Today, we take the constant and relentless flow of sports news at real time for granted. In the not-so-distant past, match reports or analyses of huge sporting events would reach our shores days or even months later. TODAY senior correspondent Ian De Cotta (firstname.lastname@example.org) looks back at how the way sports junkies get their fix has changed dramatically over the past half a century or so.
The fifties and sixties
In the mid-20th century, Singapore had a vibrant sports scene and radio and newspapers were the primary sources of information.
Using telephones, reporters fed their organisations essential parts of the stories first to flash as news bulletins. But mostly, the radio or newspaper companies relied on dependable news agencies, equipped with the latest telex machines, to wire them the latest stories as they developed.
When weightlifter Tan Howe Liang put Singapore on the global sports map after he won the Republic’s first Olympic medal — a silver at the 1960 Games in Rome — news reached home within hours. On the track, the exploits of sprinter Canagasabai Kunalan and long-distance queen Chee Swee Lee were and transmitted thousands of miles away to their compatriots at home.
Mr Kunalan recalled: “From 1964, the TV station would send a bus with the news team for TV broadcast parked outside the stadium for ‘live’ telecast of the meet and show it at night during the evening news; we would even record my race on tape if we could.”
But it was football that drew the most interest in Singapore. A buzz of excitement descended upon the country’s football fans in the early hours of Sunday, Aug 1, 1965, after the story broke earlier in the night on Radio Singapura that the Lions had beaten Selangor 3-1 in the 39th Malaya Cup at Kuala Lumpur’s Merdeka Stadium. It was a wrap-up news bulletin before the station closed at midnight and details were scarce.