Singapore floorball refs’ international assignment in doubt due to virus
The participation of two Singaporean officials at the Women's Under-19 World Floorball Championship (WFC) remains in the balance, as the coronavirus pandemic lays siege to the sporting world as well.
Referees Lin Binbin and Carmen Teo were nominated on March 4 as one of eight pairs to officiate at the tournament in Uppsala, Sweden, from May 6 to 10.
However, the International Floorball Federation (IFF) has said on its website that a decision on the tournament will be made after Monday, as it awaits updates from the host nation.
The Singapore government's 30-day travel advisory, issued last Sunday, against all non-essential travel abroad and a 14-day Stay-Home Notice for travellers entering Singapore, starting from 11.59pm today, has thrown a spanner in the works.
While Lin and Teo are looking forward to continuing their run at top-level competitions, they acknowledge their "social responsibilities".
"We are hopeful, but we are also prepared for when it doesn't actualise, we will continue to keep ourselves ready and keep our spirits high," said Lin, a 36-year-old civil servant.
"Also, if my boss is very clearly communicating that we are not allowed to travel, then I will have to withdraw from this.
"It is an honour (to represent Singapore on the global stage) and a very exciting opportunity. That said, we are mindful of our social responsibilities."
Teo, 40, who works as a sports performance manager with the Singapore Sport Institute, added: "We hope for the best... but the safety of everybody is important... if it gets cancelled, it is fine. We will look forward to getting nominated again."
The duo, who have held international referee certification since 2012, officiated at two WFCs and at the previous edition of the U-19 WFC in Switzerland two years ago, when their impressive performance saw them taking charge of the B Division final.
For now, they will continue to keep fit and ready as part of their preparations.
The former national floorballers, who co-incidentally played in goal, have their individual fitness regimen that ensures they are able to clear the annual mandatory yo-yo and agility tests that international referees have to take.
They also meet to discuss how to improve on certain aspects of their discipline through video analysis.
Singapore Floorball Association president Kenneth Ho credited Lin and Teo for their accomplishments, before adding that health trumps sport.
"We are very proud that they were selected, the only Asian pair to be," Ho said.
"It is an honour and it reflects on how good and consistent they are... It is unfortunate if the tournament does not get the go-ahead, but health is more important than sport.
"We are unsure of the situation at this moment, but we trust that IFF will make a decision that is in the best interests of everyone."