Singapore athletes confident ahead of Asean University Games
Republic's athletes aim to pick up where 2015 SEA Games and Asean Para Games left off
After a 22-year hiatus, the Asean University Games have returned to Singapore.
Student-athletes from the Republic's six local universities - Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS), SIM University (UniSIM), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Singapore Management University (SMU) and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) - will battle it out against their counterparts from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Timor Leste in 16 sporting disciplines to claim bragging rights.
After Singapore's successful staging of the SEA Games and the Asean Paralympic Games last year, and the record haul of medals by the Republic's athletes at both events - 84 gold and 259 medals at the SEA Games, 24 gold and 63 medals at the Para Games - there is a feelgood factor surrounding the country's athletes for the 18th edition of the regional University Games.
Basketball player Russel Low, a second-year banking and finance student at NTU and member of the squad that won a bronze at the 2015 SEA Games, is confident that the 240-strong Singapore contingent can fulfil expectations.
"My experience at last year's SEA Games will definitely help me in this University Games, even though this is my first time participating," he told The New Paper, after the official opening ceremony at NTU yesterday.
"Definitely, we can repeat what we did at the SEA Games because all the athletes have been preparing hard, including our basketball team.
"I am ready to use my experience from last year to lead some of my teammates who have not participated in big tournaments before and even then, they are still working hard and giving it their all and I am confident that we can match or even do better than last year."
The torch-bearers at yesterday's opening ceremony - with Guest of Honour, Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence - were Nur Shafiqa, SEA Games 2015 silat bronze medallist and Ang Han Teng, a gold medallist in archery at the 2014 Asean University Games.
Featuring around 1,500 top tertiary athletes, the Games will see nine venues used and will run until July 19th.
Singapore, who hosted the event previously in 1986 and 1994, were seventh in the last edition of the biennial Games in Palembang, Indonesia, after winning four gold, seven silver and 15 bronze medals, and the team will be looking to crack the top three in the overall standings this time around.
Hosts Indonesia (68 gold, 78 silver, 45 bronze) were top of the overall pile, with Thailand (54, 32, 30) and Malaysia (39, 44, 49) finishing second and third, respectively.
The hosts will feature 335 athletes and officials at the Games - their largest ever contingent.
One athlete who will be looking to better his silver-medal winning performance in 2014 will be former national shuttler Ashton Chen.
"The University Games are a good way for me to keep in touch with the sport and playing on home ground, we will have a larger group of supporters and that will definitely motivate me," said the third-year business student from UniSIM.
"I managed to get a silver in Palembang. This time around, I'm hoping to change the colour of the medal.
"Most importantly for me and the other athletes is to give the home crowd something to cheer about."
Archery: National Institute of Education - NTU
Athletics: Choa Chu Kang Stadium
Badminton: SIM Sports Hall
Basketball: NTU Sports Hall 2
Canoeing: Marina Bay
Fencing: NUS Sports Halls 1 & 2
Football (Men): NTU Main Field
Pencak Silat: Silat Federation (Bedok)
Petanque: Toa Payoh Sports Complex
Rugby 7s (Men): NTU Field 2
Sepak Takraw (Men): Sepak Takraw Federation (Bedok)
Shooting: Yishun Safra
Swimming: OCBC Aquatic Centre
Table Tennis: NTU Sports Hall 3
Volleyball: NUS Multi-Purpose Sports Hall 5
Water Polo (Men): OCBC Aquatic Centre
- The latest schedule for the AUG can be found at http://aug2016.sg/index.php/general-schedule/