Thursday, December 20, 2007

SEA Games Results

The SEA games ended last Saturday 15 Dec 07 with Singapore at the 6th position, clinching a total gold medal tally of 43.

Our result at the SEA games was neither impressing nor poor. It was mediocre and to a certain extent fell short of expectation. We had a patchy performance with excellent results in some sports and under-performance in traditional strong arenas.

It led some Singaporeans to wonder whether the heavy investments in our sports and our athletes were worthwhile? Consider countries like Thailand, which did not have such a heavy investment in their athletes nor handsome rewards for them as Singapore, and yet these countries produced sterling results at the SEA games.

To me, talent is both nature and nurture.

One may argue that Thailand is a much larger country than Singapore. In a bigger country, the number and quality of the talent pool may be definitely much greater than that of a small country like Singapore. With sufficient training given to its athletes, it is not hard for these large countries to excel in sports.

In Singapore, it may be harder to find natural born sports talents among the smaller pool that we have. With this constraint, our strategy in developing local sport talents is to develop our local athletes. These strategies pay off as we witness our local sportsmen in the top of the leagues in sports like water polo and bowling at the SEA games.

Singapore has also imported foreign talents to our national sports team and developed them. Many of these talents borned in countries like China and Indonesia eventually become Singaporeans and represent Singapore in regional and international games. It may be indeed difficult for many Singaporeans to dismiss the fact that these foreign talents are not born in Singapore and some controversies inevitably sparked over their nationalities whenever they clinched the titles for Singapore.

Singaporeans who could not get over the nationality tag of these foreign talents shall understand the attraction and development of talent in sports is akin to that in other arenas. Work teams today are made up of diverse groups of people with different nationalities, so is with sports. Soccer teams playing in the famous leagues and world cups also bore testimony to this fact.

On the other hand, large countries which may have a larger pool of talents may not certainly excel in sports if they do not develop their athletes. Consider Laos, a country of significant land mass and population. Mired in economic difficulty, it is hard for Laos to grow and develop its economy, let alone develop its local sports talent.

To summarize, to excel in regional and international sports, nature, nurture and sourcing of talents are critical. On hindsight, considering the small population of Singapore, its results at the recent SEA games may still be encouraging.

No comments :

Total Pageviews