SINGAPORE: The aim is to join Asia’s big boys, and the hard—fought 7—6 victory over Indonesia to claim the men’s under—23 waterpolo title at the inaugural Southeast Asia (SEA) Swimming Championships at Toa Payoh Swimming Complex on Friday night would have been an extremely valuable lesson for Singapore.
Speaking afterwards, captain Loh Zhi Zhi said the meet had been a good platform to blood youngsters ahead of the waterpolo competition at the 9th Asian Swimming Championships in Dubai from Nov 15—25.
"We’re hoping to finish fourth or fifth (at the Asian Championships) and we want to be as good as countries like Kuwait and South Korea, and try to match up against powerhouses like Japan, China and Kazakhstan," said the 22—year—old.
"This is good exposure for the team as it is their first international competition for many of them."
Loh and centre—back Koh Jian Ying — part of last year’s senior national side which won the gold medal at last November’s SEA Games in Palembang — could be among those picked to join the senior national side for the 9th Asian Swimming Championship.
"The inexperience showed at times, and there were a lot of nerves especially in the first quarter. But we kept at it, and fought hard to secure it," said Loh.
"The standard in South—east Asia is improving and the teams are getting closer.
"It’s a relief to win, especially in front of a home crowd, and there’s a lot of work to be done."
The Singapore women’s team also emerged champions, delivering a 5—3 victory over Indonesia in a repeat of their SEA Games final in Palembang last year. —