Olympics live on TV after all

BIG TEST: Singaporeans will be able to watch Joseph Schooling (left) and Quah Zheng Wen, who went training at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium yesterday, live on television.

Eyes glued to the television screen, Adrienne Ser remembers her heart racing wildly as her younger sister Jasmine, 11,000 kilometres away in Glasgow, place her finger on the trigger.

This was July 29, 2014, and Adrienne will not forget watching Jasmine strike Commonwealth Games gold in the 50m air rifle three positions.

Stressful as it was, the older Ser is delighted that she will be able to go through the same tension, watching her sister go for Olympic glory this time.

National broadcaster Mediacorp has reached an 11th-hour agreement with rights holder Dentsu Inc, to telecast the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games live here, and the sports fraternity - like Ser - was delighted.

"I've heard that quite a few people tuned in to watch Jasmine then, and I'm very happy that they (Mediacorp and Dentsu) have reached an agreement, so we can all watch again," Ser told The New Paper.

"The chat groups are getting very busy now, and our family and friends are planning a screening so we can watch together."

Mediacorp and Dentsu had initially penned a deal for delayed telecasts of the Games, with live broadcasts of only the opening and closing ceremonies.

This was believed to be because of the prohibitively high cost of a live broadcast deal pegged at US$6 million ($8.06m).

This would have been more than double the US$2.5m that Mediacorp paid to telecast the 2012 London Olympics live.

The new deal is believed to have cost less than the initial US$6m, and will see Mediacorp broadcast the Games live, every day from today to Aug 22 on okto and four Toggle channels.

There will also be a nightly roundup show of the day's action.


In the lead-up to yesterday's announcement of the live broadcast deal, the local sports fraternity was up in arms about being unable to watch the nation's finest athletes in action, especially with the likes of Ser and swimmer Joseph Schooling, table tennis' Feng Tianwei and sailor Colin Cheng all in with a realistic shot of reaching the podium and making sporting history.

While some believed the Government should not be held ransom by rights holders looking to maximise profit, Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) vice-president (finance) Jose Raymond was perhaps the most vocal and critical sports official, saying on his Facebook page that he was "unable to stay neutral on the matter".

After the latest deal was announced, a delighted Raymond called for Singapore to unite behind its athletes flying the flag in Rio.

Mediacorp's deputy chief executive Chang Long Jong said in a statement: "As a commercial company with a social purpose, we needed to balance the cost of acquiring live broadcast rights and the expectations of our audiences.

"I am delighted that we have made a breakthrough in our negotiations with Dentsu to once again present the Olympic Games live to Singapore viewers."

While the SSA told TNP that checks are being made to see if a public screening can be arranged for Schooling, his dad Colin said that he preferred to watch his son compete in the privacy of his own home.

"I'm extremely delighted that good sense has prevailed all around," said Colin, who called for his son to take things a step at a time.

Talking about public screenings, Colin added: "When it comes to these kinds of things, if I'm emotional, no one needs to see it.

"I'm old school like that."

The opening ceremony of the Olympics will be telecast live at 7am (Singapore time) today, with Ser the first Singapore athlete in action, in the women's 10m air rifle at 7.30pm this evening.

Tags: Olympics and TV

Singaporeans in action

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Oarsome nude Bloom shots set Net abuzz

English actor Orlando Bloom unwittingly bared his manhood to the world during a recent romantic getaway with his US pop star girlfriend Katy Perry in Sardinia, Italy, sending the Internet into a tizzy.

The 39-year-old heart-throb was photographed stark naked alongside Perry, 31, for a spot of paddle boarding.

The loved-up couple have been dating since January.

Social media platforms have gone into a meltdown over Bloom's exposure, although published pictures covered his package with a black box.


A Twitter user wrote: "Okay, so who is going to leak the uncensored version of the pictures? Because I'm tired of staring at the black rectangle."

Another added: "Just look at the shadow on Bloom's leg and you know enough."

Truth behind Jared Leto's jaw-dropping stare at Gucci show

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Internet users generated a string of memes of him at Gucci's Spring/Summer 2017 menswear show in Milan sporting an awestruck expression as he watched a model strut down the runway in the same outfit.

The Suicide Squad star later wore the outfit to Wednesday's premiere in London.

But Leto cleared the air to Vanity Fair, saying: "The thing about the photo is - I'm going to be honest with you - I was actually making a face at someone across the runway."

He added: "Sorry to ruin your meme. Perception versus reality."

Train To Busan sets opening record here

Korean zombie blockbuster Train To Busan has enjoyed a record-breaking opening day box office for Korean movies in Singapore.

Despite its NC16 rating, the film grossed $75,000 when it opened here on Thursday across 25 screens.

Korean horror film Wishing Stairs was the previous record holder when it collected $64,000 on its first day of release in 2003.

Boasting a stellar cast of Gong Yoo, Ma Dong Seok and Jung Yu Mi, Train To Busan depicts how passengers on a bullet train from Seoul to Busan fight for their survival amid a nationwide zombie virus outbreak.

It remains to be seen if the film can eventually beat the 2007 romantic comedy 200 Pounds Beauty to become the all-time top-grossing Korean movie in Singapore.

Peppa Pig Live! Big Splash now on at Sentosa

Fresh from the success of last year's children's live show Peppa Pig Live! Treasure Hunt, a new production, Peppa Pig Live! Big Splash, is in town to make another splash.

Based on the British pre-school animated TV series, it will be staged at Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa, from today to Aug 9 at 11am, 2pm and 5pm.

Promising bigger puppets and singalong tunes from Bafta-winning composer Mani Svavarsson, the show is produced by UK's Fiery Light and Australia's Life Like Touring.

"We are thrilled that Peppa Pig fans in Singapore can't get enough of this wonderful live show," said producer Anton Berezin.

Tickets from $48 to $108 are available from Sistic (6348-5555 or www.sistic.com.sg).

2018 Asian netball event in Singapore

HOME TRIUMPH: Singapore beat Sri Lanka 59-41 in the 2014 final to win the Asian Netball Championship.

They captured the imagination of many fans when they retained their Asian Netball Championship crown on home ground in 2014.

The national netball team's profile rose again last year, when Micky Lin and Co won the SEA Games gold at the OCBC Arena.

Singaporean fans will be able to watch regional-level netball again in two years, after the Republic won the right to host the 2018 Asian Netball Championship, during the Asian Netball Federation annual general meeting in Bangkok yesterday.

The Republic beat Sri Lanka and Pakistan to host the biennial tournament, with the 2018 edition serving as the Asian qualifiers for the 2019 Netball World Cup.

Netball Singapore chief executive officer Cyrus Medora said in a telephone interview from Bangkok: "When we hosted the Asian Championship in 2014, it really lifted the profile of netball, as well as the support base here.

"That was raised to another level during the SEA Games last year, and netball will be on offer again at the SEA Games next year in Malaysia.

"We just wanted to keep the limelight on netball, build on the popularity, the support base and to use the tournament to showcase our players."

The profile of the sport has risen tremendously in the last two years, with the team even featuring in a video with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong that was part of the SEA Games opening ceremony last year.

Former captain Lin, who retired from the international scene earlier this year, represented all the athletes in taking the Athletes' Oath at the Games opening ceremony last year.


Medora said Sri Lanka, Japan and Pakistan were originally interested in bidding for the tournament some months ago, but Sri Lanka and Japan later said they would not put in bids, and Singapore threw its name into the hat.

Sri Lanka, which hosted the 2012 edition, later returned to the fold, but Medora said the Republic was the clear winner during the voting yesterday.

He said: "We are well organised, with a good facility (OCBC Arena) and hotels near the stadium, and I think countries love coming to Singapore."

The competition is likely to take place in September 2018.

Meanwhile, Ruth Aitken's team will play Sri Lanka today in the first of the two semi-finals of this year's edition in Thailand.

The defending champions are aiming to be the first team to win the Asian title three times in a row, after triumphs in 2012 and 2014.

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When Vardy wore electronic tag during games

United are favourites but Leicester's star striker could have 
a big say in result

By resisting 
the overtures of Arsenal, Leicester striker Jamie Vardy (left) has shown admirable loyalty 
to the Foxes.



(Tomorrow, 10.30pm, Singtel TV Ch 109 
- Eleven)

It was on a freezing cold Saturday afternoon in 2010 - Jan 23 to be precise - that I first witnessed a young Jamie Vardy in non-league action back in England.

The setting was Stocksbridge near Sheffield, one of many unassuming northern towns dying a slow death now that the British government has all but given up on its once-thriving steel industry.

The future England international was turning out for Stocksbridge Steels; his remuneration a mere £30 ($53) a week.

Vardy was in the final season of a three-year spell with the Steels - a period that will surely warrant several scenes in the impending (if rumours are to be believed) Hollywood movie based on his fairy tale.


During his first season at Stocksbridge, the young scallywag was forced to wear an electronic tag to monitor his movements after being convicted of assault.

This meant that he was under a strict curfew, and had to be at home between 7pm and 7am.

During some away matches, he would have to be substituted early and dive into a waiting getaway car in order to be at his front door before probation officers marched him to the nearest police station.

On that solitary occasion in 2010, I witnessed Vardy wearing the gaudy yellow and blue jersey of Stocksbridge. He was virtually anonymous.

Shackled by a well-organised defence, he received next to no service, and cut a hugely frustrated figure.

There was absolutely no inclination that this was a man destined for the top.

Fast forward 6½ years, and it's hard to believe that Vardy is now an established international.

And, by resisting the overtures of Arsenal back in June, he's also shown admirable loyalty to Leicester City - the club that have moulded him into a superstar.

Yes, people will say that Leicester gave him 100,000 reasons to stay loyal to the Premier League champions, but I'd argue that the vast majority of modern-day players would have shunned Claudio Ranieri's (probable) one-season wonders in favour of the more glamorous north London.

The team that kept Vardy at bay on that cold, wintery afternoon in January 2010 was none other than FC United - a club formed five years earlier by Manchester United fans disillusioned by the Glazers' ownership of the Red Devils.

Tomorrow's season curtain-raiser, the FA Community Shield at Wembley, pits Manchester United against Vardy's Leicester.

While many football fans have hailed Sir Alex Ferguson's farewell Premier League title triumph in 2013 as his greatest achievement, such was the dearth of quality at Old Trafford at the time, let's not forget that two key decisions made by the knight of the realm during his final period at the club have had a lasting, negative impact.


His unequivocal backing of David Moyes as his successor led the club backwards at a time when Jose Mourinho was apparently ready, willing and able to take the Old Trafford reins.

The second was his decision to sideline the promising Paul Pogba in favour of a geriatric Paul Scholes, despite having allegedly promised the young tyro regular first-team football. That particular decision looks set to cost Mourinho in the region of £100 million ($177.7m), if and when the French maestro finally signs on the dotted line.

How many more trophies would United have claimed had Pogba and Mourinho been strutting their stuff at the Theatre of Dreams over the past three years?

Against a Leicester team shorn of N'Golo Kante, and with Riyad Mahrez apparently unsettled by Arsenal's interest, Mourinho can capture his first piece of silverware as United boss, 12 months after his Chelsea side came up short against Arsenal.

Richard Lenton is the lead presenter at Eleven Sports Network. Join Richard and his studio guests for Eleven's live coverage of the Premier League, Emirates FA Cup, Football League Cup and more - starting with tomorrow's Community Shield clash between Manchester United and Leicester City.

“This is not a friendly. We will give the maximum and Manchester United will too. Both teams want to win it.”

— Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieiri on tomorrow’s FA Community Shield meeting with Manchester United

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