Story and Photos by Stefanus Ian/Red Sports
Yio Chu Kang Swimming Complex, Saturday, August 5, 2017 — Despite the scorching sun and humidity, the Singapore Youth Olympics Festival (SYOF) volleyball competitors were all saying that they wished the competition could have stretched out longer.
Sean Yeo, who played in the eventual champion team called STAN, said he enjoyed the tournament.
STAN won all of their three matches to emerge top of the group without dropping a single set. But the 18-year-old said he wished the organisers could have included more categories to encourage more teams to join.
There are two categories in the SYOF tournament, the 4-on-4 Under-19 Boys’ tournament and the 4-on-4 Under-19 Girls’ tournament. But Sean thinks more categories should be introduced.
“Other than 4v4 they should also implement a (competition for) 2v2 so that more teams will be more motivated and more encouraged to join the game,” he said.
“Because 4v4 is very in between and many teams will be more reluctant (to join).”
Yeo, who also plays indoor volleyball for his school, said he picked up beach volleyball after his friends invited him to play the sport. While Sean plays indoor volleyball for his school, he said he prefers beach volleyball more despite the humid and scorching conditions that the sport entails.
While Sean noted that the different terrain makes for harder movement and jumping, he said beach volleyball lets each player have more involvement in the rallies.
“You get to touch the ball more often. For every rally, you would touch the ball at least once,” he said.
In the 4-on-4 Under-19 Girls’ tournament, Cheryl Kwok of Altair won the gold medal with three victories and one walkover. Cheryl, who plays beach volleyball regularly with her friends at the same venue, said her team did not expect to win the tournament.
“Honestly, we came in just wanting to have fun. We didn’t think that we will win because we knew that the national team would be here. Then it turns out we won,” said the 16-year-old, adding that the volleyball national team came late and her team ended up getting a walkover.
Similar to Sean, Cheryl picked up beach volleyball after her friends kept asking her to join their weekly sessions.
“Every Sunday, our friends keep asking us to come and play so I think that’s how we got the interest in playing (beach volleyball) because we can get together and we don’t need to play for our teams and can just play among ourselves,” she said.
Cheryl said she is looking forward to more beach volleyball tournaments in Singapore and hopes to join the SYOF competition again should it happen next year.
Started in 2011, the Singapore Youth Olympic Festival serves as a continuation of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games that was held in Singapore in 2010. This year’s festival is the seventh edition and will feature 12 sports – badminton, 3×3 and 5×5 basketball, cycling, fencing, football 5s, rugby 7s, sailing, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo and beach and indoor volleyball.
More photos next page