Sports

Desperate for gold in 2015

He was in tears when he failed to reach the men's lightweight (60kg) boxing final at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, two months ago.

Singapore boxer Ridhwan Ahmad gave as good as he got in his semi-final bout against Junel Cantancio from the Philippines, even breaking his opponent's nose midway through the fight.

But it was not enough, as the jurors awarded Cantancio a 3-0 win.

Ridhwan went on to claim the bronze, his second in succession after he also finished third at the 2011 Games in Palembang, Indonesia.

The 26-year-old is now pulling out all the stops to win gold on home soil at the 2015 Games.

"I don't think anybody will understand how badly I want that gold medal," he told The New Paper yesterday.

"Towards the end of the year, I'll make the necessary final battleplan and I'll probably have another overseas stint.

"I'll work very, very hard to get what I want.

"A win in Singapore will mean so much to me."

Even though boxing is not among the 30 confirmed sports for next year's SEA Games, it is likely to be included as a number of countries in the region - including traditional powerhouses Philippines and Thailand - have lobbied for it to be in the final list.

The final list, which could feature up to 38 sports, will be decided in April.

Said Ridhwan: "I know it will happen.

"Boxing is an Olympic sport and I'm sure many countries want it to be included, so it's not easy to just push aside.

"I'm really excited and I think it will be a great boost for the sport and give it great exposure to Singaporeans.

"I can't wait."

- SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ