7th June 2015 is the day that would go down in Singapore’s netball history as one of the most amazing displays of true grit. Despite some poor passes and missed shots at critical moments, Singapore managed to beat causeway rivals Malaysia to take bacthe SEA Games netball crown with a 46-43 win.
This historic win comes after 14 years of waiting, as the last time netball was played at the biennial tournament was in 2001 during the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.
Both teams got off to a shaky start, but once Singapore’s goal attack, Chen Huifen, made a crucial interception in the last few minutes, the visitors’ hopes of winning the gold medal were crushed and the hosts pulled away to victory.
Said team captain Micky Lin, “We were told to keep things simple and focus on using speed and agility on attack. On defence end, we were trying to limit the balls going to the main shooter. I think everyone did well channelling their nerves into motivation to perform.”
The captain of Singapore’s netball team, Lin Qingyi, better known as Micky, may look like the girl-next-door but is a force to be reckoned with on court. Possessing good elevation and agility, she blocked many shots and led her team to victory at the recently concluded 28th SEA Games.
Congratulations on the victory against defending champions at the 28th SEA Games! It was such a nail-biting match, especially the last quarter when Malaysia managed to level the game. How, as a captain, did you encourage your teammates to stay focussed while still managing your own nerves in front of the home crowd?
Micky Lin: There is almost no time for us to talk on court so the very timeouts we have to reconnect are precious. I basically gather all the girls around to have a pep talk and make sure that everyone is on the same game plan.
Was it hard to lead a team that’s a mixture of young and experienced players?
I did not have much difficulty leading the team. Having more experienced players means that we can share the leadership role, especially across the different playing areas. The young ones constantly challenge the other players to push boundaries and bring different ideas to the table. I actually think we have a well-balanced team!
Trainings go up to 5 times a week during competition season, which can be really exhausting! What keeps you going when the going gets tough?
It is easier when we all have a common goal to work towards. The fact that the person next to me is pushing as hard to achieve that goal motivates me to keep going no matter how hard it is. It also helps to ‘stalk’ our competitors on social media and go, “Malaysia is not resting today, so we can’t”.
How is competing at the SEA Games stage different from the other international competitions you have participated in?
While the playing arena is similar, everything around it is very much different. There are definitely more interest in SEA Games because of the increased publicity. On top of competing within our sports, there is also a bigger competition that athletes worked towards across different sports – the countries’ medal tally board. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to cheer for other Team Singapore athletes after our event concluded.
Share with us your most memorable experience at the SEA Games.
Other than experiencing the crowd roar after the final whistle was blown at the games, it would be the honour of taking the oath on behalf of all athletes in the national stadium.
What does it mean to win the first-ever SEA Games gold for the nation?
We are the reigning Asian Champions so there are a lot of expectations on us going into the games. I am glad that we did not disappoint our supporters and also helped raised the interest of Netball amongst Singaporeans.
What are your aspirations for Netball in Singapore?
I think that Netball Singapore is one of the most well run sporting association in Singapore and I am very privileged to be one of the athletes under their care. With the success of the national team, I hope that it will inspire more kids to take up the sport early and produce better players in time to come so we can do better on the international stage.
You also hold a full-time job. How do you find the balance between work and passion… and even life?
Weekdays for me are basically a shuttle race between work and netball. I will set aside time for family and me-time (and sleep) on the weekends. The good thing is I am someone that likes to be busy so I am happy with my schedule.
How do you have fun?
I enjoy cycling at East Coast Park and, of course, some retail therapy.
If you were not a netballer, what sport do you think you would play?
I actually enjoy speed and like driving. So maybe car racing? I haven’t actually tried it before – I could be totally horrible at it.