By Gabriel Huang/Wrestling Federation of Singapore
Yangon, Myanmar, Thein Phyu Sports Complex, April 5-7, 2013 — Wrestling Team Singapore fielded a contingent of 14 members for the 2013 Pre-SEA Games, winning three gold, one silver and five bronze medals. The team included one team manager, two coaches, and 11 athletes. No female wrestlers were sent.
The wrestling matches began on Saturday, April 6, 2013. After a long day of competition, Singapore athletes Arvind Lalwani Doulatram won his 120-kilogram men’s freestyle category and Leonard Arthur Kong Pin Cheong won his 96kg Men’s freestyle category, garnering two gold medals for Singapore. Singapore athlete Sean Lee Zong Zheng won a bronze medal in his 74kg men’s freestyle event.
On Sunday, April 7, Singapore athlete Leonard Kong once again dominated his opponents in the 96kg Greco Roman category, contributing to the gold tally count for Singapore. His compatriot, Arvind Doulatram, was doing well but lost due to his inexperience in the category as it was the first time Singapore were participating in a Greco Roman event. He did well in other matches and managed to achieve a silver medal for Singapore in the 120kg Greco Roman event.
Despite his inexperience and hasty decision in deciding to participate in the 66kg Greco Roman event the evening before, Singapore athlete Toh Xin Ran did a commendable job in the event to win a bronze medal for Singapore.
In the other men’s freestyle events also on April 7, national 55kg athletes Gabriel Huang Jun En and Eddy Khidzer were both pitted against very experienced and well-regarded wrestlers from other countries. In that tough group, they both managed third placings, contributing two more bronze medals for Team Singapore.
In addition, national athlete Aaron Koh Sheng Min competed in the 60kg category where he was grouped with top wrestlers from the other countries. Fighting hard against the top wrestlers in South-East Asia in his category, he achieved another bronze medal for Singapore.
It can be seen that the Singaporean athletes lacked boundary game play skills which opponents capitalised on. This is probably due to the cramped training space at the national athletes training ground, WFS (Wrestling Federation of Singapore) HQ which does not even allow for a full-sized wrestling mat and so their mat boundary tactical strategies and technical skills were not developed.