SINGAPORE – As Singapore sports head into a new year with the Olympics on the horizon, Sport Singapore (SportSG) chief executive Alan Goh wants local athletes to be “ruthless” and “hungrier” in their pursuit of success.
In a wide-ranging interview on The Straits Times’ Hard Tackle podcast published on Jan 24, Goh, who was alongside Singapore Sport Institute (SSI) chief Su Chun Wei, said the Republic must build on last October’s Asian Games in Hangzhou where Singapore’s athletes claimed three gold, six silver and seven bronze medals.
Despite that tally being the country’s worst-ever haul of golds and overall medals this millennium, Su at the post-Games conference had hailed the outing as a successful one with “significant wins” for the contingent.
Asked during the podcast whether there is a need to be more ruthless in their assessment, Goh said: “We don’t want to just be comfortable with that performance in Hangzhou. But we say successful contextually because we see the trajectory and potential of where we can go.
“But yes, I agree with you, we should be ruthless about it. We should not be satisfied. And that’s not the attitude and posture we want Team Singapore to have coming out of Hangzhou, we want them to be hungrier.”
He highlighted how swimmer Letitia Sim, 20, exemplified that ruthless approach. Sim missed out on an Asiad medal three times in China but managed to pick herself up.
At the Japan Open in November, she became Singapore’s first female swimmer to meet the qualifying time for the Paris Olympics in the 100m breaststroke while also setting a new national record.
Su maintained that it had been a successful Asiad while urging athletes and coaches to “learn from the experience” and “be ruthless about getting the medal”.
Among Singapore’s standout stars for the July 26-Aug 11 Olympics are sprint queen Shanti Pereira and kitefoiling world champion Maximilian Maeder.
Goh described the latter, who is only 17, as “very intelligent, very mature and level-headed”, and said the young sailor is being supported by SSI and SportSG even as he trains abroad.
He added: “Because of the nature of sailing, his best training areas are not in Singapore. So SSI and SportSG have to make sure that wherever he is, we give him the best support.
“I do have direct conversations with him, his parents, and there’s a two-way feedback between his family and us. The key is to keep him focused on Paris 2024.
“We have fingers crossed. He is the world champion but at same time, we don’t put undue pressure on him. But we are quietly confident that he will stay focused and fly our flag high in Paris.”