Singapore’s Olympic team are ready for the ultimate challenge in sport as they prepare for Saturday’s first day of action in the Summer Games in Rio.
The athletes are settled into the Olympic Village and while that offers a chance to taste the unique atmosphere of the Games, the focus is firmly on the competition ahead.
The Olympics is about so much more than medals with the chance to compete with the very best in the world and to experience the international solidarity and friendship that the Games provides but Team Singapore is certainly hoping there will be some cause for celebration back home.
TeamSG paddler Feng Tianwei won two Bronze medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Photo: Sport Singpore
Four years ago in London, Singapore produced their most successful Games ever with two bronze medals coming in table tennis. Feng Tianwei won bronze in the women’s singles and was also part of the women’s team, who finished third.
Tianwei, who also won a silver medal in Beijing in 2008, will be hoping to add to her medal haul in Brazil where the draw means she will likely have to beat defending Olympic champion Li Xiaoxia of China if she is to reach the final of the women’s singles.
The women’s team has a different look from the past two Games with Feng joined by Yu Mengyu and Zhou Yihan and if they can reach the last four, the trio are likely to face the might of China in the semi-finals.
While hopes are high for more medals from the paddlers, all eyes will be on Joseph Schooling as he looks to gain the nation’s first ever medal in swimming in the 100 metres butterfly.
TeamSG swimmer Joseph Schooling makes his debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Photo: Sport Singapore
Schooling grabbed global attention by winning silver in the 100m butterfly at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and then enjoyed a fantastic Asian Games in Incheon where he won gold (100m fly), silver (50m fly) and bronze (200m fly). The Singaporean then confirmed his status among the globe’s very best by winning bronze in the 100m fly at the 2015 FINA World Championships.
As for current form, Joseph beat the most successful Olympian and swimmer of all-time when he pipped Michael Phelps at the Longhorn Aquatics Elite Invite meet in June but he will know the American will be in much better shape in Rio.
There will be cause for great pride for the Quah family with Quah Ting Wen and her brother Quah Zheng Wen both competing in swimming in Rio and looking to build on their successes at the SEA Games.
TeamSG Gold medallist Colin Cheng at last year's SEA Games. Photo: Sport Singapore
Singapore also hope for a strong showing in sailing where Colin Cheng should make an impression in the men’s laser. Cheng won a gold and a silver at the 2015 SEA Games on home water. In London four years ago, Cheng finished as the best Asian sailor in his class and while he has been careful not to over-raise expectations, the 26-year-old appears quietly confident.
In shooting, Jasmine Ser, earned a wildcard berth at London but has qualified outright for Rio and the world No. 17 in the 50m rifle three positions (3P) and 10m air rifle and after some good World Cup performances will be looking to improve substantially on her 24th place finish four years ago.
In all, Singapore has 25 athletes competing in seven sports - and fans back home can be sure of plenty of exciting action from their local heroes as well as the international stars on display in Rio.
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