SCF expands search for road cycling talent in Singapore

Singapore s national cycling federation is casting a wide net in its quest to grow the base of elite road cycling talent, calling for athletic people of any background to try out for a spot on the nation s elite team.

Image: SINGSOC

It s still early days, but Singapore Cycling Federation s new management committee continues to demonstrate its intent to bulk up the country s amorphous elite road cycling program.

Within weeks of taking office in late 2015, the Jeffrey Goh-led management team followed up on its word and announced the return of the national road cycling championships to the calendar after a three year hiatus. Should everything go to plan, the 2016 championships currently scheduled for 28/29 May will be a welcome milestone in SCF s turnaround strategy.

The federation also recently announced the introduction of a points system for road events as part of a strategic objective to enhance the vibrancy of the local events eco-system. The new system will see road cyclists competing in events sanctioned or organised by the SCF awarded points which will in turn create a national ranking. Conditional on a year-end review, the national ranking system will also be implemented in other cycling disciplines.

But SCF knows neither a new points system nor a national road cycling championships counts for much without a healthy population of elite cyclists. With three major regional events also on the horizon the 2017 Asian Cycling Championships, 2017 SEA Games and 2018 Commonwealth Games a search for new talent is now expanding beyond the youth and junior pathway programs already in place.

Beginning next month, SCF will invite any Singaporean or permanent resident aged 17 years or older to try out for the national road cycling squad; a departure from previous selection trials which were targeted at youths 17 years or younger and strictly for citizens only.

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In an interview with Asiaone on Thursday, SCF sport and technical manager Samuel Yang explained the intention of the trials is to revamp our national squad, while also building a bigger pool of cyclists and, hopefully through this, find more Vincent Angs and Dinah Chans as well as the people in the team to support those guys to a medal.

Ang (38) and Chan (30) are veterans of Singapore s elite cycling community, with Chan in particular being responsible for the bulk of her country s SEA Games road cycling medals. Ang received much acclaim for his bronze medal in the Elite Men s criterium at last year s SEA Games, but this was overshadowed by his assault of teammate Ang Kee Meng for which he received a three month suspension.

It is not apparent for how much longer either Chan or Ang will continue racing, but the absence of obvious successors amplifies the urgent situation underpinning SCF s recruitment drive.

The recruitment process will begin with a three month application period, followed by physiological testing intended to discover the best engines . Current squad members will also be put through the same process, meaning incumbency is no guarantee of a future spot on the national team.

Applicants selected from this process will then go into a training camp before a final squad is selected to represent Singapore at the 2017 SEA Games, to be held in Kuala Lumpur in August 2017.

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