Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A league of our own? Singapore style?

There used to be the Singapore Paintball Novice Series (SPNS) in 2008 and 2009. The SPNS was a platform for Singapore paintball enthusiasts to battle their guts out and to put their skills to the "test" before embarking on regional tournaments. I am using the word "test" because in Singapore, its all about "test" and more "test". Singaporeans need to "test" if the ERP works for road users before the full implementation, we need to "test" if the MRT will be overwhelmed before its opening, we need to "test" the YOG with the AYG, it is always putting things to the test... its the same for paintball. It has been pretty quiet around the Singapore paintball scene... Is this the end of paintball in Singapore? I beg to differ... as it is always peaceful before a storm so I am hoping this quiet period will be a good time for all to go back to the drawing board to rethink about paintball in Singapore. There are actually a few ways that paintball in Singapore can undergo a full revamp and I am going to share this in the later topics. While the local competition scene is quiet and some describing it as pins dropping, a handful of us are actually playing in Malaysia. With the last 2 weekends, there are a total of 8 Singapore teams participating in the Malaysia tournament scene. Not bad indeed...

Just last month, the Paintball Association (Singapore), PBAS was handed over to a new interim committee to oversee the promotion and development of paintball in Singapore. Change is always good... new ideas will be formed, new people will be involved, new support will be given... With only less than 30 years of history behind the sport, it will be an uphill task to develop this sport in Singapore given Singaporeans "testing" attitude towards committing to something new. Recreational paintball has been pretty well received across the borders with some gamers being featured in TNP and RazorTV. News like these are always good for creating paintball awareness. Competitively, Singapore teams are always giving their competitors a tough fight... podium wins from local teams such as Red Sevens, ZOO and Contract Killers are always good for the aspiring paintballers who are keen to take up the challenge of participating in regional tournaments against some of the best in Asia. In a recent blogging competition "Star Sports Blogger" organized by the Singapore Sports Council, local blogger and regular paintballer, Grant Harrison from team ZOO was awarded the 2nd prize. This is a big step for paintball as the sports need all the attention that it can get from governing bodies such as the Singapore Sports Council, the Singapore Police Force and of course the general acceptance of paintball as a sport.

In the planning is the Singapore Paintball Series (SPS), a tournament to takeover the responsibility of the SPNS. No longer are Singaporean players consider as novice players... so there must be a change in the naming of the tournament. Singapore players fret not... we will soon have our very own Singapore champion... Plans are underway and things are looking good so far. With a different approach to competitive paintball in Singapore, there are plans for a mechanical division, a tertiary division, an open division and possibly a SPLAT X division... we'll see... a big dream perhaps but something that is possible, we might not reach our target but it is definitely something that we are working towards to. Just be ready to lend your support when the dream gets going... we need all the support to create our own "test" bed.

Paintballers are the weirdest lot. We enjoy the game and we love the game so much that we sometimes become emotional towards the outcome of the game... we are so devoted to the game that it has become a religion to many of us. Others who are have not play the game do not understand our feelings. Its just pure devotion. Some people call it the plain shooting game, some call it cosplay, some call it dangerous, some call it no brainer... but hell yeah, what do they know? Its pure devotion. We just love the sport. I used to be one of those who asked "why so serious?"... it is serious to us cos we know. We spend hours watching paintball videos, we spend hours playing the game, we spend a whole chunk of our money to buy gears, we talk, eat, sleep paintball... we are always waiting for the weekend to come cos that's when we feel young again. We make tons of friends playing paintball... no other sports has that. We travel with strangers to competition hoping to bring back the glory... no other sports does that... We talk about the game with strangers and we talk like we have known one another for years! We are paintballers... its a religion and we are one.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Red Sevens won MPOC Leg 2 Division 2 Champion title!

After last weekend's podium finish at My-NPL Leg 2, the Red Sevens is hot on our heels again when they clinched the MPOC Leg 2 Division 2 Champion title. This is by far the biggest win for the team since joining the MPOC in 2007 as a Division 3 team. This is the 2nd champion title for the team after winning the Pattaya International Paintball Championship Division 2 title in Thailand last month. With the same line up since the start of the year, Red Sevens is finding better consistency as compared to 2009 where the team was finding it hard to field a regular squad in every tournament. With newly recruited front player, Lester Wing joining the team, we are working on a more offensive outlook and with more players to be unveiled in June/July, the team is working on adding depth to its current squad. There are also plans to set up a Red Sevens junior team to play in the next leg of MPOC. Red Sevens would like to thank all the people (you know who you are) who have supported us in many ways since our establishment. Red Sevens will continue to work hard to improve our knowledge of the game and pass on our learning to people who are keen to come on board. With 2 champion titles under the team's belt, it is important to nurture more players and teams to join in our quest to make Singapore teams a reckoning force in regional tournaments.

Alongside Red Sevens' win is Team Zoo (Part of Team Damnation's club) who won the 4th position in Division 3 of the MPOC. 2 other Singapore teams, Dark Militia and Black Aces played in the Division 4 category. Playing in their first overseas tournament, these 2 teams gained more experience than you can ever imagined. We would like to thank these 2 teams for their paintballs sponsorship (Black Aces) and food sponsorship (Dark Militia). THANKS GUYS! You are now inducted into the list of Singapore teams who ply their trade in Malaysia!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Red Sevens Clinched My-NPL Round 2 Division 2, 4th Placing

2 weeks after the team's win in Pattaya, Red Sevens clinched a fourth placing in Division 2 of the MY-NPL Round 2 in Malacca. Newly recruited to the Red Sevens is front player Lester Wing who played 6 games in total including the final two 3rd/4th placing game. He even pulled an amazing one on one snapshooting to win a game for the team. Kudos to our Division 2 noob... and please for god sake, smile a little please....

Our sponsors Dye Asia with Devon and Zyzek was giving us pointers about the game. Our long Japanese friend, Banno san was there with us all the way showing his moral support for the team. Thanks to all our sponsors, Dye, Furious, KCHL, SEED, THORB, may the team win more medals with more tournaments to come this year.

Thanks to the organizers for putting up such a good show! With more than 90 participating teams, this tournament is by far one of the best with good referring and perfect grass turf, its makes sliding looks easy...

MPOC Leg 2 is this weekend... Let's go REDS!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Paintball Association (Singapore) Handover

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

Having stepping up into the role as the President of Paintball Association (Singapore) in 2007, I dedicated my time and resources to introducing paintball to Singaporeans and developing the sports in Singapore. Much of my time have been committed to raising the awareness of the sports through all the resources that I have at the players level and to the education of the sports to the relevant authorities especially with regards to regulations. Promoting a good paintball culture is essential to the success of the sports. Regulations are set to protect the interest of the people but it is also necessary to strike a balance to the level of regulations in place for security versus the regulations’ being an impedance to the growth of the sports as compared the norms around the world. I believe that sports is an important social cohesion tool for Singapore and paintball can be one of the sports available in Singapore. Coming to the end of my tenure in the office of PBAS, I am pleased to share with all the progress made in the past 2 years since the inception of the association. In the immediate period following the end of the term, I am happy to share that the association will be taken over by an interim committee whose role shall be to review and recommend changes to the constitution of the association, to determine the directions of the association, and, to recommend a new structure for the committee. As the association is only in its infancy stage, constant reviews of the protocols will keep the association updated with the modern practices in sports associations and constant monitoring of the results of the protocols shall provide a feedback loop to the effectiveness of the practices set in place. The association, the players and the industry must be determined to work together with the government authorities to bring more credibility and recognition to the sports. Upon constitution reviews, the interim committee shall swing in the elections for the next office bearers to assume their roles and take term in PBAS.

In establishing Paintball Association (Singapore), my main aim was to create an official body of sports paintball to open and pave unchartered paths for the development of the sports in Singapore. In this way, I hoped to make the possibility of playing the sports of paintball possible in Singapore. The sports of paintball has been unheard of locally albeit fast-climbing the popularity ladder in our neighbouring countries. In 2007, when I established the association, paintball could not even be played in Singapore in a competition format due to the existence of a mandatory rule of a centre line in all paintball games. The centre line divides the game play into two uncross-able territories and goes against the philosophy of the paintball which is classified as a territorial or invasion sports like basketball, soccer, handball and ice-hockey. The major leagues in world in 2007 - PSP, Millennium, NPPL - were yet to be seen or even known to Singaporeans. Speedball is an organised sports with international game rules, format of play, hierarchy of ranks and marshalling bodies.

Paintball League in Singapore - Singapore Paintball Novice Series
The first introduction of competition paintball - speedball - was in March 2008, known as Singapore Paintball Novice Series (SPNS). In the inaugural 3-on-3 speedball competition, 7 teams participated and put up a great show. The second competition was organised in June 2008 and the organisers garnered the participation of 13 teams. This created a buzz in the sports news with coverage in the Channel News Asia evening news and followed by a significant feature article on The Straits Times, Sports Section with a large photograph of the winning team. Resources from the industry made possible the organisation of Singapore Paintball Novice Series which had a total of 6 legs with 3 in 2008 and 3 in 2009. From a 3-on-3 format to 4-on-4 format and eventually the full-scale of 5-on-5 format, the SPNS grew in participation and capacity. SPNS registered another milestone when the competition was at Pasir Park, a public park, through a tripartite government-collaboration (NParks-SSC-PBAS). Having brought paintball to the eastern side of Singapore, the final leg of SPNS 2009 was held at the western part of Singapore at West Coast Park, bringing paintball to the public at end to end in Singapore.

Basic Tournament Orientation
The first group of participants was a significant one as they were the ones who took the first stride with the Association to make competition paintball in Singapore a reality. The local regulations required a center line to be implemented in paintball gameplay which would not have allowed for a paintball competition to be organised and played by participants as the rules of the sports would require the players to start from one end and end at the other end of the playing field. Basic Tournament Orientation was crafted by PBAS and approved by the authorities for informed participants to play without a center line. The aims of the course are to educate the participants on the safety aspects of the sports and the rules of competition paintball. The Basic Tournament Orientation certified more than 300 persons for competition paintball over a span of 2 years.

Support by Singapore Sports Council in SPNS and Events
This serves to give special mention to the Singapore Sports Council, especially the Sports Pathway group, who was keen in following up on event reports to publicise about Singapore Paintball Novice Series, in short, SPNS. The league was the first official league to be held in Singapore for competition paintball. With SSC’s recognition and support for SPNS, the league became the birth ground for the local teams. Since its inception in 2008, the league has seen the growth of 20 paintball teams over the past two years of which the number of teams competing overseas, especially World Cup Asia, has grown from one to seven in 2009.

Basic Marshalling Course
Refereeing during tournaments is one of the hardest jobs with all the most challenging factors a referee might face in any other sports all rolled into paintball marshalling. Weak referee management failed to kick start a strong following of referees. Local players have been certified as marshals but more still need to step forward to take up the challenge. Those who have refereed in the local competitions for the past 2 years are much appreciated by the Association and players alike.

Support by Local Authorities
The support by local authorities is a critical factor to the introduction of competition paintball in Singapore. Without the understanding and open mindset of the Singapore Police Force, Singapore Sports Council and National Parks Board, paintball competitions could not have taken place and the sports will still be under-developed locally while the rest of our neighbours progress and grow stronger. The change in ruling - removal of centre line - was a major milestone for the Association and was only possible with the strong support from the paintball industry and government authorities.

In the constitution of Paintball Association (Singapore), the directions and goals of the Association are written as below:
a) To promote and improve the game of paintball locally and regionally in the area of youth and sports development.
b) To initiate and establish guidelines in the sport of paintball with the Asia Pacific Paintball Federation (APPBF).
c) To establish and offer the sport of paintball as a lifestyle activity to encourage the spirit of teambuilding.
d) To promote paintball as a recreational and competitive sport for the masses with recognition from the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) as a sport.
e) Formation of paintball leagues and tournaments in Singapore.

The progress of change is on-going and its pace is affected by players and stakeholders who need to look at the long-term goals. The above stated are all examples of the new and important developments of the sports since 2007. In the period since I started and took office in Paintball Association (Singapore), there has been dramatic changes in the development of the sports and I believe that there will be even more to come. Among the key elements of the changes are the representation of Singapore in regional paintball competitions, medal tally for Singapore paintball teams, the initiative and progress of Basic Tournament Orientation, promotion of sports in schools and education of authorities of the sports. I am delighted by the growth of the Singapore paintball community and will continue to support the future work of the Association in the right directions. I am delighted to have worked with the individuals who have expressed interest in taking up a role in the interim committee which will review the organisation and goals of the Association and its constitution to keep up with the progress of regional and worldwide paintball. I am pleased to welcome Grant Harrison, David Leow , Mohd Shakil, Ian Tang and Khairul Anwar into the interim committee. I look forward to contributing further in the next committee of Paintball Association (Singapore) and supporting their programs. I would like to thank all agencies that have become involved in the initiatives of the Association and their willingness to work together to create a better sporting future for Singapore. It is with these wishes and hopes that I complete my term of office and step down from the President of Paintball Association (Singapore). Keep the fire burning!

Jane Koh
President (2007-2009), Paintball Association (Singapore)