Friday, July 9, 2010

Lim quits Singapore, back with Malaysia

The announcement came on July 2: The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) had overturned their original decision, allowing the Republic's hockey men to play at the Guangzhou Asian Games from Nov 12 to 27.
But even before the news had filtered through and celebrations could begin, the Singapore team had already taken a hit: Lim Chiow Chuan, the coach who guided the men to second spot in the seven-team Asian Games qualifiers in Dhaka from May 7 to 16, had already submitted his resignation just days before the SNOC declaration.
Lim was distraught when, on May 31, SNOC denied hockey a spot at the Games despite the team having qualified on merit - the snub being the last straw for the Malaysian.
"Even before the qualifiers, I was contemplating leaving but was certain I would only leave after the Asian Games, if we qualified.
"But when the SNOC decided not to send us to the Asian Games, I knew I had to move on and I wasn't going to change my mind even after they changed theirs," he told MediaCorp yesterday.
Lim has already accepted an offer from Malaysia but declined to furnish details due to confidentiality issues. His new employers will announce his appointment next month.
The Singapore Hockey Federation (SHF) will appoint an interim coach to ensure the men's team continues to training in the run up to the Games, while sourcing for a full-time coach.
"The most satisfying thing in my four years here is seeing the players improve. We were pretty good at the Men's Junior World Cup last year, turning in very consistent performances," he said, adding that a silver-medal showing at last year's SEA Cup and the Asian Games qualifiers were some of his major achievements.
After hearing of Lim's impending departure, some players in the Games squad had contemplated quitting the sport but Lim is adamant they stick with the team.
"The boys must not stop playing, it would be very silly. The Asian Games are a big competition and they have to play for themselves and their country," said the 44-year-old Olympian.
The squad have not trained since their return from the Dhaka qualifiers and their 3-1 defeat to Sri Lanka was Lim's last game in charge. He will head to Kuala Lumpur for the Asean Schools competition on Monday with Singapore's under-18 side.
Said Lim: "My wish for Singapore hockey is that they get more funding and that hockey players carry on in the sport."
Lim joined the SHF on Sept 1, 2006, and he will relinquish his role on Aug 31 this year after serving out a two-month notice, four years to the day he was installed as head coach.
Today online

No Pain for Spain, says Paul...

OBERHAUSEN, Germany, July 9, 2010 (AFP) - Let the fiesta begin. Spain will win the football World Cup for the first time in their history on Sunday, according to Paul, the “psychic” octopus with a perfect prediction record.
The eight-legged oracle, who has become a World Cup sensation by correctly predicting all six Germany games, very quickly plumped for Spain on Friday carried live on national German television.
Earlier, the two-year-old mollusc medium also said that Germany, his country of residence, would defeat Uruguay in the third-place play-off game on Saturday.
In the now familiar routine, two boxes were lowered into his tank, each containing a mussel and the flags of the two opposing teams.
The tentacled tipster went straight to the Spanish box, wrenched open the lid and gobbled the tasty morsel.
But the art of football predicting has become a dangerous job for the English-born clairvoyant cephalopod with some bitter German fans threatening to turn him into sushi after he predicted a semi-final defeat for the Mannschaft.
Paul’s home, an aquarium in western Germany, has received death-threat emails saying “we want Paul for the pan,” said entertainment supervisor Daniel Fey.
“Since yesterday our colleagues have kept a very close eye on Paul,” Fey added.
No less an authority than Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero has called for octopus bodyguards.
“I am concerned for the octopus ... I am thinking of sending him a protective team,” joked Zapatero on Radio Cadena Ser.
Spanish Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian has called for the creature to be given an “immediate” free transfer to Spain to “ensure his protection.” Stung by Paul’s “treachery” at picking Spain over Germany in the semi-final, some sections of the 350,000-strong crowd watching the game on giant screens in Berlin sang anti-octopus songs.
The honour of Paul’s mother was called into question, according to witnesses.
Friday’s prediction is expected to be the last for Paul, who in octopus terms is a pensioner, at the grand old age of two-and-a-half. Octopuses generally live three years at the latest.

Germany will beat Uruguay, says Paul..

BERLIN (AP) — Octopus oracle Paul is predicting Germany will win over Uruguay at the World Cup in the fight for third place.
Paul’s pick was carried live Friday on TV stations around Europe. The world-famous octopus could be seen choosing a mussel from a glass tank marked with a German flag, after sitting on the Uruguayan tank for a few minutes — indicating a German victory in Saturday’s fight for places three and four in the World Cup.
Since predicting Spain’s victory over Germany, the mollusk has become less popular at home, while Spaniards have offered their newfound mascot protection.
Paul correctly predicted Germany’s wins over Argentina, England, Australia and Ghana and the country’s loss to Serbia.
He picks the Spain-Netherlands final later in the day.

Project 2013 better in defeat

PROJECT 2013 lost to Spain Under-21 3-2 in their second friendly in Barcelona yesterday.
The squad, in Tour of Europe to prepare for the 2013 Junior World Cup, had held the Spaniards 2-2 on Thursday.
However, team manager Mirnawan Nawawi was more impressed with the second friendly, even in defeat.
“The boys have been steadily improving after every match in this Tour, and even though we lost 3-2 to Spain in the second friendly, they played much better than the 2-2 draw on Thursday,” said Mirnawan.
Spain fielded six Singapore-Malaysia Junior World Cup players, while the Malaysian team is made up of raw trainees.
Today, Project 2013 will meet Scotland Under-21: “And I believe if they keep their structure, like they did against Spain, we have a good chance of winning against the Scots.”
The team will play seven more matches before they return on July 22.
Meanwhile the senior squad, who are in China for a Four- Nation, will square off against China in their last pool match today.
They edged Russia 3-2 and beat Pakistan 3-0 earlier, and coach Stephen van Huizen said: “We hope to keep a clean slate and enter the final without dropping any points.”