These two items appeared in the Sportsworld section of The Straits Times’ sports pages today (27 Oct, 2009):
S’porean slices his way to bronze
TORONTO: Seet Wee Key snagged a bronze medal at the World Wushu Championships on Sunday – Singapore’s first medal at the event since 2005. The 29-year-old teacher from Boon Lay GardenPrimary School came in third out of 29 competitors in the men’s taijijian event at the Ricoh Coliseum. He finished with a score of 9.77, while China’s Huang Yingqi (9.83) won the gold.
Lifter Chua third in C’wealth event
PENANG: Singaporean weightlifter Lewis Chua, 18, claimed the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships last Friday. He lifted a combined total of 220kg in the Junior Men’s 105+kg category.
Heartiest congratulations to Seet Wee Key and Lewis Chua for flying Singapore’s flag high on the international arena in their respective sports.
Unfortunately, the first thing I felt this morning when I read the bits of information about their achievements in The Straits Times was not joy or a sense of pride. Rather, I felt frustrated.
I mean, here we have two Singapore athletes finishing in the top three of two international events, and all they merited from the national paper were a total of 11 lines of text?
And instead of some decent coverage of their achievements, we were treated instead to TWO PAGES of news about the English Premier League.
Oh, for goodness sake!
Some people might say: “But wushu and weightlifting are minor sports in Singapore. Readers in general wouldn’t care about how we do in these two sports. They care more about the EPL.”
My reply is simple: even if wushu and weightlifting are minor sports in the Singapore sports scene, is that a compelling reason to play down these achievements?
Wee Key’s feat was achieved in a world tournament that featured over 1,500 wushu exponents from 85 countries. Lewis’ bronze was won in a Championships that featured over 200 weightlifters from 24 nations.
In other words, Wee Key is the THIRD-BEST taijiqian exponent IN THE WORLD today.
Likewise, Lewis is the THIRD-BEST junior weightlifter in his category at COMMONWEALTH LEVEL.
Aren’t these achievements worth celebrating?
And so what if readers care more about the EPL? Does this mean they always turn to the local newspapers for their EPL fix? In this internet era, I very much doubt so.
Likewise, does this mean that local papers must allow the EPL to dominate their editorial space? I don’t see the logic.
And so a wonderful opportunity to generate greater awareness of two minor sports fighting for their place in the sun has gone to waste. What a shame.
The irony was that the short snippet even described Wee Key’s bronze-medal win as “Singapore’s first medal in this event since 2005.”
Incidentally, didn’t it strike anyone that Lewis’ medal was probably Singapore’s first in a major international weightlifting event for probably two decades?
Well, as I mentioned earlier, it is the era of the internet.
Which means that if you are resourceful enough, you can usually find information on how Singapore athletes fare whenever they compete overseas.
For those of you who are interested in a more detailed report on Lewis’ achievement as well as how his other four national teammates fared at the Commonwealth Championships, please click on this link (it’s the Singapore Weightlifting Federation’s website).
And for those of you who want to keep track of the Republic’s performances at the World Championships, which ends on 29 October, please click here.
And if you want to congratulate Wee Key and Lewis on their achievements, you can always pen them here on this site, and I will compile and forward them to their respective NSAs.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan