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TNP's SEA games target for Team S'pore: 75 gold medals

TNP predicts 75-gold haul for Team Singapore because of...

It may still be early days but for these Games to succeed, both in and out of the arena, it is imperative that the people come out in force to back the event.

Winning inspires. It stirs the masses, it makes stars and, in these modern times, it increasingly boosts bank accounts.

Losing sucks.

Sport is many things, but it is crucially also about this.

Of course, it's not more important than life and death, notwithstanding the famous words of Liverpool legend Bill Shankly, who was actually talking about attitude and recognised sport as one of life's great teachers.

The New Paper urges Team Singapore to fight, scrap, scream, run, defend, kick, smash, swim and shoot wearing Shankly's famous attitude at the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games.

Do this and our athletes can deliver our bold prediction of a record haul of 75 gold medals.

The region's biggest multi-sport event returns to Singapore this year from June 5 to 16.

This newspaper's theme for the Games is "Sport is coming Home". After all, this year's Games has been 22 years in the making.

An entire generation has missed out on the magic of a "home" Games, with myriad foreign faces and foreign stars walking our streets and the hype, hyperbole and hysteria that come with a major sporting event.

Singaporeans of all ages can take in the action as our table tennis stars showcase their world-class skills at the Indoor Stadium.

And head to the Singapore Expo for the chance to see our boxers sweat and bleed for their country.

Then do it all over again the next day, perhaps taking in the rugby 7s at Choa Chu Kang Stadium, hockey at Sengkang Stadium and swimming at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

Only the SEA Games can deliver this much action. It's hardly the Olympics or Asian Games, but June's event can be critical as Singapore strives to one day fight in the same weight class as New Zealand and Switzerland on sport's grandest stages.

In 1993, our athletes collected a neat 50 golds in our last "home" Games. That record will be surpassed this year.

The Singapore Sports School has emerged to produce talented young graduates every year since 2004.

The Government has pumped in millions to help our athletes realise their full potential through various support programmes, the latest of which is the $40 million Sports Excellence Scholarship initiative.

The $1.33 billion Sports Hub is now reality, with the new National Stadium as its centrepiece.

Our gold-medal haul may be reduced if there is a cut to the current list of 36 sports or if events are trimmed from the original 402.

But The New Paper believes 75 golds is an achievable target because our athletes today dream big and work their socks off to fulfil their ambition.

The opening ceremony at the National Stadium promises to be a spectacle and all tickets have been snapped up.

Half of the 36 sports will be free for fans and the other 18 will be ticketed.

It is slightly unnerving that there has been very little fanfare in the heartland so far. It may still be early days but for these Games to succeed, both in and out of the arena, it is imperative that the people come out in force to back the event.

I am sure the SEA Games Organising Committee will have a publicity drive, probably featuring past and present stars, to raise awareness of and appetite for the Games.

More than 7,000 athletes and officials will converge here with their dreams of glory. Team Singapore alone will have around 700 athletes, dwarfing the previous biggest contingent of 483 in 1993.

For our 700 to hit the magic mark of 75 gold medals, the support of the people, and the louder the better, could well make the difference between victory and defeat.

Even if we achieve the target, many of our athletes will still go home empty-handed. The tyranny of sports dictates that there will always be more losers than winners.

But if all our boys and girls have given their best to the point of busting a gut, we can ask no more of them.

If the people have roared them on to the point of losing their voices, we can be proud as a nation of having done right by those who embody our dreams and hopes.

All of us will then have memories to savour and a legacy to protect, and we can truly say that sport did come home in 2015.

That, The New Paper says, is a victory for the ages.

Share your views with Leonard at leonardt@sph.com.sg

TNP's 75-gold target is a very optimistic one and it represents a quantum leap from 22 years ago. It is a 50 per cent improvement from our 50-gold haul the last time we hosted the SEA Games in 1993, and it is a nice target.

- 2015 SEA Games chef de mission Nicholas Fang

"It may still be early days but for these Games to succeed, both in and out of the arena, it is imperative that the people come out in force to back the event."

BY THE numbers 


The number of gold medals, broken down into

5 takeaways from Tuesday's Q&A session with Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg held an impromptu Q&A session on Facebook on Tuesday (April 14) night.

The co-founder of Facebook invited people to ask "whatever’s on your mind" and said he would answer as many questions as he could.



For the next hour, I’ll be answering your questions here on Facebook about whatever’s on your mind. We’ve held a few...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, April 14, 2015



During the hour-long session, Mr Zuckerberg took on about 15 questions, two of which were from famous people – singer Shakira and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.

Here are five interesting takeaways from the session.

1. We're going to see a lot more of Beast.

Who is Beast? It is Mr Zuckerberg's dog.

Here are a few photos of Beast from its Facebook page. (Yes, it has its own account.)


2. If you want to succeed, don't give up. 

Yes, yes, we've all heard this piece of advice before. 

Mr Omar Gaber was probably hoping for something a little more in-depth. (So were we.)

Guess this old adage still rings true in the digital age. 


​3. It's okay to make mistakes and sound silly.

He didn't exactly phase it like that.

But the gist of Mr Zuckerberg's answer was that it was okay to mangle the pronunciation of words and make yourself look like a fool when learning a new language.

He wrote: "The one thing I've tried to do is not too self-conscious about my lack of skill."

He added: "If you can just dive in and force yourself to speak -- even if you get a lot of words wrong -- then you'll learn a lot faster."

This advice can be applied to the learning process of any new skill, and is way more helpful than the advice in point No. 2.


4. Even famous people are interested in picking his brains.

Shakira and Mr Branson must be really clued in to social media. The Q&A session was unplanned, but both somehow managed to get their questions up in time.

The duo were focused on the topic of disadvantaged communities getting access to the Internet.


5. People are gullible.

Was Mr Dennis Cehajic actually expecting Mr Zuckerberg to say anything against the company he founded?

The answer to his question was always going to be a big fat 'no'.

Mr Zuckerberg​ didn't become the chief executive officer of a billion-dollar company by dissing his own product.

Other questions that got a reply from Mr Zuckerberg:

Some facts about Jurgen Klopp, who quit as manager of Borussia Dortmund

Bookmakers in the UK say he is odds-on favourite to take over at Manchester City
Bookmakers in the UK say he is odds-on favourite to take over at Manchester City

Borussia Dortmund head coach Jurgen Klopp announced on Wednesday (April 15) that is leaving the club at the end of the season:

Here are some facts about him:

  • The charismatic team builder led Borussia Dortmund to the German Bundesliga title in 2011 and a historic club double in 2012. 
  • He then guided a side spearheaded by Polish target man Robert Lewandowski to the 2013 Champions League final, where they narrowly lost 1-2 to arch rivals Bayern Munich.
  •  Ahead of the 2013 season, Klopp sparked a nationwide debate in the German media about male grooming after undergoing a hair transplant to combat his receding hairline.“Yes, it’s true. I underwent a hair transplant. I think the results are really cool, don’t you?” said Klopp, who is often seen in a baseball cap.
  • ​​​Klopp and many observers felt the power struggle between Dortmund and Bayern Munich tipped toward the Bavarians when the latter poached the star midfielder Mario Goetze (who scored the 2014 World Cup final winning goal for Germany) away from Dortmund. “It was like a heart attack,” Klopp said when the then 20-year-old admitted in April 2013 he would be switching allegiances.
  • ​​​​A  touchline prowler, Klopp is a television producers' dream as he shows the whole gamut of emotions from the dug out, from wild joy to alarming anger. He is also known for walking home after a game to review the match in his mind.
  • ​​Bookmakers in the UK were unanimous in establishing Manchester City as favourites to be Klopp’s next port of call, with some even offering odds on at 8/11 (down from 16-1 a day earlier) for him to take over from Manuel Pellegrini.
  •  Other potential destinations suggested by the bookies are Barcelona, Real Madrid, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Source: AFP

Young Danish footballer's ankle broken in horror tackle

The tackle that broke footballer Andreas Cornelius' leg and ended his career.

A young Danish striker who used to play for Cardiff City in the English Premier League (EPL) suffered an abrupt and very painful end to his season after a sickening broken leg suffered in a match in the Denmark's league.

Andreas Cornelius, 22, played for Cardiff City in the EPL in 2013 and was the Welsh club's record signing at about S$16 million.

But after eight appearances and no goals to show in an injured-plagued period, he returned home to Denmark to join FC Copenhagen after just six months.

He was dogged by ankle problems during his spell in Wales.

This season, he had scored 11 goals for FC Copenhagen so far, and also notched a goal in the Champions League.

But in a match over the weekend against Silkeborg, his ankle suffered yet more damage, this time the victim of a horrific tackle by an opponent.

After he was felled by the tackle, Cornelius sat up, clutching his ankle, but then lay down on the field, clutching his head soon after.

He was stretchered off in the 30th minute, hooked up to oxygen supply.

The club later confirmed that he would be out for the rest of the season.

The culprit escaped with only a yellow card, but at least FC Copenhagen went on to beat Silkeborg 4-0 to remain second in the table.

Warning: The video may contain graphic footage.



Boyfriend gets girlfriend to put on 40kg so other men wouldn't fancy her

The girlfriend weighed 50kg (left) when she first started dating the man. She now weighs 90kg (right).

A man in China decided to fatten his girlfriend up because he didn't want her to leave him for another.

The boyfriend plied her with copious amounts of food for breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and supper each day.

To keep her appetite up, he offered her various cuisines – Japanese fare, Cantonese dishes, hotpot, snacks and desserts. 

His reasoning behind it? Men wouldn't try to snatch his girlfriend if she were fat, reported local media.

In less than a year, the girlfriend's weight went from 50kg to 90kg.

According to local media, the boyfriend was extremely pleased with the results.

He recently got down on one knee, pulled out a diamond ring and asked for her hand in marriage.

Food was a major part of the proposal, of course.

He presented her a bouquet of Ferrero Rocher chocolate and got family members and friends to hold up pictures of food.

The location of the proposal? A food street in Guangzhou.

After she said yes, he told her: "Let me eat with you for a lifetime."

Sources: People.cnwww.jiaodong.net, Kwong Wah eNews | Photos: Internet via People.cn and Khong Wah eNews

Talking dog: cool or cruel?

A "yes" from Simon Cowell may not be able to save him.



Ventriloquist Marc Metral stunned Cowell and his Britain's Got Talent co-judges when he started having a conversation with his dog, Wendy. Wendy was able to move her mouth to "answer" her owner's questions.

The act received standing ovations from all four judges. Actress/singer and judge Amanda Holden, praised Metral and said that he was "making television history",

A video of the duo's performance was uploaded to the show's official Youtube channel on April 11 and has since been viewed more than 2 million times.

However, animal lovers were angered by the performance and claimed that it was an act of animal cruelty.

According to The Independent, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said in a statement: "It is not clear if Wendy was wearing any sort of muzzle or mask during the performance on Britain's Got Talent."

The organisation is currently investigating how Metral pulled off the feat. It is also trying to determine how the method used by him affected Wendy.

Wendy's owner told The Independent that he does not mistreat Wendy.

"I've been working with Wendy since she was a puppy, training and caring for her for the last five years. She loves performing and I would never put her in a situation that would cause her distress."

Sources: The Independent, Huffington Post