- POSTED: 12 Oct 2013 23:42
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The relatively new sport of floorball will soon get a major boost here and in the region, with Singapore hosting an annual regional floorball tournament from next year.
SINGAPORE: The relatively new sport of floorball will soon get a major boost here and in the region, with Singapore hosting an annual regional floorball tournament from next year.
The South East Asia Floorball Championship will be another step towards raising the sport's profile, and possibly have it included in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.
As hosts, Singapore has confirmed that at least three other countries have shown interest -- Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines -- with plans to get Thailand and Brunei on board as well.
Floorball will only be a demonstration sport at the upcoming SEA Games in Myanmar in December.
Singapore currently has an edge over its neighbours both in experience and technical expertise.
But the republic has already been sharing expertise with its neighbours, including sending its coaches overseas.
And now, the new tournament could further bolster preparations for the 2015 SEA Games.
Sani Mohd Salim, president of the Singapore Floorball Association, said: "Moving forward, we intend to organise a regional tournament, something like South East Asia Floorball championship, which at least give opportunities for other countries to compete, because for them to compete in for World Cup qualification, their standards are a bit far for them."
The president added that Singapore has also advised the other countries to get the sport recognised by their respective National Olympic Councils to facilitate participation in the SEA Games.
Beyond the annual tournament, Singapore is also hosting the World University Championships next year.
This will be the first time the event will be held in Asia.
Alan Koh, Chairman of Singapore University Sports Council, said: "In fact, three strong teams from Finland, Sweden and if I am not wrong Switzerland, have already indicated their interest to participate in this event.
“So this will be an event of that level, they are world players in floorball. With regards to our own selection trials, we are already starting the selections trials even now."
10 men's and women's teams will compete in the championships, and organisers are looking at staging it at the Sports Hub.
Besides Singapore, a few other Asian nations are also being lined up.
Seen together, both events are testament to the role that Singapore has played in promoting the sport as a pioneer in the region.
The sport of floorball was introduced to Singapore in 1996, and the past decade has seen phenomenal growth -- the league itself was expanded from one division to three divisions comprising 40 teams.
There are also more than 100 teams across all educational institutions in Singapore, from primary right up to university level.