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Athletics Local Singapore South East Asia Sports

Singapore Athletics Examines Leaked Recording, After Recent Scandals Take Stage

A three-hour long audio recording of the association’s extraordinary general meeting (EOGM) started to make its rounds on 13 July 2020, as the group and its members were reviewing its constitution.

The Singapore Athletics Association (SA) has since released a statement, condemning the leak and further opening investigations into its source.

Speaking to The Straits Times, SA president Tang Weng Fei has said that it was reiterated and emphasised multiple times and “made clear repeatedly” that any of the association’s meetings and proceedings are highly private and confidential.

Affiliate members attending the virtual meeting were made aware of this.

“There were strict professional instructions and conditions provided to the members before the EOGM, and reiterated at least twice during the EOGM, but the professional standards were not adhered to by certain members,” he said.

“Actions will have to be taken to make those who were responsible, account for their conduct, as confidential information was imparted (by all attending) on the common understanding and obligation of confidence.”

During the EOGM, 20 of the association’s 23 affiliate members, as well as 15 other associate members, attended a meeting which lasted around five hours.

As per the contents of the clip, Tang himself was addressing a question from honorary secretary of Wings Athletics Club. The SA had suggested a removal of their voting rights from its athletes’ commission representatives.

This, along with other proposed changes, were several that were raised during the meeting, which elicited concerns from some clubs even prior to the EOGM.

Notably, the clip was thereafter reposted on social media by Soh Rui Yong, a national marathoner, who famously sued SA for defamation earlier last year. The marathoner felt their statement on his non-selection for the 2019 edition of the SEA Games in the Phillippines was unwarranted.

In his Facebook post, Soh questions the proposed changes to the SA’s constitution, of which were made by Tang.

In another Facebook update on 3 August, Soh posted an update regarding his lawsuit against the SA:

“During a hearing before the Singapore High Court this morning, the Court ordered costs of $2,500 in my favour, to be paid by Singapore Athletics (SA).”

The leak comes after the SA was embroiled in a sexual misconduct case in the sport. Former veteran coach Loh Siang Piow, 75, was found guilty in June 2020 for molestation and abuse of a teenage athlete on several occasions.

In 2013, Loh had sexually abused the then 18-year-old victim under the guise of a sports massage to ease her cramps. This happened on two occasions at Tampines Stadium.

The SA has reiterated that it strives to construct safe sporting environments for athletes, citing the introduction of several measures that has been implemented ever since its new management committee was formed in 2018. It had downsized the size of its committee subsequently to prevent nominees from infighting.

The association has also been strengthening the appropriate channels utilised for any potential misconduct in the future, working closely with Sport Singapore to provide education and awareness.

Tang, when probed for comments on the guilty verdict, only said that Loh “contributed significantly over the years as an athlete, coach and administrator”.

Having never encountered any cases of abuse or harassment in her 16 years of representing Singapore, three-time Paralympic gold medallist Yip Pin Xiu, 28, reminds that vigilance is key.

“There might possibly be cases of under-reporting, considering how sexual assault victims everywhere normally find it hard to speak out. I think that (Loh’s) case will encourage people to speak up on these kinds of experiences.”

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Asia Athletics Cycling Local Singapore South East Asia Sports

Amidst the Pandemic, Singapore’s Marathons Undergo Necessary Virtual Pivot

Throughout the calendar year, the sunny island’s obsession with public marathons and cross-country events are often met with devout athletes who wish to test their mettle. It’s no secret that our people love a good sweat and soak.

However, amidst the dangers of hosting mass public events and gatherings, and with infection cases gradually declining since the exit of the ‘Circuit Breaker’ lockdown, it would be presumptuous for events that cater to tens of thousands to be brought back with such haste.

One such marathon that has been a mainstay in the runners’ schedule is the 2XU Compression Run Singapore.

The event has drawn intense numbers over the years, amassing a cult following of enthusiasts not just locally but from the region to participate in its edgy showdown.

Touted to have sold almost 16,000 tickets over 3 race courses — 5km , 10km, and 21.1km — the 2020 edition was originally scheduled for April 2020 at the F1 Pit Building.

As well, organisers had also introduced two new regional legs in Indonesia and Malaysia, to form the Asia series 2020, to commemorate its 10th anniversary. Runners who took part and completed all 3 would be eligible for a limited edition 2XU Conqueror Medal from the respective races that could be combined to form a bigger whole.

But as of July, organisers have released announcements postponing the races to April 2021, in a move that was highly expected.

Previously, similar events like the Osim Sundown Marathon, the Income Eco Run, as well as the Great Eastern Women’s Run were inevitably shelved and moved to 2021, many still going through the motions of processing refunds and questions from ticket holders.

Besides runs, the OCBC Cycle 2020 event has also been officially withdrawn, the 7,000 strong tournament initially postponed till an unspecified ‘later date’ in 2020. With experts reporting that vaccinations will not be massively available at a rapid pace in the near future of 2020, the writing was on the wall for this one a well.

In a media statement, OCBC has reiterated that full refunds will be made by September for registrants.

In a move of good faith, OCBC has allowed an alternative option for a participant’s entry fee to be donated to Care Corner Singapore, OCBC Cycle’s chosen charity, which supports low income and little opportunity families or households in championing access and tools for formal education.

As a pivot to the physical competition, the company has established a virtual set-up, titled the OCBC Cycle 2020 Virtual Ride, which will be held in Novermber.

Consisting of three categories — The Sportive VR (42km), The Straits Times VR  (23km), as well as the Mighty SaversKids VR (5km or 800m), it seems like the company and its sponsors have teamed up to provide the public a safer, less centralised, and non-tangible model of their competition.

In this edition, cyclists who cover the entire distance in their chosen categories, even in indoor bicycles, will automatically be considered to have completed the ride.

All of this information must be tracked by a workout app or fitness tracker on their smartphones, and participants are not required to execute the entire distance in one sitting.

Following completion, an OCBC Cycle 2020 medal and tote bag will also be posted via mail to entrants.

It’s a welcomed move by its organisers, who seek to retain brand loyalty amidst the fallout of public participation and inactivity.

Koh Ching Ching, who is the head of group brand and communications at OCBC Bank, said that without sacrificing the safety of participants, they still “hope to bring the joy of cycling to the community via the virtual ride format”.

“People deserve to have something they can get excited about during this challenging time.”

The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) is perceived to be making an announcement in a similar vein soon, with Sport Singapore chief executive officer Lim Tech Yin hinting that virtual engagements for the competition are likely.

Last year, the SCSM attracted over 50,000 participants, with more than 70,000 supporters cheering their loved ones on from spectator zones.

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Asia Culture Local Malaysia People Singapore South East Asia

Meet JJ Lin’s All-Singaporean Esports Team

JJ Lin’s Team Still Moving Under Gunfire (SMG) has released their roster for the new first-person-shoot game, Valorant by Riot Games. The list of players comprises of an all-Singaporean team, consisting of veteran professional players of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. 

Mandopop megastar singer JJ Lin founded the esports team, along with veteran Dota 2 player turned coach, Kenchi Yap. Team SMG won first place in TheGym MY/SG Final Countdown: Causeway Cup, CSGO2Asia Grassroots Cup and GeForce Cup Pacific Singapore Qualifier. 

Born out of his love for Dota and esports, JJ Lin brought his passion and love for gaming to a professional level, with various teams playing competitively under his belt. Team SMG was established in 2017 and is a premier esports organisation in Asia, with teams in China and Southeast Asia. Mandopop megastar singer JJ Lin founded the team, along with veteran Dota 2 player turned coach, Kenchi Yap. JJ Lin has provided support to official Dota 2 events such as the Shanghai Major and DAC Major as a guest performer and is currently heavily involved in the development of his esports teams. His aim is to bring esports to greater heights, utilising his influence in pop culture as leverage. 

Team SMG gained popularity after its big win at the Arena of Valor International Championship with their Taiwan based team. In 2018, the esports company moved into Player Unknown’s Battleground (PUBG) with a Shanghai-based partnership team. In 2020, team SMG announced that they had signed on ‘Makan Cendol’  to compete in Mobile Legends Bang Bang, an online mobile battle arena multiplayer game. The acquisition of ‘Makan Cendol’ is part of Team SMG’s strategic venture into Southeast Asia’s competitive esports scene.

Armed with teams competing in Mobile Legends Bang Bang (MLBB), PUBG, and PUBG Mobile, Team SMG’s new foray into Valorant territory is not unfounded; with the addition expanding Team SMG’s esports presence in SEA, with now teams in Shanghai, Malaysia, and Singapore. 

Valorant was only recently officially released at the beginning of June 2020 but has already grasped the attention of several esports organisations, unveiling rosters consisting of former CS:GO professionals. Lin’s team consists of: 

  • Captain Sha ‘ZesBeeW’ Mohtar;
  • Coach/Manager Kenneth ‘Colbat’ Ho;
  • Danyal ‘Kama’ Heng;
  • Alex ‘falfalfal’ Cheng;
  • Xavier ‘LEXY’ Lee;
  • Chun Ting ‘Divine’ Yeoh; and
  • Syafiq ‘Aeozora’ Anuar.

Before Valorant, several team members were former CS:GO pro players, with Captain ZesBeeW being a previous CS:GO e-athlete for Malaysia’s Team XCN and JYP Gaming. ZesBeeW also captained the Resurgence CS:GO team, and played with falfalfa, LEXY, and Divine, before its disbandment. 

Previously a professional PUBG player, Aeozora had played the battle royale game for four years and competed in the PUBG SEA Series 2020, alongside the Aerowolf Pro Team. Aeozora has since retired from PUBG and now focuses on Valorant.

Moving into Valorant territory, the team has already dominated the community tournaments, such as BRSG Valorant Community Series and the Stay Home Challenge Breaker. They will make their competitive debut in the Lenovo’s Rise of Legion: Valorant July 2020 tournament, running from 27 July to 1 August, when the finals take place. More information on the competition can be found on the Lenovo Legion website. 

Lin has called the Valorant squad a ‘milestone in my esports journey, one that is very close to my heart’ in an Instagram post announcing the team. 

The Valorant team is the first Singaporean team of SMG.

SMG has rosters that compete in other games, such as Mobile Legends, PUBG, and PUBG Mobile, based in Malaysia and China. 

In his Instagram post, Lin also mentioned his vision for esports in Southeast Asia.

“Like these boys, I started gaming as a past time. But this past time evolved into my passion and global vision in esports, and I strive to nurture home-grown talent in this burgeoning esport scene.”