SNOC: Bahrain win not enough
A win over Bahrain doesn't prove you can compete with the best in Asia.
That was the firm stance of Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) secretary-general Chris Chan yesterday, when contacted by The New Paper following the Under-23 football team's 3-2 win over the Middle East country in Manama hours earlier.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) had hoped that a good result over Bahrain, ranked 14th in Asia, would sway the SNOC into allowing the U-23 team to compete at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea next month.
But Chan insisted the SNOC's benchmark of a sixth-place mark at the previous Asiad had to be met before an athlete or team would be considered.
He pointed to Bahrain's Asian rank - outside the top six - and performance at the last Asian Games in 2010, where they finished bottom of Group B, behind Iran, Turkmenistan and Vietnam, as proof the Middle East side were not of sufficient quality.
"The appeal deadline is over already, there's really no discussion" he said. "I told the FAS what I told everybody (planning an appeal): I'll help you if you meet the sixth-place mark.
"But how can I consider this? If I do, I have to consider all those other athletes who meet seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th-place marks.
"Hockey, they tried and tried and they did it. Their appeal has been circulated and the (SNOC appeals) committee has come back and said yes.
"Equestrian, there's one appeal that was successful.
"There was another in fencing. They all met the marks."
Like football, the men's hockey team also missed out on the initial list, released in April, of 223 athletes from 19 sports who will fly the Republic's flag at the Asiad.
But Solomon Casojee's men went to play the sixth-ranked team, Oman, four times in three months.
The hockey team eventually beat the Omanis twice last month, to give their hopes of making SNOC's final list - to be submitted to the Korean organisers on Aug 15 - a massive boost.
In response to queries, the FAS said it would still file an appeal to the SNOC, as it believes the team have chalked up enough results for them to test themselves against Asia's best.
- SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ