
Premium content not available

Pages