S'pore floorball skipper Syazni delays swansong due to postponed WFC
National floorball captain's plans postponed after WFC pushed to next year
December's World Floorball Championship (WFC) may have been postponed to next year due to the Covid-19 crisis, but Singapore coach Lim Jin Quan was not overly concerned about a potentially congested 2021 calendar.
The International Floorball Federation said on Monday that the new dates for the men's showpiece tournament in Helsinki, Finland, would be announced on Sept 29.
Lim, who helms both the men and women's teams, could now have to juggle the women's WFC tournament - should they get through the qualifiers in June - the men's Asia Oceania Floorball Confederation Cup and the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (both teams), in addition to the men's WFC.
It remains to be seen if these tournaments could face further changes, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to derail the sporting calendar.
"In terms of preparations (with both teams), it doesn't change," the 28-year-old Lim told The New Paper yesterday.
"With the delay, I get the extra time to make the necessary adjustments to deal with a congested calendar and more runway with what needs to be done.
"So the postponement is not a bad thing. Also, I'm working with high-performance athletes, who are not only capable of taking ownership of their own training, but are also very motivated to give their best."
For captain Syazni Ramlee, news of the postponement was disconcerting as it has thrown a spanner into his plan to call time on his international career.
After competing in four WFCs over 12 years, the 29-year-old had envisaged the Finland tournament as his swansong.
"I intended to retire from the national team after this year's WFC," said Syazni, explaining he made the decision to leave so that he has more time for his family and career as a floorball coach.
"But with this delay, I could end up competing in my final tournament which may not be the WFC. It would have been nice to bring the curtain down after a fifth WFC."
Noting the gravity of the situation, the experienced campaigner agreed that the call to delay the biennial tournament was indeed the right one, with everyone's safety in mind.
Teammate Lim Jian Hong, 25, concurred but expressed dismay. He said the team were looking forward to bettering their 2018 WFC outing in the Czech Republic, where, after an impressive start, they faded away and finished last of 16 teams.
"I'm not surprised about the news, but it does feel wasted," said Jian Hong, who has played in two WFCs.
"We have been training in earnest, eager and hungry to improve our world standing but now that has been delayed."
Syazni added that the postponement helped remove a possible handicap.
With the top division of the Singapore Floorball League scrapped this year, none of the national players has seen game time since last November's SEA Games, where they finished as silver medallists.
"While we were all training very hard, we would have gone to Finland without any competitive action under our belt," Syazni said.
"This could put us at a disadvantage, especially if our opponents have clocked game time."
Singapore, ranked world No. 16, are in Group D, alongside Australia (13), Canada (11) and Japan (17).