Cambodia 2023: Women’s floorball triumphs for third gold in a row
Singapore's women's floorball team have now won the SEA Games title for a third time in as many editions. Photo: SportSG/Alfie Lee
By May Chen
If there was any doubt about Singapore’s stronghold on women’s floorball at the SEA Games, those questions were answered with a resounding victory on Tuesday (16 May).
Team Singapore posted a 4-2 win over Thailand in the final at the Dinosaur Park Hall in Phnom Penh, securing their third straight gold at the biennial event.
While Singapore were the perennial favourites going into the tournament, their journey to the top of the podium included a blip against Thailand in the group stage.
In that match on Monday, Singapore were beaten 3-1 – the only goal the team had conceded up to that point. It came after they swept aside other teams with huge margins, including a 16-0 rout over Cambodia and a 13-0 win over Malaysia.
But with the weight of gold on their shoulders, the women’s team put up a steely display to finish on a high.
Michelle Lok (left) and Ong Swee Ling in action against Thailand during the final on Tuesday in Phnom Penh. Photo: SportSG/Flona Hakim
Said Michelle Lok, who found the net first 10 minutes into the opening period: “Honestly, there was no pressure at all (having lost to Thailand the day before). We had some players down yesterday and we weren’t at full strength.
“I was confident in my team. I knew the goals were going to come, and we just needed to stick to the game plan and slowly build up our pace.”
Singapore were champions at the 2015 and 2019 SEA Games, when the sport last featured. Putting aside the fact that Singapore are two-time defending champions was key.
Said Lok: “It didn’t go through my head that we have to continue being champions. I just focus on the present, take it one period at a time. Just focus on the present and deliver.”
With several younger players part of this set-up, the win is a nod to the squad’s growing depth, and a sign of things to come with the Women’s World Floorball Championship taking place in Singapore at the end of this year.
The win is a boost for the women's team, ahead of the world championship Singapore will host in December. Photo: SportSG/Alfie Lee
For seasoned members like Lok, who was a part of the 2019 team, it also means taking on a leadership role and guiding younger teammates.
She said: “I just tell the younger players not to be afraid, and to always leave the court with no regrets. It’s okay to make mistakes, really. We have each other’s backs at the end of the day. We’ll get goals back even if we concede.”
In the men’s event, Singapore beat Malaysia 3-1 in the bronze play-off to take third place on the podium.
In the men's event, Singapore took a bronze after a 3-1 victory over Malaysia in the third-place match. Photo: SportSG/Alfie Lee
The men’s team suffered narrow defeats against Thailand and the Philippines in the group matches, losing 3-4 and 1-2 respectively.
Said Cheang Jia Qing, who lauded his teammates for their grit in tough matches: “It’s still a very positive experience. It’s not about the destination. We should focus more on the process.
“The camaraderie and friendships on this team could be lifelong. It showed when we were down against Thailand and the Philippines and against tougher opponents. We don’t give up on one another. We still believed in one another. That’s testament to the trust and bonds we have with one another.
“We need to celebrate the little wins and be able to understand that the process of getting where we want to be is not about the result. It’s more about how we manage to get there.”
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.