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Having amassed an astonishing six Asian Games medals, including three golds, Remy Ong has established himself as an icon in the local sports fraternity.

Most recently, the 32-year-old clinched the 5th Kingdom International Open title in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Surprisingly, the victory was his first successful title defence in his long and illustrious career.

"Defending a title is something I've never done before in my life. It feels great and hopefully I'll be able to do it a third time and do it better," said Ong.
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It does not get any bigger than a grudge match against our neighbours from across the causeway, Malaysia, to kick off Team Singapore's Asian Five Nations (A5N) rugby season for 2011.

In a high stakes crunch tie, the result will determine if Singapore heads into a promotion playoff to regain its top five status or into a relegation dogfight to stave off a drop into the next lower division.

Singapore is currently in Division I, which is the second tier of the A5N. Singapore last held an A5N Top Five place in 2009 and national coach Des Thornton will certainly hope to bring them back there. But first the newly appointed head honcho of the national rugby team will have to pick his squad for the tournament from a talented group of passionate players.

"There are quite a few talented and up and coming young guys in the squad. These include a few teenagers and a few who are still part of the U-20 squad, and a few experienced hands. The squad has quite a reasonable distribution."

Rebuilding the squad with a view to the long term success of the national teams is the priority of the new coach.

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A man whose reputation precedes him, Luan Ching was instrumental in China's victory in the prestigious Thomas Cup along with two Asian Championships. Rated as one of the world's best players during his day, his personal honours also include victories in the Thomas Cup in 1982 and the All England Singles in 1983.

Having coached perennial badminton powerhouses China from 1988 to 1992, and South Korea from 1993-1994, he is now here in Singapore, looking to impart his midas touch and to teach Singapore's shuttlers how to weave the same magic on the court.

A down to earth man with a realistic approach, he has not set sky high standards for his players. Instead he has used his first year here in Singapore to go back to basics, restructuring the team and building up every player's physical condition. Being able to challenge China and South Korea is not his immediate priority rather his primary focus is to raise the standard of our play to emerge as a regional powerhouse before gradually taking on the big guns.

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I hope you enjoyed reading our newly revamped Play Times. The emails that we received from you, our faithful readers, have been very encouraging and we would like to thank you for your kind words and support. The social media team at the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) is consistently coming up with new and exciting ways to engage you and help you play or be involved in sport in one way or another, just so that you can make sports a way of life. So stay tuned.

With many sporting events taking place, I made an effort to increase my sporting lifestyle. I seemed to have packed on a couple of pounds despite constantly going for jogs so I decided to get myself a new bike and start cycling. Instead of my usual road routes (Kranji and Choa Chu Kang), I decided to take my mountain bike for a spin and try out the much talked about park connectors routes.

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised as the routes were very well thought of. It was an interesting and exhilarating park experience for me. The scenery along the route was a real treat. It was a sensory delight and I would like everyone who has not tried out these park connectors to do so. I am looking forward to this weekend as I will be heading to the northern part of Singapore to check out the Mandai park connector. This month also has a number of cycling activities. Go to singaporesports.sg and check out our calendar and participate in the various cycling activities.

Over the past few weekends, I also decided to make my way around our island and check out the various Let's Play Non-Stop roadshows. It was very heartening to see lots of people participating in games at our roadshows. People of all ages seemed to be having fun while learning a new sport at the carnival-like venues. Our Team Singapore athletes were also there to promote their sport, share their experiences and give tips to the people.

Don't feel like embarking on a sporting journey and no plans for the weekend? Then head on down and check out the Let's Play Non-Stop road shows. For the month of June, the Let's Play Non-Stop roadshows will be at the Bukit Panjang Plaza (Open Plaza) from 4 - 5 June and at the Bukit Gombak Sports Hall on 11 June. Admission is free and activities start from 12pm till 8pm. More information can be found on our Let's Play Facebook page.

Have a sporting June and Let's Play!


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4 - 5 June 2011
Singapore Mountain Bike Carnival 2011

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12 June 20111
Mizuno Mount Faber Run 2011
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12 June 2011
National Vertical Marathon 2011
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19 June 2011
Adventure Trail
Challenge 2011
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26 June 2011
Inter-Tertiary Paintball Championship (ITPC) Leg 2
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Let's Play The Play Times
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