SEA GAMES 2019: World Championship Boost for Women's Floorball Team
02 December 2019
Singapore’s women’s floorball team repeated their gold medal performance at the Southeast Asian Games with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Thailand in the final on Sunday (1 Dec) at the University of the Philippines College of Human Kinetics Gymnasium in Quezon City.
A victorious women's floorball team celebrate their gold medal
The winning goal came late in the match with three minutes left in the third and final 20-minute period. Defender Jerelee Ong was the toast of the team as she smacked home the winner to ensure Singapore remains the Southeast Asian kingpins of this sport.
This is the second time floorball is being contested as a full medal sport at the SEA Games following its 2015 debut in Singapore. The sport was not included in the Kuala Lumpur 2017 programme.
The number of teams has also risen from the 2015 edition. If the event had struggled to make up numbers back then – only three teams took part and the bronze medal was not awarded – this time around five nations met each other in a single round-robin format with the top two heading to the gold medal match while the third and fourth placed teams met to decide the bronze medal.
For the record, Malaysia beat Philippines 1-0 in overtime to secure the bronze.
Commenting on the growth of the sport, Singapore head coach Louise Khng said: “We’re delighted that more and more of our neighbouring countries are playing floorball and improving rapidly.
Singapore faced a tough challenge from Thailand in the final.
“This is especially important as it means more floorball competitions can be held more frequently, and the level of the sport will continually be raised.
“In January this year, we were in Bangkok for the Asia-Oceania regional qualifiers for the World Championships where we finished in the top 4, alongside hosts Thailand, Australia and Japan to qualify for the world meet.
“In two days’ time, we’ll be boarding the flight to Neuchatel, Switzerland, to compete at the Women’s World Championships, and this gold medal has come as a timely booster for our team.”
Khng was also delighted to point out that 12 of her 20-strong team made their SEA Games debut in Manila, where they were unbeaten through the round robin, which included a 4-1 win over Thailand.
An attack in progress.
Despite entering the final as marginal favourites, Khng said her team knew the gold medal was not a given.
“We knew they were going to come back strong in the final,” said Khng, herself a former national player. “And so it proved as our girls found it hard to penetrate the strong Thai defence. We scored first but then they scored twice to lead 2-1 and we had to fight back to win this gold medal.”
Asked whether the pressure was on her team to retain the gold medal, Khng said her players were reminded of the mantra to “focus on the process and not the outcome”.
Team Singapore Women's Floorball team celebrating the winning goal.
“We knew if we did our job, the result would come,” she said. “We were aiming for the finals, the medal met, and in some ways exceeded, expectations.”