WEEKLY ROUND-UP: Sports happenings in Singapore (24-30 Oct)

(From left) Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew in action at the French Open, and Albirex Niigata's Kodai Tanaka celebrates scoring in the Singapore Cup. (PHOTOS: Getty Images/Singapore Premier League)
(From left) Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew in action at the French Open, and Albirex Niigata's Kodai Tanaka celebrates scoring in the Singapore Cup. (PHOTOS: Getty Images/Singapore Premier League)

SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (24 to 30 October):

Loh Kean Yew loses to Viktor Axelsen in rematch

A week after stunning the world No.1 Viktor Axelsen at the Denmark Open, Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew faced the Dane again in the French Open quarter-finals and was unable to repeat his victory, losing 11-21, 17-21 to Axelsen in 45 minutes on Friday (28 October).

The world No.5 had reached his second successive quarter-final on the BWF World Tour circuit, after beating the Netherlands' Mark Caljouw 21-14, 21-17 in the opening round on Tuesday, and then defeating Japan's Kanta Tsuneyama 21-14, 21-11 in the last 16 on Thursday.

Loh remains one spot off qualifying for the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals, which will be held in Guangzhou in December. Only the top eight shuttlers for the season qualify for the event.

Albirex Niigata kick off Singapore Cup campaign with 4-0 win

Newly-crowned Singapore Premier League champions Albirex Niigata (Singapore) began their Singapore Cup campaign with a 4-0 rout of the Young Lions at Jurong East Stadium on Thursday (27 October), thanks to goals from Kodai Tanaka (5th, 36th minutes), Masaya Idetsu (21st) and Masahiro Sugita (74th).

In the other Group A match, Lion City Sailors led thrice but were pegged back in a 3-3 draw with Balestier Khalsa at Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday. Goals from Faris Ramli (14th) and Maxime Lestienne (47th, 57th) put the Sailors in front, but Balestier replied through Kuraba Kondo (22nd, 55th) and Shuhei Hoshino (66th).

On Friday, defending champions Tampines Rovers needed a stoppage-time winner to edge out Geylang International 3-2 at Our Tampines Hub. The Stags scored through an own goal by Faizal Roslan (3rd), as well as goals from Boris Kopitovic (43rd) and Kyoga Nakamura (91st), while Geylang scored through Sime Zuzul (68th) and Khairul Hairie Abdul Hamid (88th).

In the other Group B match, Tanjong Pagar United defeated Hougang United 3-1 at Jurong East Stadium on Friday, with goals from Blake Ricciuto (45th) and Reo Nishiguchi (69th, 71st). Sahil Suhaimi (17th) scored for Hougang.

Kickboxer Nazri Sutari wins first WAKO ring-sport medal

Singaporean kickboxer Nazri Sutari won his first World Association of Kickboxing Organisations (WAKO) ring-sport medal at the Balkan Open in Tesanj, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 23 October.

The 32-year-old also became the first South-east Asian male athlete to earn a ring-sport medal in a WAKO International Kickboxing Cup series, when he finished third in the men’s 71kg low kick category.

Nazri defeated Albania’s Lekaj Rikard in the quarter-finals, but lost to home favourite Ilija Ilic in the semi-finals. Over 440 competitors from 16 countries took part in the Balkan Open.

Slingers among 8 teams in resumption of Asean Basketball League

The Singapore Slingers will finally be in action in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) after a three-year hiatus, with the league set to begin from 2 January next year.

The ABL had been suspended since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but will return in a new format, with four rolling tournaments leading up to best-of-three semi-finals and finals. The season will tip off with the Singapore leg on 2 January, and end with the finals in March.

The 2023 ABL edition is expected to feature eight teams, who will be unveiled along with the other venues after clearance from the authorities.

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