The year in review 2012

27 December, 2012   John Yeong

A HIGHLIGHT OF SINGAPORE'S SPORTING ACHIEVEMENTS reflects on an action-packed year of major milestones: of many firsts, historic achievements and titles for Team Singapore that will be etched into the memories of local sporting folklore.

With a multitude of competitions that have taken place over the past 12 months, our job certainly hasn’t been easy but here are a few standout moments that we have gleaned from our search.

Lim Heem Wei (above) performs are artistic gymnastics routine at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. (SSC images)

Breaking Ground

To qualify and compete at an Olympic Games has long been regarded as the pinnacle of any athlete’s career. Yet for Team Singapore’s Lim Heem Wei (gymnastics) and Geraldine Lee (canoeing), their involvement at the London 2012 summer Olympiad meant much more. Both Heem Wei and Geraldine were the first athletes to qualify for an Olympic Games for their respective sports.

Gymnastics - Making her first appearance at the Olympics, Heem Wei finished in 45th position out of 98 competitors in the qualification round of the women’s artistic gymnastics competition, scoring 50.799 on four apparatus for a very credible result in London.

Canoeing - Like Heem Wei, debutant Geraldine made a lasting impression with her performances in London. She qualified for the semi-finals of the K-1 500-metre event, finishing 7th in the semi-finals with a time of 2.01.516, and finishing 8th in her heats with a time of 45.552 for the K1 200-metre event.

Feng Tianwei overcame Ishikawa (Japan) to claim an individual bronze for table tennis at the 2012 London Games. (SSC images)

Record breakers

Table Tennis - Having already won a team silver medal at Beijing 2008, it was going to take an effort of mammoth proportions to match their achievement in London 2012. Entering the tournament as underdogs this time, Team Singapore’s women paddlers comprising Feng Tianwei, Wang Yuegu and Li Jiawei went one better than Beijing - claiming a team bronze before Tianwei added an individual bronze following a thrilling finale in the play-off match with Japan’s Ishikawa to rewrite the republic’s sporting record books. This would be the first time in the nation's history that more than one medal is won at an Olympic Games.

Equestrian - At the London 2012 Paralympic Games that was to follow soon after, Laurentia Tan became Singapore's most bemedalled Paralympian as she outdid herself to win a silver and a bronze medal in the Equestrian events. 

Singapore's netball team reclaimed their Asian crown after 7 years, defeating Sri Lanka in the final in Colombo in August. (image credit: Netball Singapore)

Queen of the Courts

Netball - Following an exciting final at the 8th Asian Netball Championships in Colombo, Sri Lanka in August, Team Singapore’s Netball team are champions of Asia, 7 years on since they last won it on home soil in 2005. Both Singapore and fellow finalists Sri Lanka were unbeaten en route to the final which made for an amazing spectacle as Singapore edged out their rivals narrowly by a single goal to win 48-47 to be crowned Queen of the courts.

Top of the World

Silat- Armed with weeks of intensive training that included strength and conditioning, and tactics/techniques/strategies, Team Singapore Silat exponent Muhammad Shakir Bin Juanda soared through the qualifying rounds of the 15th World Pencak Silat Championship 2012 held in Chiang Rai, Thailand to earn himself a place in the knock out stages. Tough games ensued in the knockout stages with Shakir emerging victorious in the quarter final against United Kingdom’s Dwayne Crizzle and defeating the Netherlands’ Rion Rijker before narrowly overcoming Vietnam’s Le Si Kien 3-2 to secure the title of World Champion.

Bowling - Team Singapore Bowler, Shayna Ng, was crowned the 2012 AMF World Cup Champion in Poland when the 24-year-old defeated defending champion Aumi Guerra from the Dominican Republic in the final. Guerra was looking to be the first bowler to win the World Cup three years in a row and took the opening game 269 to 224 but Shayna came back to win the second game 267 to 259 before Guerra fell in the decider. Shayna is the second Singapore woman bowler to win a n AMF World Cup title.

Singapore's Khairul Amri (in red) scores in the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup Final at Jalan Besar to help the Lions to a 3-1 win over Thailand. (image credit: FAS)

ASEAN Kings for a Fourth Time

Football - We round off 2012 with some style, with Singapore’s football team’s success at the recently concluded AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 – a story that has brought much cheer to an already cheery festive season. A Sharil Ishak-inspired Singapore side defeated arch-rivals Malaysia 3-0 at a feisty Bukit Jalil Stadium in the tournament opener, before the team progressed into the semi-finals of the tournament as group winners: losing 0-1 to Indonesia, then securing a comeback win 4-3 vs Laos.

A disciplined performance in the last four against a star-studded Philippines side earned the Lions a place in the final against ASEAN giants Thailand (3 times winners). Roared on by a sold-out crowd at Jalan Besar, Singapore secured a 3-1 first leg home victory before weathering the storm in Bangkok to hold out for a 3-2 aggregate win and become ASEAN football champions.