SINGAPORE: In its debut appearance at the Asian Continental Cup in late November, the Singapore Women’s Masters over-40s hockey team emerged victorious. The team brought home the gold on Nov 26 after it defeated Hong Kong, which hosted the tournament.

The women’s win was lauded at home at the time, and more recently, a hockey news site based in the United Kingdom sang the team’s praises, calling the players “history makers” whose dream had come true in a Dec 9 (Saturday) piece. What’s even more impressive is that the 18-strong team of locals and expats was formed only a few months ago.

The piece in The Hockey Paper noted that the team made it to the finals after besting South Korea 2-1 in a shoot-out and is now getting ready for the World Cup in 2024 at Aukland and Cape Town.

The women’s over-40s team was not the only one that bagged prizes recently. The men’s over-40s and over-50s teams took bronze medals at the World Masters Hockey Asia Cup.

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The over-40s women’s team captain, Ms Ping Tan, gave credit where credit was due, giving a shoutout to “our brilliant world-class coach Wayne Blazejczy” and the rest of the team for their “focus, dedication and sheer determination.”

Ms Tan, the Global Head of EFX Liquidity at Bank of America, noted that as non-professional athletes, team members not only strike a balance between their careers and commitments to their families but also have to make time to train and compete.

“We knew in our hearts that getting a team together to make our debut appearance in this international tournament was a win, but taking gold is groundbreaking as we look to create more visibility and sponsorship opportunities to support more women and girls to compete in this beautiful team sport – field hockey- where we get to make lasting friendships and deliver results in our lives beyond hockey! Majulah Singapura!,” she told The Hockey Paper.

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Nevertheless, the team did have some stars on their side, including 52-year-old Phua Min Tze, who had competed in the SEA Games this year. Ms Phua is the team’s goalkeeper.

“The SEA games is a celebration of youth and athleticism, while the masters is about encouraging participation and enjoying our game with better maturity.

It is a different world, both unique and fulfilling. But for the common goals of showcasing women in sport, having an active sporting culture through different age groups and wanting to make Singapore proud,” she told The Straits Times.

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