Singapore e-sports body launches campaign to play together

The Singapore Esports Association's (SGEA) latest initiative - #SGPlaysTogether - hopes to pull people in the same direction, as the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic rages on.

The campaign aims to promote online gaming as a tool to connect people, keeping in line with social distancing and safety measures implemented across the world to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

"#SGPlaysTogether encourages youths to bond online by playing video games that they love," SGEA president Ng Chong Geng said in a press release yesterday.

"This follows Singapore's call through the #SGUnited message on the importance of Singaporeans, including youths, to exercise their part in the fight to safeguard one another and save lives amid the pandemic."

As part of the campaign, the SGEA - the national governing body for e-sports which was founded in 2018 - is collaborating with Singapore Cybersports & Online Gaming Association to assist in outreach programmes for schools, which include local ITEs, polytechnics and universities.

The initiative offers comprehensive e-sports and talent development programmes, and facilitates the running of competitions, tournaments and other gaming activities.

Celtic declared champions as Scottish season ends

Celtic were crowned champions for a record-equalling ninth consecutive season as the Scottish Premiership campaign was declared over yesterday.

Neil Lennon's men were 13 points clear at the top of the table when the season was stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic in March, with eight games remaining for the majority of clubs.

Second-placed Rangers had a game in hand to try and cut that gap and were due to face Celtic twice more before the end of the season.

A points-per-game formula for determining final league placings also sees bottom club Hearts relegated unless there is any progress in talks over league reconstruction.

"It is, of course, a real shame that we were not able to see out the league in front of our fans. However, no one can deny how deserved this title is," said Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell.

The three leagues below the Scottish Premiership were ended over a month ago, when clubs passed a controversial resolution that allowed the Scottish Professional Football League board to also bring the top flight to a halt if it deemed the games could no longer be played.

Last week, Rangers failed to gain the support of the 42 member clubs for an independent inquiry into how the vote on the resolution was passed.

The cost of testing and the fact a high percentage of players will be out of contract these two months were also highlighted by clubs as reasons why making a return to finishing the campaign was impractical.

Leagues in France, Belgium and Holland have also called their seasons to a premature end.

However, many more across Europe are hoping to follow the example of Germany's Bundesliga, which has resumed behind closed doors and with a series of strict safety measures in place to protect players and staff. - AFP

Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson help raise US$5.5m in charity golf match

A tie-break win for world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and teammate Dustin Johnson at the Driving Relief two-on-two charity skins match yesterday morning (Singapore time) injected suspense to a course absent of fans in the Covid-19 era.

Wearing microphones that captured their smack talk and frustrations, caddie-less competitors McIlroy and Johnson faced off against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff.

The players carried their own clubs and adhered to social distancing procedures after undergoing a battery of tests and screenings.

Eager golf fans tuned in for one of the rare few live televised events, and were treated to a bit of mild trash talk early on, as McIlroy teased his 21-year-old opponent Wolff after sinking a putt for a par four on the second hole.

"I think you forget I've won two FedEx Cups that totalled at US$25 million (S$35.6m)," said McIlroy.

"Doesn't faze me, youngster."

That bravado was eventually tempered, however, as Fowler's seven birdies put pressure on the world No. 1 and Johnson, the heavily favoured pair who boast five Major titles between them.

The competition came down to a closest-to-the-hole tiebreak, in which McIlroy clinched the victory despite an admirable 120-yard wedge shot from Wolff, letting out a whoop and offering his teammate an "air-five".

Raising more than US$5.5m through sponsors and donations for Covid-19 relief, the competition quickly trended on social media, as golf-starved fans revelled in seeing their favourite players compete in unique circumstances.

US President Donald Trump dialled in to the broadcast to applaud the event, saying that live sports are good for the collective psyche.

"We want to get it back to where it was - we want big, big stadiums loaded with people," Mr Trump said. - REUTERS