Monthly Archives: April 2012

My deepest condolences to Dominique Sarron Lee’s family

The report:

This appeared in the newspapers today:

NSman and former Sports School sprinter dies after training exercise
(TODAY, 18 April 2012)

SINGAPORE – A full-time National Serviceman died yesterday after experiencing breathing difficulties during training.

Private Lee Rui Feng Dominique Sarron (picture), 21, a former sprinter at the Singapore Sports School, was participating in a platoon exercise at the Murai Urban Training Facility in Lim Chu Kang.

TODAY understands that the incident happened after he took part in a training activity which involved smoke grenades.

Lee’s parents, Mr Matthew and Mrs Felicia Lee, were distraught. Mr Lee told Today: “This has all come as a sudden shock to us. He was healthy … and we only know that he got into trouble after inhaling smoke during training and we are still trying to come to terms that he is no longer with us.”

According to the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), Lee experienced breathing difficulties at 12.30pm. Three minutes later, he lost consciousness. A Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) medic attended to him immediately.

At 12.46pm, he was evacuated via a safety vehicle to Sungei Gedong Medical Centre, where an SAF doctor attended to him at 12.52pm.

At 1.03pm, he was conveyed in an ambulance to the National University Hospital (NUH), with an SAF doctor continuing to resuscitate him en route to the hospital.

Lee arrived at the NUH at 1.22pm. He was pronounced dead at 2.05pm.

In a statement, MINDEF said: “The Ministry of Defence and the SAF extend our deepest condolences to the family of the late Private Lee. MINDEF is assisting the family in their time of grief and is investigating the incident.”

Lee, who celebrated his birthday last week, won a silver medal at the 8th Thailand Inter Sports School Games in 2005.

Last night, his Facebook page was filled with hundreds of tribute messages from friends who remembered him as an active and cheerful person.

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My thoughts:

I write this with a heavy heart.

Former Singapore Sports School student and sprinter Dominique Sarron Lee died yesterday during national service training. He was 21, having celebrated his 21st birthday just last Wednesday (April 11).

Dominique was part of the pioneer batch of 100-odd students who joined the Sports School when it opened its doors in 2004. A former student of Griffin Primary, I remember being told by my Sports School contacts how excited they were at his potential talent and his strapping build.

He was the fastest student from Griffin, and there had been among the Sports School coaches and administrators that he would go on to become a fine national sprinter.

But Dominique eventually found that there was a limit to his sprinting talent, and he did find himself being  overtaken by other sprinters like Calvin Kang and Yusof Azhari. According to his friends, his asthma also played a part in limiting his development.

Still, he  remained an important member of the school’s 4x100m and 4x400m relay squads.

He then went on to Temasek Polytechnic where he not only became a member of the polytechnic’s athletics team but also showed a huge talent for music, and for playing the guitar. He apparently turned out to be a pretty decent footballer too, and even became the goalkeeper for S-League club Geylang United’s Under-18 team.

Judging from the messages that Dominique’s friends have left on his Facebook page (search Dominique Lee Sarron), and on Twitter (#superflydom and #ripdom), it is clear that this young man was very much a treasured friend, who touched many people with his outgoing personality, big heart and character.

My deepest, deepest condolences to Dominique’s family for their loss. I can only hope that time will heal the pain and heartbreak they must be feeling. As a parent myself, I can understand the grief they must be experiencing. It is not right that parents have to see off their children.

Rest in peace, Dominique.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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National Schools Track and Field C’ships – Donovan and Eugenia light up an otherwise gloomy day at the track

Heartiest congratulations to Donovan Chan of Hwa Chong Institution and Eugenia Tan of Singapore Sports School for emerging the sprint king and queen of this year’s National Schools Track and Field Championships.

The two students were the only ones to complete a Double-Double at this year’s meet. They not only won the 100m and 200m in their respective divisions, but also set new records in both events in the process.

There was never a doubt that Eugenia was going to win today’s B Girls 100m final after she had set a new championship record in the blue ribbon event during the heats.

The absence of arch-rival, schoolmate and good friend Shanti Pereira – who withdrew from both the 100m and 200m possibly because of injury – merely meant that a win for Eugenia would be inevitable.

And the 16-year-ols Secondary Four student delivered. In a class of her own, she romped to an easy win in 12.69sec.

Indeed, the close fight took place in the battle for second and third instead. Katong Convent’s Jannah Wong – who set a new B Girls record in the 100m hurdles last week – took the silver in 13.10sec when she pipped Sheryl Tey from Nanyang Girls (13.16sec).

Donovan ended his campaign in this year’s meet even more stylishly – by setting the only record of the day when he blitzed past everyone else to take the A Boys 100m title.

He clocked a very impressive 10.70sec, eclipsing the 10.80sec record set by former national sprinter Poh Seng Song back in 2001 when he was still an Anglo-Chinese Junior College student.

Hwa Chong made it a double in the event when Tan Zong Yang took silver in a very commendable time of 10.92sec. Ezra Toh of Raffles Institution was third in 11.14sec.

So, well done to both Donovan and Eugenia for being the main highlights on an otherwise gloomy afternoon at CCK Stadium.

It was such a pity that it had to rain so heavily today.

Not only did the lightning and thunderstorm cause the programme to be halted for three hours, it also subsequently caused almost everyone to err on the side of caution on the wet track when their races came up.

As a result, many poor times were clocked.

Congratulations too to Hwa Chong for sweeping the Boys A, B and C Division titles.

There was more variety in the title races in the Girls Divisions.

Raffles Institution won the A title, while Cedar Girls took the B crown. Nanyang Girls High were crowned C Division champions.

Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan

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Wang Yuegu is now Singapore’s No. 1 paddler – and deservedly so

The report:

This report appeared in today’s edition of The Straits Times:

Feng’s ranking drops; Wang now tops here

(The Straits Times, 06 April 2012)

SINGAPORE suffered a blow when the latest table tennis world rankings were released yesterday.

Feng Tianwei, 25, has slipped from being the fifth-ranked woman player in the world to No. 9, a result that almost certainly means that the Republic is no longer the No. 2 team in the world.

‘I was expecting my ranking to drop because of my losses at the World Team Championships, but I didn’t think it would be this much,’ she said yesterday.

She suffered four losses in Dortmund, Germany, late last month.

Wang Yuegu, now the highest-ranked Singaporean at No. 7, and Li Jiawei (No. 14) both rose a rung each, but Feng’s slip could have greater repercussions.

Singapore is likely to be overtaken by Japan for the No. 2 spot. This, despite the team clawing their way to a silver in Dortmund. Japan, the third seeds there, finished fifth.

A country’s team ranking is a good indicator of its Olympic seeding, which is based on the rankings of the three players who qualified for the Games, and their head-to-head records with the other qualifiers.

It is important for Singapore to be seeded second at the Olympics because it would mean avoiding favourites China until the team final.

But with just three months to go before the draw for the London Games is expected, a rankings slip could hit Singapore’s chances of retaining its women’s team silver.

The world team rankings were been released yesterday.

Feng and Co are now in a race to chalk up ranking points over the six International Table Tennis Federation Pro Tour events before the Olympics.

But the national captain remains confident of climbing back up the rungs, saying: ‘Rankings go up and down all the time. There is still time between now and the Olympics, and I will do everything I can to climb back up.

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My thoughts:

Although Feng Tianwei’s drop in the world rankings means possible trouble for Singapore as they seek to cling on to their silver medal at this July’s London Olympics, I can’t help but feel that Wang Yuegu’s elevation to to the status of top Singapore player is well-deserved.

Wang was undoubtedly Singapore’s top performer at the recent World Table Tennis Team Championships. After all, she was the one who saved the Republic twice from near-certain defeat by winning the all-important rubber matches against Germany in the quarter-finals, and against South Korea in the semis.

I also couldn’t help feeling a little proud as I read about how she, enraged by some of the officials’ decisions against her in the early stages of the tournament,  decided to let fly at them, and question their competence and professionalism.

Here’s one of her best quotes after one such incident:

“I don’t need to respect officials who have these kinds of standards. I want to tell European umpires: I’m not afraid of offending you – worse come to worst, I just won’t play.  I just hope that they improve their standards, and don’t keep thinking that they are superior.”

You see what I mean? It was really jaw-dropping stuff from Wang.

I remember subsequently reading with relish the daily reports of her verbal spats with the ITTF’s European  officials and umpires, and thinking that this was such a refreshing change from the vanilla image that the women’s table tennis team has always projected – one that, perhaps, is due to the tightly-controlled, well-crafted, well-rehearsed, and ultimately very ‘unhappening’  responses that they always seem to have for the media.

I don’t know why Wang is suddenly appearing to be so feisty. Maybe she has always been so, but we have not been made aware of it.

Or maybe it is because she is now happily married, is well aware that she is entering the twilight of her playing career, and as such, does not feel the need to show the same sort of restraint as her younger teammates.

Whatever the reason, she was a joy to watch, and read about at the World Championships.

Truly, she was the epitome of fighting spirit in the Singapore team, and this was one of the very few times that I actually felt a sense of pride as I watched a naturalised citizen in national colours.

And it is about time Wang became Singapore’s No. 1 too.

After all, she has always been playing the supporting role of the lowly bridesmaid to Li Jiawei and then to Feng, who have always been portrayed as the stars of the women’s squad.

I am sure Wang’s new ranking will not change things in the team. She is unlikely to be regarded as the team’s new leader. But at least she can still quietly savour her achievement.  And at least, her long-time, as well as new-found, supporters (like me) can also rejoice with her from afar.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

P/S: By the way, Wang has a fanpage on Facebook. You can check it out at  https://www.facebook.com/wangygfc

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