Tuesday 22 November 2011

Team Singapore at the 26th SEA Games Indonesia 2011

SEA Games 2011 was held in Indonesia over 11 days, from November 11 to November 22. The games were held in two host cities, Palembang and Jakarta, with 545 gold medals at stake in 48 sports. The opening and closing ceremonies were held in Palembang.

The Team Singapore contingent was 623-strong, with 417 athletes, competing in 33 sports, and 206 officials.

SEA Games: Booed, but S'pore shuttler stands proud
By Low Lin Fhoong, TODAY, 20 Nov 2011

JAKARTA: Majulah Singapura had not been played in a badminton hall at the SEA Games since 2003, when the women's team bagged a gold medal in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The Singapore national anthem rang out loud on Saturday in a long-awaited return, after Fu Mingtian posted a stunning 2-1 win over Indonesian favourite Adriyanti Firdasari in the women's singles final in front of a raucous home crowd at the Senayan Sport Complex.

It was Singapore's first gold medal in the women's individual event in badminton at a SEA Games.

With Indonesia winning all but one out of five golds on offer Saturday -- they clinched the men's singles, men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles - the 5,000-strong crowd showed their displeasure by booing the 21-year-old Singaporean, and drowned out "Majulah Singapura" by singing the Indonesian anthem during the medal ceremony.

But nothing was going to ruin Fu's moment and she shed tears during the ceremony.

"I'm very, very happy to win the gold medal because I never thought I would become the champion. For me this is a big encouragement and it's really emotional for me.

"At the start when I came on court, there was a bit of pressure and nerves because this is her (Firdasari) home ground, and the crowd was very noisy but I expected it.

"It was about being able to deal with it on my own.

"And I had Team Singapore to support me, so I was confident."

Ranked world No 26, Fu, who is the cousin of China's multiple Olympic gold medallist and diver Fu Mingxia, was seeded fourth here and worked hard to upset Thailand's Intanon Ratchanok (world No 13) in Friday's semi-final.

Firdasari, the world No 39, went into the final nursing an abdomen injury but, urged on by a vociferous crowd, stormed to a 21-14 victory in the first game as Fu struggled to find her feet amid the deafening horns, clappers and roars of the partisan fans.

Regrouping after a huddle with coach Luan Jing, Fu turned on the heat in the second game to level the score with a 21-12 victory over the 24-year-old Indonesian.

A scintillating and tense point-for-point battle kept the crowd on their feet in the third game, with little separating both shuttlers as they levelled the score 12 times before Firdasari clinched match point at 20-19.

But the gutsy Singaporean saved the match point to even matters at 20-20.

She coolly delivered a comeback victory to remember, clinching the next point with some deft net play before punching the air with her fists after her forehand drive bounced off Firdasari's racket to seal the match 22-20 and send the 50-strong Team Singapore supporters in the stands into rapturous celebration.

Said coach Luan Jing: "Today, Mingtian played a beautiful game. She was a little bit nervous and conservative in the first game but I was still optimistic.

"Her condition and game have been improving in every match ... she played well and her luck was good. Her opponent was also injured, but in the final, there was not much disadvantage."

Fu's gold should lay foreign talent ghost to rest
IF THERE are lingering doubts about having foreign-born athletes represent Singapore, the SEA Games performances of women's badminton gold medallist Fu Mingtian ('Fu's gold a titanic win' and 'New queen of the court'; Sunday) and women's doubles bronze medallists Shinta Mulia Sari and Yao Lei would, hopefully, have put them to rest.

They displayed not just skills and stamina, but also tremendous fighting spirit and lots of 'heart' as they battled their opponents rally after rally, point for point - for their new homeland.

As a former Singapore Badminton Association staff member, I have seen Fu at her low points physically and had sent her for check-ups or medical treatment.

Watching her battle her Indonesian opponent on the latter's homeground in last Saturday's singles final, I felt like I was the one who needed medical attention, even as I marvelled at her physical endurance, mental composure and 'never-say-die' attitude.

And when a tear rolled down her cheek as Majulah Singapura was played amid the jeers of the Indonesian crowd, I teared too, with pride and joy for our Singapore girl.
Edwin Pang,
ST Forum, 22 Nov 2011

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