TNP's SEA Games gold medal prediction for Singapore: 52
TNP predicts Team Singapore to beat previous best away SEA Games display of 43 golds
Two years ago, Team Singapore exceeded expectations when they mined 84 gold medals at the home SEA Games.
Before the competition began, The New Paper had predicted a 75-gold haul for the Republic's athletes, and even that was an optimistic call considering the previous record was 50, claimed at the 1993 Games, also on home soil.
But if the 2015 SEA Games and Joseph Schooling's subsequent heroics at the Rio Olympics last year have taught us anything, it is to have the courage to dream big.
That's why The New Paper believes Team Singapore are set for another record-breaking show at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, which officially begin tomorrow.
If form - and a little bit of luck - holds out, TNP believes the 569 athletes could return from across the Causeway with a haul of 52 golds.
Apt, considering Singapore celebrated its 52nd birthday just last week.
That would also surpass the Republic's previous best performance at an overseas SEA Games, when 442 athletes brought home 43 golds from Korat, Thailand, in 2007.
Sport Singapore chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin believes it can be done.
"We hope to have our best overseas SEA Games showing ever," he told The Straits Times last Sunday.
We had 43 golds in Korat, and this time we’re going to try and make sure we do better than that.
Sport Singapore chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin
"We had 43 golds in Korat, and this time we're going to try and make sure we do better than that.
"Our athletes have been preparing very hard for the SEA Games, and they know that they are standing on the shoulders of the last Games that we hosted."
Lim knows what it takes to bring home the gold for Singapore - the 54-year-old is a former national water polo player, and won six SEA Games golds between 1985 and 1995.
Another former star sportsman-turned-administrator, pencak silat icon Sheik Alau'ddin, also believes a 52-gold haul is within grasp.
Said the 49-year-old, who won four SEA Games gold medals from 1991 to 1999: "The signs look good. Today, we have already won our first gold medal, in synchronised swimming.
"I believe we should beat the 43-gold medal mark.
"Sports like swimming and table tennis will contribute a number (of golds), but all the other sports should also be hitting their own targets.
"For silat, I am sure we will contribute as well, and our target is five gold medals."
TNP, however, is more conservative with silat's contribution (see medal breakdown in story on the right), and expects three gold medals from the sport, considering the subjective juror scoring involved.
For Singapore to hit the 52-gold mark, traditional gold mines such as swimming, sailing and table tennis (23, 10 and six golds won in 2015 respectively) will have to deliver again.
Schooling is confident of another stellar showing from the swim contingent.
The 22-year-old won nine gold medals (six individual and three relay) in 2015, and had his game face on upon his return from the Fina World Championships in Budapest last month.
Swimming in six events (three individual, three relay) this time round, Schooling said: "(My aim for SEA Games is) winning all my events and doing the best that I can for Singapore.
"We've always had a great swimming tradition in the SEA Games.
"We have a young, but solid group going.
"I think we have the potential and chance to do something special at the SEA Games."
Where the gold medals may come from
The sport typically contributes the most golds for Singapore at the SEA Games, and it will no different this time.
The swimmers should continue their dominance in the region, with the likes of Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen leading the swim team.
The synchronised swimmers are eyeing three golds, and have already won one yesterday via Debbie Soh.
The men's water polo team are favourites to clinch their 27th consecutive gold medal, while the women's team will be out for revenge, after being edged out for the gold by Thailand in 2015.
TABLE TENNIS (5)
The paddlers won six out of seven medals in 2015, and should be good for at least five in Kuala Lumpur.
The women's team, packed with the usual suspects, should deliver the majority of the medals in KL, although the men's team, anchored by Gao Ning, Clarence Chew and Pang Xue Jie may see tough challenges in their events.
The winds of change are blowing across local sailing, a traditional gold mine for Singapore at the SEA Games.
Experienced campaigners such as Colin Cheng and Elizabeth Yin are sitting out to focus on other pursuits, while the juniors returned from the Optimist World Championships last month without a podium finish for the first time in more than a decade.
Still, relatively experienced sailors Ryan Lo, as well as Yukie Yokoyama, Jodie Lai and their partners, can be counted on to deliver the goods.
The world-class women's team have not been lucky with injuries this season, but still have the individual and collective quality to go toe-to-toe with their equally impressive Malaysian counterparts.
But, home ground advantage, in terms of familiarity to the lane conditions and home support, may count against the team.
- Athletics (1)
- Billiards and snooker (2)
- Cricket (2)
- Fencing (2)
- Speed skating (2)
- Silat (3)
- Shooting (2)
- Waterskiing and wakeboarding (3)