Press Release for SEA Games 2017 – Tan Yi Ru (National Hockey Team)
30 Aug 2017
Kuala Lumpur – After days of intense competition and hard-fought matches in the group stage, the 29th SEA Games Hockey Competition for Team SG drew to a close on 29 Aug 2017. In a tightly contested bronze medal showdown, Singapore Hockey Men’s team overcame Thailand to emerge victorious with a score of 2-1.
Just 2 days earlier, these two teams had met in the group stage. Then, Singapore had led by 3 goals through most of the match before Thailand came fighting back with 2 quick goals. That match also ended narrowly 3-2 in Singapore’s favour. However, due to goal difference disadvantage, Singapore eventually missed out to Myanmar on qualifying for the gold medal match.
ONEathlete and veteran TeamSG hockey player Tan Yi Ru knew today’s bronze medal match would be as much a mental and tactical challenge. Unknown to others, memories of the earlier nail-biting finish against Thailand had affected some of the players’ preparation for today’s match against the same opponents.
However, being one of the more experienced players on the Singapore squad, Yi Ru stepped up to the plate and played a vital role in holding the backline defence to deprive Thailand opportunities to capitalise on, especially on the counter-attack. The team also reviewed their earlier matches and tightened their gameplay by focusing on greater consistency and reducing unnecessary mistakes. Such as, the ones that landed them slightly behind Myanmar (through match points), who fought hard against Malaysia in the finals and lost 14-0. Malaysia has held the Gold medal for every SEA Games, except in 1974.
Winning the SEA Games Bronze medal today was a bittersweet moment for Yi Ru, who still remembers the loss in the finals against Malaysia in 2013 and 2015. While there were several young players on this year’s team, the more experienced players like the team captain, Enrico (below photo, right), Ashriq, and Yi Ru lent their weight in providing support, advice and guidance.
“I’m very proud of my team, some of whom I have had the honour of knowing and training alongside for years. Our humbling defeat in the finals at the 2015 SEA Games had played a big role in giving us the strength to persevere today, especially during that tightly contested last quarter bronze medal match, today. Much as we had hoped to better our results from the previous SEA Games, we have given it our best shot although there is definitely room for improvement. Kudos to our opponent, the Thailand team, who had fought equally hard and showed great sportsmanship.”
Recalling his prep for the SEA Games, Yi Ru was also very heartened by the extent of support and cheering from the local crowd and Singaporean supporters. On top of that, Yi Ru is also very thankful to the invaluable and reassuring presence and encouragement from his family, friends and his fiancee. While hockey is a competitive sports, sometimes people tend to get engrossed in the win-lose aspect of the game and forget the celebration of common triumph, camaraderie and sportsmanship.
The team returned soon after to Singapore on Wednesday at 6pm. Amongst Yi Ru’s priorities after returning to Singapore will be the preparations for his wedding later this year, as well as taking some well-deserved rest off to reconnect with loved ones. He will also be diverting some attention to his coaching duties in their lead-up to the upcoming floorball competitions.
Photo credits: Team photos by Hafiz Rased. Rest by ONEathlete.
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