SINGAPORE — The Singapore men’s national team secured the bronze medal after a 67-57 victory over Switzerland in the recent World Tchoukball Championships held in Prague, Czech Republic. The women’s national team had to settle for fifth place as they suffered a surprising defeat by Hong Kong in the quarter-finals.
The president of the Tchoukball Association of Singapore, Delane Lim, has set a top-four target for both the men’s and women’s teams at the World Tchoukball Championships. This target is based on the teams’ performance in recent months. While acknowledging the men’s team’s medal win, Lim has pointed out that other countries are rapidly improving and challenging teams that had previously dominated the sport.
“Although we had hoped for two medals, the bronze by the men’s team is still a nice birthday present to Singapore. I want to pay tribute to the men’s team who showed resilience and courage, characteristics we want our national teams to have,” said Lim.
“The tournament has shown that the world order for the sport may be shifting slightly. The Europeans have improved so much that even traditional powerhouse Chinese Taipei was also affected. We will have to work hard to match these teams.”
Tchoukball powerhouse Chinese Taipei emerged as the champions in the men’s category, securing a narrow 58-57 victory over Italy. It was an all-European final in the women’s category as Switzerland clinched the gold medal with a 42-36 win against Italy.
The Singapore men’s national team, ranked third in the world, had an intense match against the second-ranked team, Italy, in the semi-finals. Despite their best efforts, Singapore lost the game by a single goal, 55-56, and unfortunately missed out on a spot in the final.
While Singapore men’s national team captain Ivan Ng said that the team could have approached the match against Italy with more confidence, self-belief was something the team had plenty of against Switzerland.
“The Italians played at a high standard and that puts the team under some pressure. But against Switzerland, we were more relaxed and that allowed us to better control the game. We went into the competition hoping for a top-four finish so I would say we did well to meet our target. But we also released in a narrow loss to Italy that we are not so far behind the top teams,” shared Ng.
“To reach that level, we need to train hard and build a strong core group of players for the next world championships. One thing we learned at the tournament is that we lack consistency. We get distracted by refereeing decisions that don’t go our way and allow that to affect us. With Europe showing their strength at this year’s tournament, we should also look to international exposure to gain experience playing in different environments,” explained the Singapore men’s national team captain.
For world number one ranked team Singapore women’s national team, they bounced back after their defeat to Hong Kong (38-39) in the quarter-finals. They secured victories over Malaysia (61-43) and Argentina (68-24) to cement the fifth position in the competition. /TISG