Medallists from (L to R) Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines pose on the podium with dignitaries (Photo Credit: Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee / Action Images via Reuters)
Team Singapore collected a highly-creditable silver medal in the men’s squash team event on Saturday after being edged 2-0 in the gold medal contest against Malaysia.
Malaysia’s team, which in contrast to the young Singapore squad, is made up of full-time professional players, were deserved winners but were certainly pushed hard by the men in red.
In the opening contest, Malaysia's Muhd Bahtiar beat Singapore's Samuel Kang 10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9.
Then Singapore's Vivian Rhamanan lost out to Malaysia's Sanjay Singh 11-4, 11-2, 11-2.
“It was a good effort. Samuel played very well. Our players are part-timers and that makes a difference but still Samuel gave a very good showing, he was almost there, he tried his best but just lost out,” said Team Singapore’s squash coach Ibrahim Gul.
Team Singapore's Samuel Kang in action (Photo Credit: Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee / Action Images via Reuters)
“Then Vivian was under immense pressure after we lost the first one. He couldn’t show his real game, he was under real pressure from the home crowd and the game situation. But we have doubles coming up on Sunday with Viv and Marcus Phua and I am confident we can get gold in that, we are good in doubles,” he added.
The players were certainly far from in downbeat mood after the game, drawing particular encouragement from the way in which the Singapore public had rallied around them.
As well as packed seats to watch the match, fans poured into an overspill area to watch a live stream of the contest.
“Ever since the event has started, the support has ben really great. For a sport that many people in Singapore say is a dying sport, well you can see the line of people who queued up to get in. It showed that squash is still a vibrant sport. We are so happy that so many people came out - it really motivated us,” said Bryan Koh.
“Hopefully this is a stepping stone that we can use to close the gap even more,” he added.