01 December 2010

How Did Singapore Fare At The 2010 Asian Games?

Some people consider that Team Singapore put up a respectable showing at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou despite the high standards of the other competing nations.

This is how Team Singapore fared, compared to its performance at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

Number of medals won
2010: 17 medals — four gold, seven silver and six bronze — from five sports.
2006: 27 medals — eight gold, seven silver and 12 bronze — from nine sports.

Targeted or projected number of medals won
2010: Between 30 and 33 medals.
2006: Six gold medals.

Medal standings
2010: 16th ranked by number of gold medals and 15th by total number of medals.
2006: 12th ranked by number of gold medals and 14th by total number of medals.

Size of contingent
2010: 240 athletes.
2006: 134 athletes.

Number of sports competed in
2010: 22, including five team sports.
2006: 16.

If winning medals is the criterion, the results speak for themselves.

Singapore Sports Council stated the obvious in September 2010 — our athletes should start competing to win.  In order to do that, athletes selected for international events should be of sufficient calibre; that is, they should be capable of winning, or (if we are in a more generous mood) at least almost winning.

Singapore National Olympic Council requires that national sports associations select athletes who had achieved at least sixth placing e.g. time/distance/score/mark at the 2006 Asian Games and teams which are ranked at least sixth among the Asian Games countries, in each case within a twelve-month period before the 2010 Asian Games.

If our athletes and teams met the selection criteria, what happened at Guangzhou?  Could it be that many  of the sixth placed times/distances/scores/marks four years ago are not good enough four years later when overall standards have improved?

How should our athletes and teams be selected for the 2012 Olympic Games?

Beyond selection criteria, what else needs to be done?

If winning medals is not the criterion, as some say, then what is?  It is not about setting national records or personal bests.  It is not about gaining exposure or experience; if it is, what is the exposure or experience gained at the 2010 Asian Games in preparation for — the Olympic Games, the next Asian Games or the South-East Asian Games?

Why should we care?  Because Team Singapore is funded, even if partially, by government grants.

This is an update of the post that was first published on 27 November 2010.

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