Singapore's underwater hockey teams complete SEA Games clean sweep
Singapore's underwater hockey teams yesterday completed a clean sweep of all four golds in the sport's SEA Games debut.
The men pipped Indonesia 4-3 while the women defeated the Philippines 3-0 in their respective 6x6 finals, adding to their 4x4 titles on Wednesday.
Men's national coach David Lambert believes that the $60,000 bounty that comes with the four-title feat will come in handy to help the sport grow in Singapore.
Under the Singapore National Olympic Council's Major Games Award Programme, a SEA Games gold in the team event, which underwater hockey falls under, is rewarded with $15,000.
Said the 59-year-old Australian: "The golds will bring some publicity to the sport and, with more funds, the Singapore Underwater Federation can put some grassroots down... put some structures in place with the schools to create pathways for athletes to enter our sport."
The prize money will also help defray the costs incurred by the players who have spent an estimated $5,000 in preparation of the Games, said Singapore men's captain Jonathan Chan.
"(Across both squads)... all of us have full-time jobs except two who are still studying... it's physically challenging... the immense sacrifice of personal time and finances makes the win so much sweeter," added the 34-year-old.
Singapore rose beyond the issues of time and finances to bring home the gold at this Games, but the same challenges are proving to be the teams' biggest obstacles ahead of the World Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, next July.
"Again, it will be tough on the players, but it will be up to them to decide if they can make such sacrifices again," said Lambert.