12 days of (sporting) Christmas

To the lyrics of Christmas classic ‘Twelve days of Christmas’, SNOC has compiled 12 sporting highlights of the year, in line with the festive season this month.🎄

By Justin (Santa) Kor 🎅🏽

1 partridge in a pear tree

Singapore’s first Winter Olympian – Cheyenne Goh (Photo: Getty Images)

Or in this case, one short track speed skater at a freezing ice rink. 18-year old Cheyenne Goh made history as she became the first Singapore athlete to take part at the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, this year. It marked Singapore’s debut at the Winter Olympics. She made a good first impression, coming in fifth in her heats, before finishing 28th out of 36 competitors overall. Not too bad for a tropical island at our first Winter Games!

2 turtle doves

Low Teo Ping (left) and Annabel Pennefather right) with SNOC President Tan Chuan-Jin. (Photo: Kong Chong Yew)

Two of our long-serving birdies have left SNOC’s roost as vice-presidents Ms Annabel Pennefather and Mr Low Teo Ping say goodbye to us this year. Before the duo left, they came clean with some secrets they had been harbouring during their time at SNOC. For instance, Mr Low learnt that the safest place to be in during a terrorist attack is the broadcast centre because they would want to make sure the attacks are being broadcast to the world! Such memories indeed. Fly high and fly far, you will be missed.

3 French hens

Team Singapore chef de mission Lee Wung Yew flanked by his assistants – Azhar Yusof (left) and Ruth Ng (right). (Photo: Kong Chong Yew)

It has come full circle for three of our former athletes as they took on unfamiliar sporting roles, becoming Chefs-de-Mission (CDM) for their first time at the Asian Games in Indonesia this year. Three-time Olympian shooter Lee Wung Yew was CDM in Indonesia, while Mohammad Azhar bin Yusof (Rugby) and Ruth Ng (Fencing) were his assistants. At the Asian Games, our fledgling chicks certainly grew into their roles, always meeting the needs of our athletes. A job well done to them.

4 calling birds

The 2018 YOG athletes with their send-off party before embarking on a 30-hour journey to Buenos Aires

Our wings spread far and wide this year as Singapore participated in four major Games for the first time in a year. Our athletes were at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, the Commonwealth Games in Australia, the Asian Games in Indonesia, and Youth Olympic Games in Argentina. That’s a whole lot of miles they have flown this year!

5 golden rings

Five-time Sportsman of the Year Joseph Schooling (Photo: Wee Teck Hian)

It may not be five golden rings for Joseph Schooling, but it is the fifth time that he has scooped the Sportsman of the Year award. It is a record that he has rewritten again, after winning his fourth last year. It was a good year for the swimmer, who shone at the Asian Games as he bagged two individual golds – setting a Games record at the 100m butterfly final – and two relay bronzes.

6 geese a-laying

The 2018 Asian Games Contract Bridge Men’s Team champions (Photo: Sport Singapore)

Our six-member team from the Singapore contract bridge men’s team certainly didn’t lay eggs, but they produced a historic gold medal at the sport’s debut at the Asian Games. 264 Singapore athletes went to the Asian Games this year – the largest contingent in history. And we came back with four golds, four silvers, and 18 bronzes. Well done to all our athletes!

7 swans a-swimming

A young cyclist competing at the 2018 Singapore Youth Olympic Festival. (Photo: Red Sports)

After seven years, the Singapore Youth Olympic Festival (SYOF) is still going swimmingly well, as it hosted its seventh edition this year. The SYOF is a legacy of the inaugural 2010 Youth Olympic Games that we hosted, providing a platform for youths to showcase their sporting talent. This year, over 3,000 people took part in 12 sports which included badminton, basketball and floorball over six weeks.

8 maids a-milking

Asian Games women’s 4x100m IM relay bronze medallists – Hoong Enqi, Samantha Yeo, Quah Jing Wen and Quah Ting Wen (Photo: Andy Chua)

At the Asian Games, Singapore managed to milk an event for all its worth after an astonishing eight swimmers were disqualified in a single event. China and South Korea’s 4×100 women’s medley relay teams, who originally placed second and third respectively, were disqualified for illegal changeovers. The result? Singapore got bumped up to third place, bagging bronze as a result.  Talk about Christmas coming early.

9 ladies dancing

Double 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Martina Veloso (centre) (Photo: Sport Singapore)

Our Team Singapore athletes at the Commonwealth Games this year certainly busted out some moves after bagging nine medals in Gold Coast, Australia. There were five golds, two silvers and two bronzes from three sports – shooting, table tennis, and swimming. Shooter Martina Lindsay Veloso and paddler Gao Ning led the charge in the medal tally with two golds apiece.

10 lords a-leaping

Gan Ching Hwee broke the women’s 800m under-17 national record at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. (Photo: Getty Images)

10 years. That’s how long the Under-17 National Women’s record for 800m freestyle, held by Lynette Lim, stood for. Until 15-year-old Gan Ching Hwee shattered it at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina this year. It was two records in two months for the teenage sensation as she also broke the nine-year national record in the 1,500m freestyle at the Asian Games. Is she our next golden girl of the pool in the making? We’ll find out soon enough.

11 pipers piping

Three-time Sportswoman of the Year Feng Tianwei (Photo: Sport Singapore)

World No. 11 paddler Feng Tianwei can certainly be piping away as she also had a good year. She scooped the Sportswoman of the Year award – the third time she has won the accolade. And after winning the singles gold at last year’s South-east Asian Games, Feng came into this year swinging hard. At the Commonwealth Games, she, along with fellow paddler Yu Mengyu, won gold in the women’s doubles event. She also bagged an individual bronze in the women’s singles. Here’s to an even better 2019 for her!

12 drummers drumming

Amanda Lim (second from right) competed at her 12th FINA Swimming World Cup in Singapore last month (Photo: Andy Chua/Singapore Swimming Association)

Freestyler Amanda Lim certainly loves competing at the FINA Swimming World Cup in Singapore as she has participated at the event 12 times since we first hosted the competition in 2007. This year, she drummed up two silvers for Singapore in the 4x50m mixed medley and the 4x50m freestyle relay events.  The latter was Singapore’s joint-best relay result at the Swimming World Cup.