The ACS Connection

as the 23rd SEA Games in Manila

Living up to its reputation for producing outstanding sportsmen, ACS has once again risen to the occasion with a fine crop of athletes qualifying for the 23rd South East Asia (SEA) Games in Manila from 27 November to 05 December 2005.

Of the ten swimmers selected to represent Singapore, seven were from ACS!  This is not at all surprising considering that ACS is the premier institution for swimming and has constantly been producing many of Singapore’s top swimmers over the past few decades. The ‘magnificent seven’ heading for Manila are Mark Chay, Gary Tan, Leslie Kwok, Lionel Lee, Marcus Cheah, Bryan Tay and Mark Tan; the other three in the Singapore team were from Raffles Institution.

Also making their way to Manila are Jason Goh (Chess), Zhang Jin (Shooting), Teo Heng Bin (Karate) and Poh Seng Song (Athletics). At the time of writing, the Singapore Amateur Cycling Association has short-listed Low Ji Wen from ACS (Barker Road)  Should Ji Wen be selected, he will make history as Singapore’s youngest SEA Games cyclist. 

In addition, three ACS staff will be among the Singapore officials in Manila; Mr Chan Chee Wei is the Team Manager of the Athletics team, Mr Lau Kum Weng is the Assistant National Coach of the Waterpolo team, while Mrs Yoon Lay Beng is an umpire for the badminton matches. Leading the Singapore Team as Chef-de-Mission is Mr Oon Jin Teik, CEO of the Singapore Sports Council, an ACSian and former Olympic swimmer. And to top it all, we understand that the Minister for Community, Youth & Sports, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, an ACSian, will also be present at the Games.

It looks like we will see a strong ACS presence at the Manila Games - from athletes to coaches, managers and officials. We wish them all the very best in Manila. 

The Best Is Yet To Be!

The Magnificent Seven Swimmers who qualified

Mark Chay
(ACS Independent Class of 1998 & ACJC Class of 2000)

A multiple SEA Games Gold Medalist and record holder, Mark’s impressive swimming career has earned him many honours, including Singapore Schools Best Schoolboy of the Year 1999 & 2000, SSC/SNOC Sportsboy of the Year 2000 and SSC/SNOC Sportsman of the Year 2001. Mark has participated in many major swimming competitions, among them the SEA Games (1997, 1999, 2001 & 2003), Asian Games (1998 & 2002), Commonwealth Games (1998 & 2002), World Swimming Championships (1999, 2000, 2001 & 2005) and the Olympics (Sydney 2000 & Athens 2004). At the World Cup 2000, he did well to be in the Finals of the 100m Individual Medley, 50m Backstroke and 100m Backstroke events.

At the Manila 2005 SEA Games, Mark will be competing in three individual events (including the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke) and three relays. According to him, “It’s going to be a tough schedule for me as effectively, I will be swimming 9 events and there are heats in the morning as well. But I am comfortable with coming home with medals”.

Mark is thankful that ACS played an important role in his formative and most important years of my swimming career. “With a rich tradition in dealing with national swimmers, ACS knew what to do and how to do it in order for me to juggle my time and succeed in both my studies and sport”, he said.

Leslie Kwok
(ACS Barker Road Class of 1989 and ACJC Class of 1991)

A late starter, Leslie began serious training for competitive swimming at the national level only in 1994 when he was 21. Since then, he has represented Singapore in many international competitions, including the SEA Games (since 1997), the World Swimming Championships (since 2001) and the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He has bagged several bronze medals at various international meets, and a silver at the 2001 SEA Games.

Leslie, who will be competing in the 50m Freestyle event at the 2005 Manila SEA Games, reckons that his chances for a medal are good. He is grateful to former Singapore swimmer Ang Peng Siong for guiding him along his swimming career and giving him the confidence to achieve greater things. “Being an ACSian also helped me in many ways, as the school was very supportive of sports and groomed me to be an all-rounder, and not just focused on studies”, Leslie said.

Lionel Lee
(ACS Independent Class of 2002 & ACJC Class of 2003)

Lionel’s big break came when he got into the 2003 SEA Games through a wildcard entry. However, this meant that he had to choose between his ‘A’ Levels and the SEA Games, and he chose the latter.

According to Lionel, “The ACJC Principal, Mrs Kelvyna Chan, made my choice so much easier when she encouraged to me to chase my dreams, as she believed that I should still be able to make it out there in life without my ‘A’ Levels. ACS (Independent)’s History and SS Teacher, Mr Joseph Wong, was the other person who was most supportive and helped shape my life. He has been a friend and mentor, and was particularly helpful, especially during my ‘O’ Level year”.

“I am thankful for the ACS brand of education that made a gentleman out of me. Even though I have left school, the ACS Spirit lives on”, Lionel added.

Lionel will be competing in the 400m Freestyle and 400m Individual Medley in Manila 2005 SEA Games. He is hopeful for a medal in the 400m Freestyle.

Marcus Cheah
(ACS Independent Class of 2004)

Marcus has been swimming competitively since Primary 3, but it was not until he switched over from backstroke to freestyle that he began to make his mark on the international scene. He recently participated in the 2005 FINA World Championships in Montreal, Canada, and did well at this year’s Singapore Open to claim the Top Male Performer honours after bagging three Golds and a Silver, and breaking the 800m & 1,500m Freestyle records.

Marcus will be putting in his best effort when he competes in the 400m Freestyle event in Manila. According to him, “ACS always taught me to be the best I can be, and I will be pushing myself beyond the limits to win a medal. I always remember Mr Jason Chin telling me that to be top swimmer, you first need talent and secondly you must work on it the old-fashioned way by training hard. I have followed his good advice and have not looked back since”.

Bryan Tay
(ACS Independent Class of 2004)

Bryan, who has competed in many Age Group Championships in the region, will be participating in his first SEA Games in Manila.  He reckons that he stands a good chance for a medal in the 100m Freestyle and 200m Freestyle individual events. He also believes that Golds for the 4x100m and 4x200 Freestyle relays are a strong possibility as the Singapore team, which comprises all former ACS boys – Mark Chay, Marcus Cheah, Gary Tan and himself, is rather strong.

Glad to be representing Singapore, he said, “I have my coach and mentor, Mr Ang Peng Siong, to thank for motivating and pushing me on to qualify for the Manila 2005 SEA Games. I am also very thankful for the support I received from my teachers in ACS (Independent), for going out of the way to help me keep up with my studies”.

Gary Tan

(ACS Independent Class of 1998)

A graduate of Brigham Young University, Gary hopes to pursue a Masters degree in Sports Science after he completes his national service. He has represented Singapore in many international swim meets, including the SEA Games (where he is a multiple medalist since 1997), the Asian Games, and the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics.

At the Manila Games, Gary will be competing in the 200 Backstroke, 200 Butterfly, 200m Individual Medley, 100 Butterfly, 4x100m Freestyle relay, 4x200m Freestyle relay and possibly the 4x100 Medley relay. He reckons that his best chance for a Gold medal is in the 200 Butterfly and the relays, but whether Gold or not, he would be happy if he achieves personal best times for the events he is competing in.

Gary owes his success to the caring and understanding teachers in ACS. “I am grateful to them for motivating and instilling confidence in me. They were a great inspiration and taught me not only what was supposed to be taught in class, but also gave me valuable lessons on how to live life to its fullest potential”.

Mark Tan Jinwen  
(ACS Independent Class of 2002)

Mark has represented Singapore in numerous international meets, including the 11th FINA World Swimming Championships 2005 in Montreal, the FINA Swimming World Cup 2004/05 in Melbourne and the 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. He is also the first Singapore swimmer to beat the 50m Breaststroke qualifying mark for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

When asked about his medal chances at the Manila 2005 SEA Games, the young lad pledged to do his best for Team Singapore.  “I give it my best when I compete in the 100m and 200m Breaststroke events, and will not let Singapore down”, he said.

“I would also like to place on record my appreciation for Mr Chan Chee Wei, ACS (Independent)’s Health, PE & Recreation Director, for standing by me and giving me his full support during my years in ACS (Independent)”, he added.

      Teo Heng Bin Kicks His Way To Manila!

ACS (Barker Road)’s Teo Heng Bin from Secondary 4A3 will be donning national colours at the Manila 2005 SEA Games when he represents Singapore in Karate (Individual Male Kata). No newcomer to this competitive and challenging sport, Heng Bin has been active in Karate for the past six years. He won the Silver Medal (Individual Male Kata) at the 3rd Commonwealth Karate Championships 2005 in Wellington, New Zealand, and was second in the Pesta Sukan Championship 2005 (Senior Male Individual Kata) and first in the Singapore Karatedo Federation Open Invitational National Inter-school 2005 (Boys’ Individual Kata, Upper Secondary).

We salute his efforts and wish him all the best in upcoming SEA Games!

      Jason Goh & Zhang Jin Aim For More Medals

Jason Goh, a Secondary 4 ACS (Independent) student, will be participating in his second SEA Games in Manila. At the 2003 SEA Games in Vietnam, he won a silver medal for Chess after beating three chess grandmasters along the way – a laudable feat considering that he was in Secondary 2 then.

Zhang Jin, a former ACS (Independent) student, has been selected for the Air Rifle Shooting Team. 

He too was at the 2003 Games in Vietnam, where he bagged a bronze medal for the 10m Air Rifle Team event.

Low Ji Wen Gains International Attention

Low Ji Wen from Secondary 4B1, ACS (Barker Road), has been in the limelight recently. He is currently short-listed to represent Singapore at the Manila 2005 SEA Games, and would make history as Singapore’s youngest SEA Games cyclist should he be eventually selected.

For his commitment and achievements in cycling, Ji Wen is the sole Singaporean selected by the world cycling body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), to participate in a special cycling training camp designed to spot and nurture young international talents. Organised by the UCI in conjunction with the Oceania Cycling Federation, the camp will be held under the auspices of top cycling coaches in Sydney, Australia, where good performance there may lead to a future invitation to the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland.

Ji Wen started competitive cycling only in July 2004. His talent and commitment soon became apparent, when he won all the Singapore Amateur Cycling Association (SACA) races up to the National championships, and was crowned the 2005 Singapore Men’s Junior National Champion in the Under-19 category.  He also represented Singapore in the international 4-day cycling competition (Tour of Egat) in Thailand – posting the best time for the national team, which won fifth position.



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