Cambodia 2023: Men's volleyball team continues to mature with every opportunity
Singapore’s men’s indoor volleyball team gave a good account of themselves at the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia, improving on their previous result of 7th at the 2019 Games in the Philippines, finishing in 6th place this edition.
And it could have been better had they not lost to the Philippines 3-1 in their final classification match, a team they had beaten 3-0 in the Group stage.
Celebrating a hard-earned point, the young team continues to grow. Photo: SNOC/Eng Chin An
Made up mostly of junior college and university students as well as national servicemen, the players has had to face many challenges on the road to Phnom Penh.
“It has been challenging getting the players to commit to training," says Team Manager Lua Hui Chun.
“We also struggled with regular strength and conditioning preparation which was better when carding support kicked in after being selected for SEA Games."
"Otherwise, in the Singapore way, we did our best getting ready while juggling school work, work commitments (as some of the boys work after school), limited resources, etc."
Rising to the occasion, matching strengths against the much-vaunted Indonesians. Photo: SNOC/Eng Chin An
“We have seen continual improvement from the boys, given Volleyball isn’t part of the mainstream sports. At this SEA Games, we have the youngest average age among the 8 teams in the competition. And with the 2019 and 2023 campaigns under their belt, we see them full of potential and there is a long runway for improvement for this team.
“The challenge for us is how to retain them when they graduate from University and/or transition into the next phase of their life.”
In Cambodia, the team started with a 3-0 loss to the host nation, before losing to Indonesia by the same margin.
Said Lua: “There was some jitters playing the first game against the host in front of a full stadium but the boys recovered and did well in sets 2 and 3.
The team fought the odds to earn their place in Cambodia. Photo: SNOC/Eng Chin An
“Looking back, we went up first against the eventual finalists as both Indonesia and Cambodia went through to the gold medal match.
“I think we were competitive against them although the team went down 0-3. The boys were determined to live up to our association’s Secretary-General's challenge to them to show that we are not pushovers and that was exactly what the boys did later against Philippines and Myanmar.”
The team then beat the Philippines 3-0 to wrap up the Group Stage and enter the classification round where they trounced Myanmar 3-0 to reach the match to determine 5th and 6th placings. Meeting the Philippines for a second time, the tired team fell 3-1.
“Losing the final match was regrettable but overall it was a resounding good performance from the boys. We had a close affair against the Philippines in the group stage despite the scoreline, and the boys were also fatigued after several days of intense games.
The team will continue to stay ready for their next assignment. Photo: SNOC/Eng Chin An
“In closing, we need to continue working on our strength and of course continue to develop technically.
“The team will take a break after SEA Games and focus on their personal commitments which they have put aside due to the Games. After that, we will regroup and start our preparation for 2025!”
The 32nd SEA Games are held in Cambodia from 5 to 17 May 2023. For the latest Team Singapore coverage and news, follow Team Singapore on their social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok) or visit the official Team Singapore website.