SINGAPORE: In recognition of their contributions to their respective sport, three local coaches – Pang Qing Liang, Isa Halim, and Winson Cheong Peng Chin – were awarded the Singapore Coach Medallion by Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, at the International Council for Coaching Excellence Global Coach Conference (ICCE GCC) 2023 held on Thursday, Nov 30, at Marina Bay Sands.

Launched in 2019, the Singapore Coach Medallion is presented to outstanding and inspiring coaches in Singapore who have significantly impacted the athletes, coaching community, the sport and its stakeholders. However, it was suspended for three years due to Covid-19. Shortlisted nominees underwent interviews as part of the selection process, and the finalists were observed during their coaching sessions.

Among the three awardees, only coach Pang was present to receive the medallion from Minister Tong. A representative (photo below) collected the medallion on Coach Isa’s and Coach Cheong’s behalf. Coach Isa is a head coach at ActiveSG Football Academy (Woodlands) and a football coach at Singapore Sports School, while coach Cheong is an assistant coach at ActiveSG Volleyball Academy and also a volleyball coach for Bukit Panjang Government High School, Geylang Methodist School (Secondary) and Nanyang Polytechnic).

Photo credit: Sport Singapore

“Receiving this award has filled me with a profound sense of accomplishment and inspiration to continue elevating my coaching abilities and assisting athletes to achieve greater heights. I look forward to working closely with and leveraging numerous resources from Sport Singapore and the Singapore Disability Sports Council to train and improve my athletes’ performances. My goal is to continue motivating and inspiring other coaches to foster a community dedicated to nurturing successful athletes,” said a jubilant Pang, a national youth archery and para-archery coach.

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Coach Pang has been training Singapore archery para-athlete Nur Syahidah Alim for about four years, and she tasted multiple successes this year. Syahidah and national archers Contessa Loh and Madeleine Ong clinched the bronze medal in the women’s compound team event at the Asia Cup in March. She subsequently secured a bronze medal at the first leg of the Para-Archery European Cup and won a silver medal at the Asian Para Games in Hangzhou in October. Her remarkable achievements culminated with the women’s compound open title at the Asian Para Archery Championships in Bangkok, Thailand, last month.

“It is relatively unique. My coaching style is to be friends with the athletes, and hopefully I can learn more about them. That is where I provide better support in terms of coaching so that I can help them to become a better athlete and person in life. There is not really a secret in this but hardwork from me, the athlete, the sports scientist, the people and resources from Sport Singapore helps us to achieve this success,” explained Coach Pang when asked about the working style and the chemistry between him and his athletes.

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Sporting success does not come overnight; it involves countless sessions and hours of relentless training. According to Coach Pang, challenges undoubtedly tested their resilience, but they persevered, finding strength in each other’s determination as they pushed their limits to achieve their goals.

“Definitely, there are some hard moments that we all faced, but the most important thing is how we resolved and make it better. From there, we moved on, and further improved ourselves. There is not much difference between para and able-bodied athletes. The most important thing is we must understand what they can or cannot do. From there, we can work on their performance,” explained Coach Pang.

For Coach Isa, he said, “Receiving the Singapore Coach Medallion award is a great recognition, propelling me to work even harder to inspire athletes and other coaches. I extend special thanks to the ActiveSG football academy for providing the platform that kickstarted my coaching journey, and the Singapore Sports School football academy for trusting me as a young coach.”

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The former national Singapore footballer added that this opportunity to excel and inspire the next generation of elite footballers is invaluable, and he looks forward to an increased opportunity for coaches in Singapore – including overseas attachments to foster the exchange of knowledge and best practices to enhance our coaching ecosystem.

This year, the winner of the Singapore Coach Medallion was announced on the first day of the ICCE GCC main conference. Singapore is the first city in Southeast Asia and the third in Asia, after Beijing and Tokyo, to host the world’s most prestigious coach conference that brings together coaches, coach educators, researchers, sports scientists, technical directors, and sports administrators from around the world to address current and emerging issues in coaching.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Coaching for a Better Tomorrow,” which focuses on effective coaching practices, coach learning and development, coaching policy and systems, and inclusivity to prepare coaches better for a future that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, and technologically advanced.