Chef de mission gives Team Singapore a B+
The Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010 saw Team Singapore rack up at record-breaking haul of 11 gold, 11 silver and nine bronze medals.
Four years on, they have mined a smaller haul of medals in Glasgow - eight golds, five silvers and four bronzes - but Singapore chef de mission, Low Teo Ping, still grades the overall effort a commendable "B+".
"I'm not too concerned over the numbers game," Low told The New Paper yesterday, hours before the closing ceremony of the 2014 Games.
"It's the quality that counts more. Some of our athletes have produced remarkable performances that will be remembered for a long time."
Joseph Schooling won Singapore's first swimming medal at a Commonwealth Games when he claimed the silver in the 100m butterfly.
The 19-year-old finished behind Olympic champion Chad le Clos of South Africa in 51.69sec, breaking his own national record in the process.
Shooter Jasmine Ser won gold in the 50m rifle-three positions, adding to her triumph in New Delhi in the 10m air rifle.
Then there was Derek Wong's stellar run to the men's singles badminton final, where he lost narrowly to India's Kashyap Parupalli, and the 1-2-3 finish by the table tennis team in the women's singles event.
"These are historical feats which, I feel, eclipse the fact that we have a lower medal count than 2010," Low said.
"These Games are an opportunity for our athletes to excel on the international stage, at least in terms of bettering personal bests and even national records.
"It is also an opportunity for us to see which areas need improvement."
While Low praised the overall effort of Team Singapore, he felt men's shooting and women's swimming are two areas which need to be developed further.
"Men's shooting has to be rejuvenated," he said, after the male shooters fired blanks in Scotland, with the two golds coming from Teo Shun Xie in the women's 10m air pistol and Ser.
"We need to go back, develop the pipeline and replace the athletes who have already left.
"This applies to the men's table tennis team as well.
"For our women in swimming, they tried their level best, but perhaps need to relook their preparation.
"There is a tendency among Singapore athletes to simply prepare for qualification (for major Games), and that's it.
"We can't do that. There has to be more beyond that, as well."
The Commonwealth Games experience has also given the Republic's athletes the opportunity to learn more about some of their opponents ahead of the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19 to Oct 4.
Low highlighted India and England as fast-rising threats in table tennis, as Singapore's paddlers collected six of the seven golds on offer in the sport.
"Because we were here in Glasgow, we could identify some of the newcomers in each sport," he said.
"The Commonwealth Games are also preparation for the Asian Games.
"Derek, for instance, can take tremendous confidence from his ride to the final.
"The paddlers will have China and the rest of the continent's powerhouses to contend with at the Asian Games, but they would have learned about the threat from India, as well.
"Hopefully, every athlete has gained from this experience."
LOW’S HIGH POINTS
Singapore chef de mission Low Teo Ping rates his five shining stars at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
1 Joseph Schooling
The 19-year-old swim sensation won Singapore’s first swimming medal at a Commonwealth Games, bagging a silver in the 100m butterfly.
Schooling finished behind Olympic champion Chad le Clos of South Africa in 51.69sec, breaking his own national record.
2 The shuttlers
Derek Wong (men’s singles) and Danny Chrisnanta and Chayut Triyachart (men’s doubles) also entered the history books by becoming the first Singaporeans to feature in the respective badminton finals.
Wong and the pair of Chayut and Chrisnanta both bagged silver medals.
3 The women’s table tennis team
The team continued their dominance, particularly, in the women’s singles event, where Singapore paddlers — Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu and Lin Ye — swept the medals, winning gold, silver and bronze, respectively.
4 Weightlifter Louis Chua
The 22-year-old weightlifter rewrote the national clean-and-jerk mark in Glasgow, improving on the 180kg he posted in March this year at the Singapore National Open with a 182kg lift.
5 Shooter Martina Veloso
The 14-year-old made her Games debut and, while she didn’t win a medal, she earned the applause of everyone by being the youngest in the field to reach the final of the 10m air rifle. She finished fifth.
S'PORE'S FINAL MEDAL TALLY
- Teo Shun Xie (Shooting, women's 10m air pistol)
- Jasmine Ser (Shooting, women's 50m rifle 3 pos, above)
- Feng Tianwei (Table tennis, women's singles)
- Zhan Jian (Table tennis, men's singles)
- Feng Tianwei/Yu Mengyu (Table tennis, women's doubles)
- Gao Ning/Li Hu (Table tennis, men's doubles)
- Women's table tennis team
- Men's table tennis team
- Derek Wong (Badminton, men's singles)
- Danny Chrisnanta/Chayut Triyachart (Badminton, men's doubles)
- Gao Ning (Table tennis, men's singles)
- Yu Mengyu (Table tennis, women's singles)
- Joseph Schooling (Swimming, men's 100m butterfly)
- Hoe Wah Toon (Gymnastics, men's vault)
- Yang Zi/Zhan Jian (Table tennis, men's doubles)
- Lin Ye (Table tennis, women's singles)
- Badminton's mixed team
Great job by support staff
Singapore gymnast Ashly Lau was forced to make an early return home from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow when she injured her knee during the artistic women's team final last Tuesday.
The 15-year-old flew home with her parents as surgery was required immediately, said Singapore chef de mission Low Teo Ping.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Low was full of praise over the efforts of the 35 officials supporting the 70-strong contingent.
"Our medical team from the SSI were on hand to assess Ashly's injury and we decided it was best that she return home as soon as possible."
The SSI team also treated an ankle injury on gymnast Michelle Teo, 16, who was hurt in the women's team final, but stayed on with the contingent in Glasgow, using braces.
Said Low: "Credit must also go to the officials, coaches and team managers, who have done a tremendous job."