SINGAPORE: The world’s best women’s soccer team practices in the middle school building on a cool Wednesday night.
30 minutes before the start of rehearsal, voice chatter echoes on the wall. Lace up your court shoes, put on your knee guards, and warm up.
Considering there are only two free training venues across the island, court time is limited and precious. Every minute counts.
Team captain Irene Tan told CNA, “The players know that they have to perform at their best every time they step on the court.” So we have to schedule at different times.”
But this is nothing new. This is a team, a sport that is used to making the most of what they have.
“Heart and passion are very important,” said Tan’s teammate Angie Ng. “My scarce resources have made me not take things for granted. I value every chance I am given.”
Their coaches are volunteers, athletes pay for their own jerseys and the cost of playing in tournaments abroad, and association members fork their own money to cover costs.
Sponsorships help keep things going. Some take on occasional coaching gigs to raise money, or repair equipment in their spare time.
Run by volunteers, the Tchoukball Association of Singapore (TAS) is not a national sports association. We have not received any funding from the government.
But on January 1, the women’s national team topped the world rankings for the first time after pushing Chinese Taipei to the top of the International Chuukball Federation’s world rankings. Switzerland is currently in third place.
Following the match against Chinese Taipei at the 9th Asia Pacific Truc Ball Championship in August last year.
“After last year’s victory, the team worked hard and always kept their guard up,” Tan said. “I still can’t believe it (to be number one)”
Its male counterpart ranks third in the world after Chinese Taipei and Italy.
“The secret ingredient is our passion for the sport,” Tan said. .
“We have developed a mindset of working with what we have and finding other resources within our means to make things work.”