25 September 2010

EIS Injury & Illness Prevention Project (IIPP)

keeping ahead of the game@EIS

Whilst you can never rule out all prospects of an injury or illness in sport, the English Institute of Sport (EIS) and UK Sport have been working to identify how best to reduce the risks which could impact upon performance on the international sporting stage.

Before the Injury & Illness Prevention Project (IIPP) began, approximately 13% of sports used injury information to shape their preventative strategies. Now, 18 months into the project, 43% of Olympic sports reported using injury data to help keep their squads performing.

With less than two years to go until the London 2012 Olympic Games, keeping athletes competing at the highest level is vital for any sport.

“Suffering an injury can be devastating for elite athletes and in some cases it leads to the end of their sporting career” says Dr Rod Jaques, Director of Medical Services at the EIS.

“What’s really groundbreaking with this area of work is looking at injury data against exposure data – training and competition. This allows us to get a deeper understanding around the interventions we deploy to athletes and also gives coaches evidence based information” he adds.

With an average of 11 days of training lost per injury and 0.4 of competition events lost per injury and around 5 days of training and 0.3 of competition events lost per illness, being able to prevent athletes picking up injuries and illnesses is an important part of fielding the best team for sports.

“An employer would find this type of time off work an issue, and likewise sports need to address time lost in training and competition so that they can field their best teams and ensure they are ahead of the game when it comes to injury and illnesses” explains Jaques.

The Olympiad Review helped to identify the most performance-impacting injuries and illnesses to sports which were knee, shoulder, lumbar spine and upper respiratory tract infections. Of the 14 Olympic sports involved in the IIPP so far, the data collection continues and is providing individualised results, reports and feedback to help provide coaches, practitioners and other support staff with detailed information on the nature and causes of their sport specific injuries and illnesses.

Glenn Hunter, UK Sport’s lead Research and Innovation Consultant for Performance Medicine, said:

“Our job is to ensure British athletes reach the start line among the best prepared and most feared in the world. This particular piece of research allows EIS practitioners to provide evidence based interventions in sport science and medical care, giving British athletes confidence that their preparation is world class. It is the first time this in-depth approach has been taken and will help shape a better understanding of illness and injury in athletes across sports leading into the London 2012 Games.”

Dr Debbie Palmer- Green is the IIPP Research Scientist who has been working at the EIS to liaise closely with the practitioners working within sports to ensure the feedback provided is of best use to the sports.

17 September 2010

EIS R&D projects


Experts developing cutting-edge technologies for Britain’s top athletes will congregate at Loughborough University on October 8th for the first ESPRIT Conference, where a unique opportunity to get involved with the groundbreaking project will be revealed.

The ESPRIT consortium hope to attract some of Britain’s most innovative minds to its inaugural conference, where details of an exciting secondment opportunity to the ESPRIT project will be presented and the application process will commence.

The Elite Sport Performance Research in Training with Pervasive Sensing (ESPRIT) project is funded by the EPSRC and led by Imperial College London in partnership with UK Sport, supported by Queen Mary University of London and Loughborough University.

It involves researchers from the three universities working alongside British athletes via UK Sport’s Research and Innovation programme.

Its vision is to position the UK at the forefront of pervasive sensing (miniaturised wearable and track-side sensors, computer modelling tools and smart training devices) in elite sports as well as to promote its wider application in public life-long health, wellbeing and healthcare.

To achieve this the team behind ESPRIT possess skills and expertise in body sensor networks, pervasive computing, smart textiles, biochemistry, biomechanics, mechanical engineering, automation, sports performance research and complex system modelling.

English Institute of Sport (EIS) Director of Sport Science Ken van Someren, who sits on the ESPRIT Research Steering Group alongside EIS Head of Sport Science & Medicine for Paralympic Sport Paul Davies, told eis2win.co.uk.

“The ESPRIT project plays a significant role in the development of research programmes that are extremely relevant to the sport science and medical services delivered by the EIS.

“To provide world leading services it is vital to stay at the forefront of innovation and the EIS is therefore pleased to be a part of the ESPRIT project.”

The project comprises four key research themes - Generalised Body Sensor Networks; Optimised Sensor Design and Embodiment; Learning, Data Modelling and Performance Optimisation; and Device and Technology Innovation – all of which will be explored at the upcoming conference via the four interactive challenge workshops that will take place, with a focus on practical application to elite sport:

Paralympic Challenge (biomechanics, ergonomics, mechanical design, integrated sensing, prosthetics)

Sports Medicine Challenge (injury surveillance, remote monitoring, rehabilitation, wireless technologies)

Talent Trainability Challenge (bio-markers, "omics", biochemical sensing, real-time feedback)

Workload and Technologies Challenge (stress, psychology, neuroscience, body sensors, field based sensing, wireless technologies, team sport/tactics, localisation)

Individuals from high performance sport, academia or industry who feel they can contribute creatively to one of these four workshops are encouraged to attend. More information can be found on the ESPRIT website, or contact Jayne.kavanagh@uksport.gov.uk for more information. You must register before 1 October as spaces are limited.

16 September 2010

S$387 million. the cost to host first YOG 2010

Singapore spent S$387m to host YOG@CNA

SINGAPORE: Singapore would still bid for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG), even if it knew it would have to spend S$387 million to host it.

Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said this in Parliament on Wednesday, in response to questions about the increased spending for the Games.

He said the government underestimated the requirements and costs for several major functional areas.

But he assured that spending on other ministry programmes was not affected.

Singapore won the bid to host the Games, with an initial budget of some S$104 million.

But this ballooned to S$387 million, when requirements to ensure the Games' success became clearer.

Dr Balakrishnan said: "Our initial budget estimates during the bid phase were clearly inaccurate. We got it wrong. This was the first Youth Olympic Games in the world. Quite frankly, both the IOC and us were starting from scratch. In fact, the finalised specifications and standards for the YOG events were only determined after we were selected to host the Games.

"There was another alternative, I could have blindly cut the budget, and deliver a substandard Games which would not have been the right decision."

Big tickets items contributed to the higher expenditure. One was in the area of technology, with its projected cost being about S$97 million.

Upgrading sports venues and equipment accounted for S$76 million, while providing live broadcast cost S$45.5 million.

Another S$7 million was spent on the journey of the Youth Olympic Flame.

Dr Balakrishnan said: "Initially the IOC was not keen on having an international torch relay because of the controversy that surrounded the Beijing Olympics.

“But this was the first Youth Olympic Games and also because they had the confidence in us being able to organise this without any major mishaps."

Dr Balakrishnan said it was also important to put things into context. The YOG was about one-third the size of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. But Singapore's projected expenses was only 10 per cent of Beijing's reported operating expenditure.

All in, it was money well spent.

"It achieved the objectives which IOC had set out, achieved the objectives which we had set out. And we wanted to do a Games which was doable by a city around the size of Singapore, as we may never have the opportunity to host the Olympic Games," said Deputy PM and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean. He is also the president of the Singapore National Olympic Council.

"I think we have been able to achieve all those objectives. I think all Singaporeans should be proud of it. It was money well spent - I am quite clear about it," he added.

Other expenses went to the culture and education programme, security, and operational requirements like language translation and interpretation, laundry and catering services at the Youth Olympic Village.

On revenue, Dr Balakrishnan said merchandise and ticket sales are expected to bring in S$7 million.

The Games also received up to S$60 million worth of sponsorship in kind and S$7.6 million in cash sponsorship from companies like Samsung, ATOS, Panasonic and DBS.

Singapore's economy also benefited, as about 70 per cent of contracts from the overall budget of S$367 million were awarded to local companies.

Another S$46 million to overseas companies with local subsidiaries.

The Games also laid a strong foundation for a sporting culture. This is particularly in the areas of sports spectatorship, community involvement, as well as volunteer engagement.

In this regard, Dr Balakrishnan said his ministry plans to have a committee to review Singapore's athlete development framework.

The committee will also suggest ways to enhance the education and career options for national athletes.

Details will be announced within the next six months.

Singapore TID in speed skating

12 picked for China camp@Straits Times

IN HIS Winter Olympics dreams, Matthew Mak always saw himself as a figure skater.

The 13-year-old Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student is now a step closer to realising his dream of representing Singapore on ice - but as a speed skater instead.

He was one of 12 skaters who were selected yesterday to attend an eight-day International Skating Union (ISU) speed skating training camp in Changchun, China, from Sept 18-25.

The selection was made at the end of Singapore's first short track speed skating camp, which began on Sunday and ended last night.

The camp was organised by the Singapore Ice Skating Association (Sisa) and the ISU to identify the first batch of athletes with the potential of representing Singapore in the sport.

More than 80 participants - almost thrice the number that Sisa had expected - turned up on Sunday.

From there, 30 were chosen to stay for the remainder of the camp by coach Yves Nadeau, a renowned speed skating coach who has worked with world and Olympic champions.

Although Sisa had planned to select only the top three men and three women, the ISU decided in the end to extend the quota after being won over by the participants' enthusiasm.

Sisa president Sonja Chong said the additional numbers are a boost to its efforts to develop a Winter Olympian for the 2014 Sochi Games.

'It's an indication of the success of the programme, and hopefully we can build on this momentum,' she said.

Matthew and Co. made the final cut after impressing Nadeau with their ability to learn the various techniques quickly.

'I feel very lucky because I might not have made it if only six were selected,' he said. 'My hope is to qualify for the Winter Youth Olympic Games. That would be a good start. But my dream is to compete in the Winter Games.'

The other Changchun-bound athletes are Deanna See, 15, Anja Chong, 16, Vernetta Fong, 15, Yap Rong Xing, 22, Liang Qi'en, 19, Germaine Lim, 15, Lucas Ng, 21, Bertrand Chew, 19, Lim June Liang, 22, and brothers Kenneth, 17, and Terence Chew, 23.

Two participants - Condrey Liu, 24, and Kevin Tan, 34 - were also selected to attend the developmental camp as coaches. They will be joined by athletes from Malaysia and Thailand.

Deanna, who, like Matthew, has a figure skating background, said: 'It's been a whirlwind few weeks. A month ago, I heard about this camp, and now I'm going for it.'

15 September 2010

Singapore Sports Council's target in Rio 2016

6 medals in 2016@Straits Times

TWO years after the breakthrough in Beijing, the country's sports authorities are dreaming big - a clutch of medals at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) has set an ambitious target of bringing back six medals of any colour, a notion Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Community Development, Youth and Sports) Teo Ser Luck called 'bold, but achievable'.

The announcement was met by scepticism among some in the sports fraternity, considering that the women table tennis team's silver at the 2008 Beijing Games was the Republic's first Olympic medal in 48 years.

But Bob Gambardella, the SSC's chief of sports development and head of the sports institute, said it is not a target 'pulled out of the sky'.

'We looked at similar-sized countries like New Zealand and Croatia, and used a predictive table that I had from my time at the United States Olympic Committee,' he said at a press conference that was also attended by Mr Teo yesterday.

Both New Zealand and Croatia have won numerous Olympic medals despite having a population similar to Singapore's five million.

At the 2008 Beijing Games, using athletes' past performances, the American predicted 20 medals in the 11 sports under his charge. The eventual haul was 19.

Gambardella, who came to Singapore a year ago after more than a decade holding various positions within the USOC, is eyeing one to two medals at the next Olympics in 2012 in London.

These will likely come from the women paddlers led by Feng Tianwei. Singapore Table Tennis Association president Lee Bee Wah had previously targeted two medals for 2012, and another two at the following Olympics.

'It's ambitious but funding is the most crucial element, we'll need at least a million dollars more,' she said yesterday. Her association was allocated over $1.5 million in government grants for the financial year 2010.

The Olympic medal burden is also expected to be shouldered by athletes from shooting (such as Jasmine Ser), sailing (Darren Choy) and swimming (Tao Li, Quah Ting Wen and Rainer Ng).

Part of the optimism among sports officials in setting the six-medal target stems from Singapore's two silvers and four bronzes at last month's Youth Olympic Games.

Members of Parliament have also tabled questions for today's sitting on what will be done to groom YOG athletes for further success.

The Straits Times understands that sports administrators have drawn up a preliminary shortlist of 15 of them, earmarking them as having strong potential to win at the highest levels, including the 2016 Olympics.

They include Darren, and YOG silver medallists Isabelle Li (table tennis) and Rainer. All are aged between 14 and 18.

Still, except for the women paddlers who upset China to take the world championship crown in May, the other three sports have not proven themselves at the Olympic level.

But SSC chief executive officer Oon Jin Teik said in response to potential detractors: 'It's high time we stopped saying that we're going to major Games just for the experience.

'If we keep doing that, then the question is when are the athletes ready to win?'

The former swimmer, who competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, pointed to Singapore's record medal hauls at recent multi-sport events - the 2005 Manila South-east Asia Games (except as hosts) and 2006 Doha Asian Games.

'Our athletes have shown that they can compete at not just the regional level, but on the global stage,' Oon added.

The new Sports Institute to be set up at the Sports Hub and ready in four years' time will be crucial to the 2016 plan.

It will provide sports science, sports medicine and other forms of support, following loosely models of similar facilities in Australia, the United States and Japan.

'To borrow a phrase from (former sailing president) Low Teo Ping, the pipeline is our lifeline,' said Oon.

On winning a medal in the pool in 2016, former Olympian and swim coach David Lim said: 'It's going to be twice as tough as in the YOG. The field is so much stronger at the Summer Olympics.

'Setting targets is fine, but from now until 2016, the authorities need to do everything in their power to prepare these athletes.'

Singapore Sports Hub watersports centre

Sports Hub - A watersports centre for all@CNA

SINGAPORE : One of its main attractions was supposed to be a white-water rafting course but, as plans developed, the consortium awarded the tender to build and operate Singapore's new Sports Hub decided the proposed watersports centre at Kallang would do without it, at least initially.

The plan is to build the white-water rafting course a few years after the Sports Hub opens its doors in April 2014 by tapping on the Premier Park Foundation.

The foundation reinvests a portion of the revenue generated by the Sports Hub on future events, activities and facilities.

When it opens in 2014, the watersports centre will boast a 500m race course, warm-up and open areas for competitors and officials, indoor and outdoor storage facilities and training and boat-washing amenities for canoeing, kayaking, dragon-boating and rowing.

Besides targeting world-class competitive events, the centre will be open to the public, who will be able to use and enjoy a family-friendly facility.

"The Singapore Sports Hub is a manifestation of Singapore's sporting vision - the creation of a truly sustainable, fully integrated, premier land and sea sports, entertainment and lifestyle hub," said SportsHub Pte Ltd's Eugene De Rozario.

The watersports centre is part of a 35-ha site at Kallang which includes the current National Stadium, and the whole area will be transformed in four years' time.

The Sports Hub will include a new stadium with a 55,000-capacity and a retractable roof, a 6,000-capacity indoor aquatics arena, a multi-purpose indoor arena that can seat 3,000, a sports institute and 41,000 square metres of business, commercial and retail space.

The project was re-started late last-month after a two-year delay due to the global financial crisis.

Dismantling work on the 37-year-old National Stadium has already begun, with wrecking balls expected to move in next month.

The adjacent 12,000-seater Singapore Indoor Stadium, which opened in 1989, will also undergo refurbishment work.

Among the other facilities at the watersports centre site at Kallang Basin will be a visitor centre with reception counters, seating and information areas and commercial space with food and beverage outlets.

It will also feature a sheltered viewing gallery located within the building, providing a panoramic view of the waterway.

Dr Shaun Ho, team manager of Singapore's canoeing team at last month's Youth Olympic Games, believes the watersports centre will be the "final piece in the jigsaw".

"It's just fantastic that we'd soon have a world-class watersports centre," said Dr Ho, 30, a public officer at Republic Polytechnic. "It's been a long time coming, especially as Singapore has always been an ideal location to host world-class events. And it would be great if there were spectator stands, too."

National sailor Natasha Yokoyama, 16, who competed in the Byte CII girls event at the Youth Olympics, added: "It would be good if the watersports centre also had instructors there to guide users, because safety is most important when you do watersports."

Discussions are underway to secure top-class sporting events, including watersports events, at the Sports Hub, as part of the contractual agreement with the Singapore Sports Council to design, build, finance and operate the facility on a 25-year lease in the world's largest private-public partnership.

"There are definitely plans to stage world-class events," said De Rozario. "These are all still being discussed and will take some time before they are entered into the calendar."

14 September 2010

Australia high performance funding

Athletes big winners in new high performance funding@ASC

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) Board today announced the allocation to national sporting organisations (NSO) of $23.2 million in new high performance sport funding.

‘This extra funding is part of the largest package ever allocated to Australian sport,’ the Chair of the ASC Board the Hon Warwick Smith AM said today.

Mr Smith welcomed the support of both sides of politics for this allocation of high performance funding immediately, to meet the needs of sports.

As part of the Australian sport reform package Australian Sport: The Pathway to Success, the Government tasked the ASC with implementing the new direction and distribution of funding.

The new high performance funding injections range from $200,000 to $3 million per annum, benefiting 25 Olympic, Paralympic and non-Olympic Australian sporting bodies.

Swimming Australia and the Australian Paralympic Committee received the highest allocations of $3 million each which will help spearhead Australian elite sport through to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and beyond.

All NSOs were encouraged to bid for the new high performance funding to drive Australia’s continued sporting success.

In order to determine how best to invest the additional high performance funding the ASC developed an improved assessment framework based on the existing ‘Excellence, Relevance and Effectiveness’ criteria utilised by the Commission during previous funding deliberations.

Consistent with the focus on a more collaborative and effective sport system, the ASC consulted with State and Territory Institutes and Academies of Sport and State and Territory Departments of Sport and Recreation, in relation to the assessment criteria prior to making any decisions.

The additional high performance funding has been made to sports seen to demonstrate an ability to deliver successful outcomes in line with the Government’s new direction for sport.

This funding is in addition to the current baseline high performance funding NSO’s will continue to receive.

‘We believe that this high performance funding will provide exciting new opportunities for Australian sporting organisations and the elite athletes that all Australians are so proud of,’ Mr Smith said.

AIS high performance sports programs in 2011

AIS high performance sports programs confirmed for 2011@ASC

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) has announced that the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) will move to support 35 high performance sport programs across 26 sports from 2011 in an effort to ensure the Institute continues to operate as a world class sports training facility.

Like all organisations, the AIS has had to find productivity improvements to sustain its performance and capacity to strategically support high performance sport in Australia.

Recognising the continuing annual rise in costs to deliver and support these programs, the AIS cannot continue to support the current number of programs whilst also maintaining the integrity of the AIS in line with its aspiration to be the world’s best sports institute producing champions for Australia.

In consideration of this, from 2011, the AIS will not deliver high performance programs for three of its current sport programs – archery, boxing and golf - at the conclusion of their respective scholarship periods.

This decision also allows the AIS to maximise Government investment in high performance sport by ensuring the Institute better aligns with the priority high performance sports identified earlier this year by the joint Australian Sports Commission/State and Territory Institutes and Academies of Sport National Assessment Process.

The AIS has informed the national sporting bodies affected by this decision and will work closely with athletes, coaches and staff currently involved in these programs.

Those athletes affected will continue to receive AIS support services in accordance with the AIS Athlete Transition Policy once their programs conclude.

The ASC has allocated extra high performance funding to archery, boxing and golf to support their programs outside of the AIS.

This allocation of extra funding to these sports will allow the sports to run their own high performance programs to best fit their individual needs.

From 2011 the AIS will also remodel the AIS Gymnastics program from a residential to a camps-based program. This shift supports the new high performance plan developed by Gymnastics Australia.