We'll come down hard on this scourge, says badminton boss

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Ex-national shuttler Yeo: Match-fixing rumours have been around

DARING DANES: Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (above) and Kim Astrup have been hailed for reporting the case through the BWF ‘whistle blower’ system.
"I have heard of such rumours for quite a while, but I do not know of anyone who has been approached (to throw a match). No one has ever come out to say that he was approached, till now." - Former national shuttler Terry Yeo.
"It is unfortunate that Singapore’s marquee badminton event is associated with this match-fixing scandal. We will work hand-inhand with the BWF to ensure this scandal is put to rest." - Singapore Badminton Association CEO Ronnie Lim.

Match-fixing has allegedly been a part of badminton for some time now.

Rumours have circulated throughout the years of matches being thrown, but little could be done at the time because of a  lack of evidence.

Contacted by The New Paper yesterday, former national shuttler Terry Yeo said: “I have heard of such rumours for quite a while, but I do not know of anyone who has been approached (to throw a match).

“No one has ever come out to say that they were approached, till now,” said the 25-year-old, who retired from the sport earlier this year.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) said in a statement on Monday that two players have been approached to fix matches — the shuttlers had informed the organisation via the sport’s whistle-blower system — and had turned the matter over to the police.

In later reports, the two shuttlers are revealed as men’s world No. 9 Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and doubles player Kim Astrup, who both hail from Denmark.

They were allegedly approached on Facebook by a Malaysian man who said he had previously fixed matches in the Singapore Open and at the Thomas Cup.

Read the full report in our print edition on Oct 16.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

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Thank you, Dad

Indra would probably not be playing football if his father had not intervened

HIGH PRAISE: Muhd Indra Moraga has been likened to Real Madrid and Spain star Sergio Ramos.

Struggling to make an impression in the sport he loves, Muhd Indra Moraga was 12 when he left Braveheart Football Academy (BFA), a local private youth football institution.

Two years later, he is a two-time National C Division champion with Hong Kah Secondary School.

The 14-year-old says his success in schools football is down to his father, 53-year-old Muhd Idris Basirun.

"I was never the best of players. I always got left out of the team, and my father noticed this, so he decided to pull me out of BFA when I was in 
Primary 6," said Indra, a Boon Lay Garden Primary alumnus.

"My father put in the effort to source for football opportunities for me at (S.League giants) Warriors FC, where I went for trials.

"That was the turning point, and it was all because of him."

Idris' endeavour worked wonders for his son, who now captains the club's Under-14 Centre of Excellence team.

When he started in Secondary 1, Indra was deemed good enough for the Hong Kah school team, who went on to win the National Schools C Division championship in 2013.

This year, the lean defender was promoted to vice-captain, and helped lead the team in a successful title defence after defeating Crest Secondary 2-0 in the final in July.

The win ensured that Hong Kah, a school boasting national team players like Fazli Ayob and Hyrulnizam Juma'at as former students, made it three titles in a row, a run that dates back to 2012.

Playing in a defensive position, Indra does not have many opportunities to go running at opponents with a bag full of tricks.

But Hong Kah's teacher-in-charge for football, Ng Han Liat, believes that Indra possesses a much more valuable skill set.

"Normally, players aren't very receptive to criticism, but Indra is different. He has a willingness to improve, and he always gives his 100 per cent.

"On the pitch, he is a leader, but not in the conventional sense. He is quietly confident and he leads by example, a lot like (Real Madrid and Spain defender) Sergio Ramos."

A shy and quiet teenager, Indra is not merely a promising football star.

GOOD STUDENT TOO

Away from the game, his academic achievements are also impressive.

Entering Secondary 1 as a Normal (Academic) student, Indra ended his first year in Hong Kah as the second-best student in his cohort.

A subsequent move to the Express stream followed in Secondary 2, where he outperformed most of his peers and achieved 16th position throughout the whole cohort in his mid-year examinations.

"My father made me a timetable to help me balance studies and football, so that I could stay focused on both," said Indra.

"There are always clashes, such as trainings and remedial classes. But my teachers always help me to balance the time.

"Also, if I end up neglecting my studies, my father's punishment is to confiscate my handphone and bar me from playing football!"

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