Water polo makes call for more exposure
He may have watched his Under-23 team lose 12-4 to the Kupele Piestany (KVP) Under-18 team from Slovakia at Toa Payoh Swimming Complex yesterday, but Lee Sai Meng is far from disappointed.
The head coach for the water polo team feels that his boys can only benefit if there are more competitions such as the Water Polo Sparring Programme, which is being held for the first time in Singapore.
Singapore's water polo boys have won 26 consecutive gold medals at the South-east Asia Games, but they managed only a fifth placing at the Asian Games in 2014.
To make the breakthrough into the top three in Asia, Lee has called for his boys to get more exposure.
"We are now trying to bring more of this kind of invitational tournaments. It's something that we are really lacking in Singapore," Lee said.
"There're only three (official tournaments for the national team). So that is really not enough in terms of competition exposure."
There will be another invitational tournament from Jan 21-25, which will feature teams from Spain, Japan and Shanghai.
Jerome Lau, the Singapore Swimming Association's assistant secretary general (water polo), says the standard of the teams brought in for such sparring programmes is a crucial factor.
"We want to bring in teams who are stronger than us, but not too strong, because that really presents our players with the right kind of challenges," he said.
"You've got a chance to beat them, but you've got to play a really hard game, so the standard of play is really just right for us."
Chow Jing Lun admitted that his team could have fared better against the KVP Under-18, but believes that the exposure will benefit the players.
"It'll be good exposure for the younger guys, even for me," said the 21-year-old, who took up the sport in Secondary 1.
"Because in Singapore, we don't get to play against many foreign teams. We usually play a lot in South-east Asia."
The senior men's water polo team will take on Hungarian club OSC Budapest at OCBC Aquatic Centre at 7.30pm today.