31 December 2011

more Singaporean exercising

More people exercising: SSC survey@straits times

MORE people in Singapore are now exercising and playing some form of sports regularly. More are also into jogging.

These are the findings which have emerged from an internal survey conducted by the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) on 4,000 households in September last year.

The SSC found that 57 per cent of those polled participate in sports and exercise at least once a week, an increase from 46 per cent in 2009. It is also higher than the 55 per cent recorded in 2006. The percentage of people who exercise at least three times a week has also gone up - from 22 per cent in 2009 to 26 per cent last year.

The survey also found that jogging is the most popular form of physical activity, followed by swimming and walking.

However, it seems that only certain groups of people, who have more time on their hands, tend to exercise more. For when the findings were broken down according to age-groups, teenagers aged 13-19 were found to be the most active (83 per cent). They were followed by senior citizens aged 60 and above (59 per cent).

In contrast, young adults aged 20-39 (51 per cent) and those aged between 40-59 (49 per cent) were found to be the least active.

On the whole, it looks like the SSC has achieved its aim of getting more people in Singapore to exercise.

Back in 2006, the SSC had vowed to target the specific needs of different age groups to get at least 50 per cent of Singaporeans active by this year. This was following the release of the results of the National Sports Participation Survey, which is conducted every five years. Back then, many people blamed work and family commitments for a lack of time for exercise.

SSC's Sports Pathways Development senior director Dr Bervyn Lee said: 'In the last five years, the SSC has launched various initiatives to encourage sports participation in Singapore at all levels and demographics.'

These initiatives include the Sports Education Programme introduced in 2007, the Let's Play movement in 2008, and the inaugural Singapore National Games next year, a community multi-sports competition.

20 December 2011

funding for High Performance athletes in NZ

High Performance investments focused on big year of 2012@SPARC


Kiwi athletes and teams who have performed well this year and those likely to do well in an Olympic year are the big winners in today’s 2012 investment announcement by High Performance Sport New Zealand.

High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) Acting Chief Executive Martin Toomey says the focus of today’s announcement is on 2012, with new and continued investment support geared towards Kiwi athletes aiming for podium finishes or top 16 results next year.


``These investment decisions also recognise recent strong performances by Kiwi athletes. We’re really excited by how New Zealanders have been performing on the world stage and we know we’ve got a big year ahead of us with the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games,’’ he says.


``With our investment, we’re supporting sports with athletes who are capable of top 16 performances and podium finishes in 2012. Some new investment has been channeled into sports which have been producing great results on the world stage recently and are focused on doing even better next year.


``While these investment decisions are focused on 2012, we are also signaling support for sports which we expect to prove strong competition for our sporting rivals in 2016.’’


New Zealand’s equestrian eventing team, the men’s and women’s hockey teams, and the men’s and women’s basketball teams are among those to benefit from investment support in 2012.


Hockey is getting a top-up of $600,000 as a result of its performances at the 2011 Champions Trophy tournaments. The Black Sticks men, who finished fourth at the recent Champions Trophy tournament in Auckland, are getting $300,000 on top of the $800,000 they had already been allocated for 2012. This is in addition to the $100,000 HPSNZ provided towards hosting the Champions Trophy on home soil.


The Black Sticks women, who won a bronze medal at their Champions Trophy tournament, will get a top-up of $300,000 on their pre-existing 2012 allocation of $900,000.


New Zealand equestrian eventing is also among those to benefit from increased investment as they target the podium in London. The eventing team will get an extra $250,000 on top of the $1 million previously allocated for 2012.


Basketball benefits with the Tall Blacks and Tall Ferns both supported to qualify for the Olympic Games. Their allocation includes investment to help them to London if they succeed in qualifying.


Rowing is set to get an extra $500,000 on top of its previous allocation, bringing annual investment in its high performance programme to $4.82 million.


``Because Rowing NZ has already qualified 11 crews for the London Olympics and has more elite athletes in squads, it has higher overheads and some of the increased investment reflects that,’’ Toomey says.


BikeNZ will get an extra $200,000 to support its 2012 medal campaign. Part of its increased funding will support its fast-improving women’s track sprint programme.


Toomey says HPSNZ is also investing in Rugby Sevens and has signaled further investment in 2013, as the sport gears up towards entry to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. The investment in the New Zealand Rugby Union for its Sevens programme will support full-time Rugby Sevens coaching staff, Sevens-specific training camps, and international competition for the men and women.


Toomey says the applications for investment this year were for about twice the amount of money available.

09 December 2011

AIS Performance Recovery Symposium

Performance recovery at the Australian Institute of Sport@AIS

Performance recovery at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is provided on a day-to-day basis for non-injured athletes to enhance their ability to train daily and give them strategies they can use in competition. Performance recovery is an emerging speciality of high-performance sport, which now represents a significant aspect of an elite athlete’s training plan.

In 2002, Recovery was a division of the AIS Physiology Department with a staff of one. Now Performance Recovery at the AIS has grown to become a discipline in its own right with six staff.

Each Recovery Physiologist is responsible for servicing athletes from five to eight sports and engaging in their research areas within the Recovery discipline. Evidence-based recovery programs are designed to assist athletes with treatment from physiological stressors associated with training and performance including inflammation, soreness, energy-substrate depletion, oxidative stress, nervous system fatigue, muscle damage and high-core temperatures.

The founding member of Performance Recovery and now its Head of Department, Dr. Shona Halson, began at the AIS in 2002. During her PhD she specialised in overtraining, particularly fatigue, investigating hormonal responses to overtraining and overreaching as well as carbohydrate metabolism, performance and mood changes. Her work at the AIS centres on recovery which is essential for athletes when high levels of fatigue are present.

Dr. Halson explains why Australia is one of the leaders in Performance Recovery.

’As athletes train harder and harder and place more demands on their body and their mind, we need to help them to continue to train at a high level, to minimise excessive fatigue and injury; and to ensure that when they compete they have as low levels of fatigue as possible,’ Dr Halson said.

‘Many other countries view it as recovery from injury, the AIS does that as well in terms of our Physical Therapies Department, but we look at its application from day-to-day training and between events during competition, which is very different”.

The AIS Recovery Centre opened in 2006 and demand for these services continues to increase. Each programmed recovery session is supervised and tailored dependent on environmental conditions, type of athlete and how fatigued the athlete is.

The key recovery strategies are: hydrotherapy, sleep optimisation and compression. These are also the areas in which most of the Recovery department’s research is focussed. Dr. Halson emphasises the importance of research in this new area of high-performance sport to ensure that they can best understand how to apply these strategies using new and improved protocols.

Part of the Recovery Centre research focuses on mechanisms underlying why hydrotherapy is an effective component of athlete recovery. The main techniques used in hydrotherapy are cold water immersion and contrast water therapy, which alternates hot and cold water immersion. Dr. Halson and her colleagues assess how hydrotherapy affects an athlete’s core, skin and muscle temperature, blood flow, hormonal responses and mood responses. Through their research they are also developing sports-specific hydrotherapy protocols.

Dr. Halson considers the guidelines and education provided for athletes around sleep to be their best recovery strategy, yet, despite its importance, there is limited objective research on sleep and elite athletes. In collaboration with the University of South Australia Centre for Sleep Research, a number of sleep studies with AIS athletes are being conducted. Sleep guidelines are tailored to each athlete (based on their individual research data).

The use of compression garments is another area of research in Performance Recovery. Partnering in research and development with 2XU (who supply garments for athletes), Dr. Halson reports that there can be positive physiological, perceptual and performance effects of compression for recovery.

Dr Halson says though recovery practices have been used for centuries, it is only in the last five to six years that it has become more evidence-based. ‘As our knowledge increases and uptake of recovery by coaches increases, there has been a natural progression for recovery as a discipline,’ Dr Halson said. ‘The scientific backing, the development of facilities and implementing recovery as a more structured and formal as part of an athlete’s training program have all helped the rise of recovery.’

An evidence based approach for some of the recovery practices is a significant development in this discipline. Further to this, being able to assist athletes in getting good sleep is the next focus for the recovery at the AIS. It is understood that athletes who don’t have good sleep are more prone to illness and potentially becoming overreached. Reduced or poor quality sleep can especially affect athletes from sports requiring high levels of cognition, such as team sports, where reaction time is important and athletes need to strategise and anticipate.

The Performance Recovery Centre at the AIS is an essential component of an athlete’s training regime, but it is just as important for athletes to have access to these resources when they are competing. To that end, Dr. Halson and her colleagues plan to establish a recovery centre for Australian athletes competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The recovery centre will provide hydrotherapy, massage, active recovery and stretching areas, nutritional and psychological services to athletes.

The next Olympic cycle should see exciting developments in Performance Recovery with novel research into recovery and the brain being Dr. Halson’s key area of interest. Important questions she is looking to answer include whether or not the brain can be manipulated to help athletes sleep, and which recovery strategies might change brain state that could improve sleep.

’The brain controls everything and we now have better technology to understand what is happening at a neural level,’ Dr Halson said. I am very interested to see the effects of recovery on brain state.

‘Many athletes feel better when they have done recovery and I am interested to know if these changes can be observed in the brain.’

As Dr. Halson and her team are gaining an insight into sleep, recovery and brain functioning, development and implementation of these additional cutting-edge recommendations will serve to further enhance the physiological and psychological restoration of our athletes.

The Australian Institute of Sport will be hosting the inaugural AIS Performance Recovery Symposium from 12 to 13 December, 2011. Speakers from the AIS and external experts will discuss recovery strategies around sleep, travel, hydrotherapy, nutrition, physiology, psychology, compression, monitoring, and athletes with a disability

29 November 2011

Singapore to host 2015 SEA Games

SEA Games: Singapore to host 2015 SEA Games@CNA

Singapore will host the 2015 edition of the SEA Games.

This was confirmed at the SEA Games Federation council meeting on Saturday in Palembang, where Singapore were the only member nation to submit an official bid.

This will be the fourth time Singapore will host the Games after the Lion City last staged it in 1993.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also President of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), announced the news to reporters at the Jakabaring Aquatics Complex.

Mr Teo was one of the heads of the regional National Olympic Committees who attended the meeting.

Cambodia were also considering to bid for the 2015 Games, but will now make a possible bid for the 2017 edition.

The next SEA Games in 2013 will be held in Myanmar.

DPM Teo said: "It's very different from the YOG (Youth Olympic Games). The YOG had many different countries participating but each one has a small contingent. We will have slightly more athletes than the YOG, but there will be fewer contingents of course - 11 contingents, but many more athletes for each contingent."

27 October 2011

Alex Baumann as Chief Executive of High Performance Sport NZ

Canadian swimming great to lead High Performance Sport New Zealand@HPS NZ

Canadian swimming great Alex Baumann has today been named as the new Chief Executive of High Performance Sport New Zealand.

Baumann, 47, is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Own the Podium, Canada’s high performance sport programme. He will take up the new role on January 31 next year.

High Performance Sport New Zealand Board chairman Paul Collins says there was an extremely strong field of both local and international applicants for the role, and the board was delighted with the calibre of the appointment.

“We carried out an international search because we wanted someone with the right mix of skills and experience, someone who would bring something really special to this role,” he said.

“Alex Baumann has had an extensive career in high performance sport, both as an athlete and sport administrator. We’re thrilled that he is keen to be part of our vision for high performance sport in New Zealand.”

Baumann is one of Canada’s greatest swimmers, winning gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in both the 200 metre and 400m individual medley races, and in world record times. He also won five gold medals and two silver medals at the 1982 and 1986 Commonwealth Games.

He was twice named World Male Swimmer of the Year, in 1981 and 1984, and is a member of the Canadian Sports and Canadian Amateur Sports Hall of Fame. He has been made an Officer of the Order of Canada and has received the Order of Ontario

Baumann was born in Prague and moved to Canada with his family as a child. He is married to an Australian and spent 15 years living there, during which he was the Executive Director for the Queensland Academy of Sport and Chief Executive Officer of Queensland Swimming. He returned to Canada five years ago to work with that country’s high performance athletes, becoming CE of Own The Podium in April last year.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Murray McCully says Baumann’s appointment is a coup for New Zealand as he has such outstanding international credentials.

“This is a very significant appointment, and indicates how serious the Government is about taking our high performance sport programme to a new level,” he says.

“High performance sport here is getting the largest Government funding injection in its history. We want a culture of excellence, and someone of Alex Baumann’s standing is the right person to lead that.”

Baumann says this is an exciting opportunity for him.

“I’ve always admired how New Zealand does so well on the international stage for a relatively small country. I have a lot of respect for what you’ve achieved, and I’m looking forward to working with the team and seeing what is possible.”

Baumann says he and his wife and two teenage children will also enjoy the opportunity to be closer to family in Australia.

NZ National Training Centre@AUT

Official opening for National Training Centre for high performance athletes at Auckland@HPS NZ

Minister for Sport and Recreation Murray McCully says New Zealanders can look forward to seeing more Kiwi winners on the world stage, as the doors officially open today at the National Training Centre for high performance athletes in Auckland.

High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) is based at the National Training Centre at the AUT Millennium Campus, on Auckland’s North Shore.


Minister for Sport and Recreation Murray McCully (left) and IOC President Jacques Rogge unveil the plaque at the official opening of the National Training Centre at the Millennium Institute.
HPSNZ was established in August by merging SPARC’s high performance unit with the two New Zealand Academies of Sport, and today its new chief executive Alex Baumann was in Auckland for the official opening. Baumann, one of Canada’s greatest ever swimmers, was appointed to the position recently and starts his new role at the end of January 2012.

Mr McCully said today that at the heart of the new organisation was a commitment to excellence.

“The whole team at HPSNZ is dedicated to providing the best support to New Zealand’s elite athletes so that they can perform at their best and win for New Zealand,’’ the Minister says.

“High Performance Sport New Zealand will have an annual spend of $60 million, up on $40m a year previously, and the Government has committed just under $32m to develop world-class training and competition facilities in partnerships with the private sector.

“Our belief is that this investment in facilities coupled with a dedicated high performance system with its focus on excellence will be the envy of other countries, will bring winning results which all New Zealanders can be proud of, and will inspire the next generation of elite Kiwi competitors.

“It’s very exciting to see top athletes using our newest high performance facility, here at the National Training Centre in Auckland.’’

The National Training Centre for high performance athletes was today officially opened by the Minister and the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge, who is in New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup.

The Government made a $15m cornerstone investment in a more than $40m redevelopment at the Millennium Institute of Sport and Health to provide world-class facilities for high performance athletes. These facilities include testing, training, treatment and recovery areas for high performance athletes as well as HPSNZ offices and support areas.

The Government has also invested in regional high performance centres at Wellington and Dunedin, a national cycling centre of excellence which will be based at Cambridge and have operations for all Olympic bike disciplines, the high performance centre for rowing at Lake Karapiro, and an ocean water sports centre in Auckland. The Government is also committed to providing high performance training facilities for Canterbury-based athletes.

Mr McCully also announced today that to reflect the alignment of the sport system and HPSNZ, from next year SPARC will be known as Sport New Zealand.

“SPARC’s strategic focus has changed in recent years and Sport NZ better captures this. Sport NZ will continue to invest in community sport and recreation and build capacity across the entire sector in its role leading the single sport and recreation system.’’

24 August 2011

reshaping High Performance Sport NZ

Reshaping high performance sport@HPSNZ

Minister for Sport and Recreation, Murray McCully, has announced the inaugural board of directors for the new organisation “High Performance Sport New Zealand.”

High Performance Sport NZ has been formed by merging the SPARC high performance unit with the two New Zealand Academies of Sport into a streamlined unit.

It will develop high performance athletes with an annual spend of $60 million dollars and further develop world-class training facilities in partnerships with the private sector.

“I am pleased the current Chairman of SPARC, Paul Collins, will be the first Chairman of High Performance Sport New Zealand,” said Mr McCully.

The other board appointments consist of three sitting members from the SPARC board: Katie Sadleir, Don Mackinnon and Bill Birnie; NZ Academy of Sport nominations Mike Stanley (North Island) and Peter Cox (South Island); New Zealand Olympic Committee nominee, Simon Wickham; and two independent members, Mark Weldon and Hamish Carter. The Board also includes SPARC CEO Peter Miskimmin as an ex-officio member.

“This is a significant announcement for high performance sport in New Zealand, as this new entity will focus on building a culture which pursues excellence and allows athletes to focus on performance rather than funding,” said Mr McCully.

Earlier this year, SPARC and the New Zealand Academies of Sport announced an agreement in principle to merge. Since then a working group has been working on the design of the new entity, which will be a subsidiary of SPARC, but which will have a majority of external directors.

“High Performance Sport NZ will have its own CEO and an international search is now underway as part of the transition process,” said the Minister.

The new Chairman of High Performance Sport New Zealand, Paul Collins, says input from the NZOC, sport organisations, coaches and athletes is proving valuable in finalising the design and transition plan for the new entity.

“The Government injection of new capital and operating funding last year has presented the sector with an amazing opportunity to assess what’s possible,” he said.

16 August 2011

A year to go: engineering sport for London 2012

The common perception of engineering and sport is that of shiny new bikes, aerodynamic helmets and sleek bobsleds. I often get asked, “isn’t it just the best equipment that wins now, rather than the athlete?” The answer – to me at least – is obviously “no” and I’ve spent my working life working on sports engineering. I’ll explain why.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to a celebration at the Houses of Parliament to celebrate the ‘backroom’ achievements of the engineers and scientists used by UK Sport to help their sports. On the main stage was Amy Williams, UK’s skeleton bobsleigh Gold medalist from Vancouver, along with “Arthur” her trusty sled. The easy headline is one of a single piece of equipment as some sort of magic for winning a gold medal and the project won The Engineer’s Sports Innovation Award in 2010.

15 August 2011

YOG 2010 legacy: Singapore Youth Olympic Festival

A year ago yesterday, Singapore was awash in Youth Olympic Games (YOG) fever as a dazzling opening ceremony at the Floating Platform at Marina Bay kicked off 12 days of sporting competition for the inaugural games.

Yesterday morning, some 1,000 of the 20,000 volunteers who helped ensure the YOG ran smoothly - affectionately dubbed the Purple Army - turned up for the Singapore Youth Olympic Festival, the first of an annual reunion organised by the Singapore Olympic Foundation to continue the legacy of the historic games.

This year's festival at the Singapore Expo is a week-long showcase of five different sports - futsal, table-tennis, badminton, basketball and taekwondo.

Singapore National Olympic Council president Teo Chee Hean noted that the Youth Olympics had generated greater interest for certain sports, among them archery and fencing.

"What's important is the wonderful spirit taken forward ... We want more young people to be interested in sports, (to) build a bigger base so that we can develop good sportsmen.

"What we need is good organisation, good volunteers to come forward and sports federations that are well-managed," he added.

Youth Olympic medallists Audrey Yong (sailing) and Jeffrey Lightfoot (football) helped to hand over a donation to four badminton players from Japan's tsunami-hit Fukushima prefecture who are here for the festival.

The festivities were also attended by Ino Menegaki, the High Priestess of the Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony from Olympia, Greece.

05 August 2011

Team Singapore recovery centre@London Olympics

Better sports medicine support for S'pore Olympians in 2012@straits times

THE Singapore Sports Council (SSC) has ramped up its activities to provide the best facilities for the country's athletes for the London 2012 Olympics.

Kicking off its list of preparations is the agreement the SSC has signed with the University of East London (UEL) to base the Team Singapore recovery centre at its Stratford Campus, SSC said in a press release.

This is where SSC will offer a wider range of sports medicine and sports science support for Team Singapore athletes compared to any other Olympic Games in the past. Occupying a space of about 270sqm on the premises of the temporary teaching building, it is a short five-minute drive away from the Athlete's Village. This Team Singapore recovery centre is about three times bigger than the one it had at the Beijing Olympics. The additional space allows for a wider range of recovery services to be available to the athletes, including nutrition and physiology, which were not offered at the last Olympics.

A team of eight sports medicine and sports science staff comprising a medical officer, psychologist, nutritionist, physiologist and four physiotherapists and masseurs will be based at this centre. Following Team USA, Team Singapore is the second, to secure a space at UEL for its onsite operations for the Games.

'The Team Singapore recovery centre plays a critical role in our athletes' performance as it will keep them in optimal condition to compete. Finding a good location, coupled with a comprehensive suite of services were key priorities,' said Bob Gambardella, chief of Sports Development Group and Singapore Sports Institute, SSC. 'Being so close to the Village will allow our athletes to make an easy and seamless transition to the recovery centre', added Gambardella who was present at the signing ceremony at UEL.

UEL Pro Vice-Chancellor Selena Bolingbroke welcomed the deal and said: 'The partnership is also an opportunity to build the legacy that will continue beyond 2012 and into the future, to boost participation in sport and meet UEL's aim of being the best university in London for sport by 2015.'

06 July 2011

Singapore as a swimming training base 2

Plenty for swim fans to dive into@straits times

SWIM fans will get a chance to meet some of the world's top swimmers when they dock here for training camps ahead of next week's World Championships in Shanghai.

The Australian team, featuring Olympic gold medallists Stephanie Rice and Leisel Jones, will host a training-cum-autograph session at Tanah Merah Country Club on July 16.

On the same day, the French team, including reigning Olympics 100m freestyle champion Alain Bernard, will be signing autographs at the Singapore Sports School.

Some 300 swimmers, divers, and water polo players from 25 countries will be in town from this weekend. The contingents include powerhouses Canada (swimming) and Hungary (water polo).

Since 2006, about 1,500 athletes from 30 countries - including American swimmer Michael Phelps - have made training stops in Singapore.

In the case of the World Championships, Singapore is considered an ideal stopover because it shares the same time zone and a similar climate with Shanghai.

While in town, water polo players and divers will also be serving up some competitive action.

From July 9 to 13, a pre-World Championships water polo tournament will be held at Toa Payoh Swimming Complex. The competition features six teams.

Sweden's diving queen Anna Lindberg will also feature at the 2nd Singapore Diving Invitational from July 8 to 10 at the same venue.

She is the European champion in the 3m springboard and will be joined by divers from Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei and Indonesia.

Singapore Sports Council's sports development group chief Bob Gambardella said the Republic has plenty to gain from the visiting athletes.

'They bring with them experience and knowledge that we will be able to tap into and share with the local sports fraternity,' he said.

02 July 2011

Singapore Youth Olympic Festival as a YOG legacy

A Youth Olympic Festival for all@straits times

THE spirit of last August's inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) is set to live on - in the form of the upcoming Singapore Youth Olympic Festival (SYOF).

From Aug 13-21, the public will get to take part in the SYOF, which will be held in conjunction with the first Community Sports Competition (CSC).

They will be able to choose from five sports - table tennis, badminton, taekwondo, three-on-three basketball and five-a-side football - at the Singapore Expo.

Ng Ser Miang, chairman of the Singapore Olympic Foundation, announced yesterday that the annual event will serve as a 'platform to encourage youth to take up sports' and mark the YOG's first anniversary.

Said Ng, who is also an International Olympic Committee vice-president: 'There have been a lot of complaints that young people have to go through school competitions and have no formal opportunity to participate in sports they like.'

'This is going to be a very open event without any qualification marks.'

Flanked by six of the Republic's YOG medallists - taekwondo exponent Daryl Tan, sailor Audrey Yong, swimmer Rainer Ng as well as footballers Jeffrey Lightfoot, Dhukhilan Jeevamani and Sunny Ng - at the picturesque Marina Bay Golf Course, he added that future editions could be expanded to include athletes from other countries.

But, for now, organisers are hoping to draw at least 2,000 local athletes to this year's event, which is expected to cost around $800,000.

Said Ng: 'Anybodycan just put in an application and there will be different levels of athletes taking part. But I believe it will be an interesting competition and we might even discover some stars.'

Added footballer Dhukhilan, 16: 'It's a great way to inspire young people to try out a sport and you have to start somewhere.'

There will be three categories for the public to sign up for - Youth (13-16 years old), Open (17 years and above) and Masters (40 years and above).

For more details about the SYOF and how to take part, log on to www.singaporesports.sg

30 June 2011

IOC guidelines on blog and twitter during London 2012

Olympics chiefs approve Twitter use at London 2012@BBC

Competitors may write only "first-person, diary-type" entries but should not act as reporters, International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidelines say.

All social media activity must respect the Olympic Charter, which bans political demonstrations.

Postings deemed to be for commercial purposes will not be permitted.

The guidelines, which were highlighted by the Australian Olympic Committee on Monday after initially being published on the IOC website, explain that the IOC "actively encourages and supports athletes... to take part in 'social media' and to post, blog and tweet their experiences".

But the IOC cautioned that the accreditations of "any organisation or person... may be withdrawn without notice" if its guidelines are breached.

Athletes will be able to upload still photographs taken at venues - a practice which was mostly banned in Beijing in 2008 - but will not be allowed to sell or distribute them for other purposes.

The broadcast of video and audio taken inside Olympic venues will be banned but athletes may post videos taken elsewhere.

Athletes will not be able to use the official Olympics symbol, and any reference to the word "Olympic" must be factual and "not associated with any third party or any third party's products or services".

Internet domain names and URLs including the word "Olympic" or "Olympics" will not be allowed either, unless approved by the IOC.

The perils of Twitter postings made headlines in June when there was a very public disagreement between triple-jump world champion Phillips Idowu and the head of UK Athletics, Charles van Commenee.

Idowu angered Van Commenee by using the micro-blogging site to reveal he was pulling out of the European Team Championships.

Van Commenee responded by saying that "these things are done personally, there are certain channels you have to follow".

customised training programme for selected Singapore Sports School athletes

Target: World's Top 100@straits times

A SELECT group of student-athletes at the Singapore Sports School (SSP) will be put on a customised training programme aimed at moulding them into being among the world's best.

For these athletes, just donning national colours will not be enough.

'This project hopes to see its student-athletes reach top-100 world ranking standards from 2015,' said SSP principal Deborah Tan yesterday when announcing the School Within A School programme.

'While we continue to be a major pipeline for the Singapore national team... our school has yet to produce players that can achieve significant breakthroughs in the open category on the international stage.'

For now, SSP's tie-up is with the Singapore Badminton Association, Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) and the Singapore Golf Association.

Eighteen students from these three National Sports Associations are on the programme.

'We're going with a modest start for now,' said Tan. 'If the programme holds up very well, there's no reason not to include more talented student-athletes into it.'

She added that the SSP is also looking at introducing other sports to the programme.

Funding for the programme will come from the $35 million EW Barker Endowment awarded to the SSP last year.

Training for this elite group will last longer than usual and will take place in the day, with schoolwork at night.

They will also get a team of coaches, sparring partners and teachers. There will just be three to five students in a class. The usual class size in the SSP is about 25.

These athletes' academic and sporting performances will be key to their continued stay in the programme.

For shuttler Fiona Seah, the biggest adjustment will not be the training but the night classes.

Said the 16-year-old: 'Training will probably be tougher, but it's going for lessons at night that I will have to get used to.'

Echoing this view, paddler Darren Loy said: 'It'll be tough to go for lessons after a whole day of intensive training.'

The 13-year-old has the full backing of parents Loy Soo Han and Jing Junhong - both former national paddlers.

Jing, who is also deputy head coach for the national women's table tennis team, said: 'As a parent, I also have my concerns about academics. But it's about quality, not quantity.

'It's even better now as you have a teacher to concentrate on just a few students.'

26 June 2011

Singapore as a swimming training base

Top swimmers to train in S'pore@straits times

A star-studded cast of the world's top swimmers, such as Olympic gold medallists Stephanie Rice and Alain Bernard, are scheduled to arrive in Singapore ahead of next month's World Swimming Championships in Shanghai.

Eighteen countries, including swimming powerhouse Australia, France, South Africa and Canada, will conduct their pre-competition training camps here to adapt to the regional climate and adjust to the time zone.

Spearheading the Australian squad who will be training at the Toa Payoh swimming complex is Rice. The 22-year-old holds the world record for the 400m individual medley and won three gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

She will be accompanied by breaststroke specialist Leisel Jones, who won the 100m in Beijing. There is also Alicia Coutts, who clocked the fastest 100m fly time in the world this season in 57.25sec. Coutts will likely compete against local swim queen Tao Li in Shanghai.

The Australians, who will arrive in the middle of next month, have the largest squad with about 45 athletes.

Another notable mention is Frenchman Bernard, 28, who was once the world's fastest man over the 50m and 100m freestyle.

Using Singapore as a training base is nothing new. Many countries had picked the Republic as a training and acclimatisation base ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, among them Canada, Japan and the United States.

An official who was involved in organising the Beijing training stint said: 'The United States' swimming camp in 2008 was very successful. I think that opened the way for more countries to come here.'

15 June 2011

Sport England project Sportivate: to engage youth to sport

Sport England launches £32 million project to get young people into sport as part of Olympic legacy push@inside the games

June 14 - Sport England has today launched a £32 million ($52 million) National Lottery-funded project to get hundreds of thousands of teenagers and young adults into sport as part of a new programme aiming to fulfil the legacy promise made by London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe to "inspire young people to choose sport".

The new project called Sportivate will give 14-to-25-year-olds who aren't currently playing sport in their own time the chance to receive six to eight weeks of coaching in a sport of their choice.

As part of the Places People Play mass participation legacy programme, Sportivate is aiming to see 300,000 teenagers and young adults completing sports courses over the next four years.

"Lots of young people think sport isn't for them," said Sport England chief executive Jennie Price.

"I would like them to have the chance to discover whether there is a sport they really enjoy, so this programme is all about choice.

"Everyone who takes part will receive high quality coaching - giving them the confidence and skills that will make them want to keep playing in the future."

Sportivate will be delivered by the network of 49 county sports partnerships who will work with local providers and sports clubs to help the youngsters continue taking part long after they have completed their course.

To help inspire and motivate the participants, Sporting Champions - a team of current and retired elite athletes - will visit Sportivate sessions to share their experiences and enthusiasm for sport.

Sport and the Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson said: "This £32 million ($52 million) Lottery programme launched by Sport England will give hundreds of thousands of teenagers and young adults across the country the opportunity to try out and get coached in the sport of their choice.

"I'm sure these same young people will also be inspired when the world's greatest athletes compete here at next summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games and will then want to stay involved in sport for many years to come."


The move was also backed by London 2012 hopeful Zoe Smith (pictured) who became the youngest ever weightlifting Commonwealth medallist when she won bronze at the 2010 Delhi Games at the age of 16.

"Getting the chance to get out and try a new sport is fantastic," she said.

"I didn't take up my sport until I was 12 so it just shows if you're up for some fun and trying something new, you can find a sport you really want to stick with."

As an additional incentive, teenagers and young adults who stick with sport will have the chance to enter a ballot for free London 2012 tickets.

Sport England has hundreds of Olympic and Paralympic tickets available for Sportivate participants via the London 2012 Ticketshare initiative.

In order to be eligible for London 2012 Ticketshare, participants will need to complete the sports course, missing no more than one session, and then continue to participate in sport for at least three months.

Sportivate is an inclusive programme that will create opportunities for disabled and non-disabled participants, while courses on offer include eight-week beginners' judo tuition in Lincoln, mixed tennis sessions for 17-to-24-year-olds in Newcastle upon Tyne and a parkour introductory course at Waveney in Suffolk.

In total, Sport England will invest £8 million ($13 million) of National Lottery funding per year over the next four years into Sportivate.

09 June 2011

World Class Performance Conference to be held in November 2011

World Class Performance Conference set to ExCel in London@UK Sport

UK Sport has today announced that the 2011 World Class Performance Conference will be held in the heart of east London, home to the London 2012 Olympic Park, at ExCel London in the Royal Docks.

Taking place in London for the first time, the Conference will run from Monday 14 to Wednesday 16 November, and provide the final opportunity for the entire high performance Olympic and Paralympic community to unite ahead of London 2012. Fittingly, ExCel London will be an Olympic venue when the Games get underway in 416 days time, hosting seven Olympic and six Paralympic events, including Taekwondo, Judo, Boccia, Table Tennis, Fencing, Sitting Volleyball and Boxing.

Since its inception in 2001, the World Class Performance Conference has become the key event in the diaries of coaches, performance directors and sports science and medicine practitioners, as the one opportunity every year for the entire Olympic and Paralympic high performance community to come together to network, debate and share best practice. The aim is to equip these individuals with the skills and knowledge to make sustainable improvements to their sport’s World Class Performance Programme.

Looking ahead to the critical period leading up to the Games, as well as British prospects beyond 2012 at Glasgow and Sochi in 2014 and Rio in 2016, the Conference this year will explore the theme of ‘Aspiration’. Following previous Conference themes of ‘Teamship’ (2009) and ‘Courage’ (2010), this year’s event will focus on the immediate aspirations for success next summer, as well as the aspiration to generate a high performance legacy that goes far beyond the impending milestone of London 2012.

Sam Whale, Coaching Team Co-ordinator, said: “The Conference is a key development opportunity for the people who are driving the performances of British athletes forward on a day to day basis. Following the Beijing Games in 2008, we have designed each of the Conferences that have followed with London 2012 in mind, and this will complete the journey, offering a chance for collaboration, as well as sharing challenges and best practice, heading into the Games next year.”

Peter Keen, Director of Performance, said: “The Conference is now in its 11th consecutive year, having become an important annual event in British high performance sport. This year, more than most, is significant given that come November we will be a little over eight months from the London start line.

“Our theme of aspiration reflects the short term hopes and ambitions we share for 2012, as well as the unique opportunity that hosting the Games presents towards driving long term success in British sport.

“I am very much looking forward to bringing all our Performance Directors, Coaches and key support staff together at Excel London, right at the heart of where our home Games will take place.”

06 June 2011

UK Sport’s Research & Innovation on skill acquisition

Funding opportunity for research into 'skill learning and retention' in elite athletes@UK Sport

UK Sport’s Research & Innovation team, along with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) are seeking research applicants who could potentially benefit elite athletes as part of the legacy following the London 2012 Games.

BBSRC, the UK's leading funding agency for academic research and training in the non-clinical life sciences, and UK Sport are keen to explore the understanding of the biological and psychological basis of skill learning and retention, with the ultimate aim of improved maintenance of an individual's skills base and improved training methodologies for elite athletes.

UK Sport’s Head of Research and Innovation, Dr Scott Drawer, said: “Elite athletes need to maintain a wide range of skills, and have the ability to acquire new ones during the course of their career. Understanding how elite athletes are able acquire and retain their skills will inform on the broader population as it faces the prospect of longer working lives and the continued introduction of new technologies within the home, work, and wider environments.”

Applicants are asked to consider one or more of the following challenges in their proposal, which must be submitted to BBSRC by 10 August:

How does cognitive capability interact with the social and physical environment to influence the development of skill and expertise, and are there markers for skill acquisition?
What cognitive and psychological factors facilitate an individual's ability to maintain a high level of performance, and what affects an individual's resilience?
How do we optimise the retention, as well as the learning and retraining of skills by an individual to maximise the performance and flexibility of their skill base?
To promote a multidisciplinary approach, ESRC has agreed to provide co-funding for suitable applications which fall partially within its remit.

27 April 2011

More Singapore athletes funded by Olympic Pathway Programme

More to get funds boost@straits times

A CLUTCH of national athletes look set to go on the Olympic Pathway Programme (OPP) to boost Singapore's hopes of winning medals at the 2012 London Games.

It will be the first time new names are being added to the original list of six athletes since the OPP, which provides additional funding to medal hopefuls, was launched in May 2009.

The Straits Times understands that shuttlers Yao Lei and Shinta Mulia Sari will be joined by a few shooters.

Yao and Shinta won the women's doubles silver at last October's Commonwealth Games, and became the first Singaporeans to clinch a Super Series title at the Singapore Open last June.

The shooters who have been picked are believed to be gold medallists at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Newly crowned Sportsman of the Year Gai Bin, Poh Lip Meng, Nigel Lim and Aqilah Sudhir all topped the podium in New Delhi, and will be hoping to join teammate Jasmine Ser in the OPP.

Ser, paddlers Feng Tianwei, Wang Yuegu, Sun Beibei and Yu Mengyu, and swimmer Tao Li formed the first batch of athletes when the OPP was introduced by Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Community Development, Youth and Sports, and Transport) Teo Ser Luck.

Mr Teo oversees the OPP's steering committee, which also comprises Singapore Sports Council and Singapore National Olympic Council representatives.

Thus far, a war-chest of $6.3 million has been set aside for the six athletes.

This translates to about $1 million for each, and is a top-up over and above the annual grants to the respective national sports associations.

The funds, from the Government and the Singapore Totalisator Board, are largely used for training and competition expenses.

The OPP's qualifying criteria differ with each sport, and are based on factors such as the level of competition and the events they participated in.

It is also important that the athletes carry a high world ranking or have had significant achievements at the World Championships or equivalent competitions for their sport.

Yao and Shinta boast a world No. 10 ranking in the women's doubles, and carry Singapore's badminton hopes in London. Yao said: 'It serves as motivation to work harder.'

With the Olympics just 15 months away, Singapore Shooting Association high performance executive Ho Tsu Cher said the OPP will be both a funding and confidence booster for the selected shooters.

'It'll be a shot in the arm for them as they try to bring Singapore sports to another level,' he said.

But Olympic silver medallist Li Jiawei could miss out. Li was omitted from the initial selection in 2009 as she was pregnant then. Now, the world No. 23 is the third-highest ranked Singapore paddler, behind Feng (No. 6) and Wang (No. 12).

According to a source, it is because there are already four paddlers in the programme. It would be difficult to have a fifth when the Olympics team event consists of only three players, said the source.

19 April 2011

the finals of Wimbledon to be filmed in 3D

SONY AND WIMBLEDON SERVE A 3D ACE@Wimbledon

For the first time ever, the finals of Wimbledon, the premier tennis championships in the world will this year be filmed in 3D and screened live in High Definition 3D to 3D capable cinemas around the world. The live 3D production, in partnership with the Wimbledon host broadcaster the BBC, will also be offered to interested global broadcasters.

Sony and The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) today announced their multi-year partnership to bring Wimbledon in 3D to suitably equipped cinemas around the world, offering the perfect opportunity for fans to experience The Championships like never before in a completely new environment, while retaining all the excitement and atmosphere of the famous Centre Court. Sony will work with SuperVision Media, their theatrical distribution partners, to bring the excitement of 3D tennis to 3D cinemas worldwide.

The AELTC/Sony/BBC production of the Men's Singles Semi-Finals and the Ladies' and Men’s Singles Finals will be filmed in High Definition 3D and will also be offered to rights holders and interested global broadcasters seeking unique and compelling content for their 3D channels. The two parties also have a commitment to deliver 3D tennis to a much wider audience over time.

Sony is uniquely placed to capture and broadcast the finals of the Wimbledon Championships in Live 3D, bringing the exhilaration and atmosphere of Wimbledon to a larger audience than ever before, with every forehand, smash and volley yours to appreciate in stunning 3D reality. All you need to supply are the strawberries and cream.

Fujio Nishida, President of Sony Europe commented, "We are delighted to be working with The All England Lawn Tennis Club to bring such a high profile sporting event to consumers around the world in 3D. Watching tennis in High Definition 3D is a stunning experience, bringing the speed of the action and the emotions of the occasion to life; it is as close to the atmosphere and excitement of Centre Court as actually being there. With the Live 3D Wimbledon experience available in hundreds of 3D cinemas across the world, many more people will be able to enjoy one of the world’s most iconic sporting events as though they were actually at Wimbledon."

Ian Ritchie, Chief Executive of The All England Lawn Tennis Club, said, "Wimbledon is renowned for its heritage and sense of tradition. At the same time we are always looking for ways to improve the presentation of The Championships by successfully blending that tradition with innovation. We are delighted that our 3D partnership with Sony will not only guarantee we are at the cutting edge of live sporting television, but also deliver a compelling new viewing experience for our global audiences, especially amongst our younger supporters."

08 April 2011

the reach of YOG articles from Jan to Sep 2010 totalled 1.3 billion

YOG online coverage totals 1.3b readers, says IOC study@straits times

COVERAGE of last year's Youth Olympic Games in Singapore was read by the equivalent of a fifth of the world's population over nine months, a study commissioned by the International Olympic Committee has found.

Done by media analysis and monitoring firm Fisheye Analytics, which also counts the World Economic Forum as another client, the study found that the reach of YOG articles from January to September last year totalled 1.3 billion.

The research tracked online mentions in sources such as newspaper websites, Facebook, Twitter and blogs. It excluded print news and television broadcasts.

The editorial marketing value, or how much a client would have had to pay to be featured in that article, was measured at US$54.6 million (S$68.8 million).

From Aug 1 to Sept 20, more than half of the coverage came from media outside Singapore - including Yahoo news and major global newspapers' sites.

Lydia Ng, the vice-president of marketing for the Singapore-registered Fisheye, explained how it came up with the figures yesterday.

'In a nutshell, we get all kinds of word traffic figures from commercial providers,' she said. 'From those figures, we derive the number of unique visitors that go to a website.

'Looking also at the page views per visitor, we derive, with our own formula, the probability the viewer would have seen a YOG article on the site.'

The total figure is reached by adding up all the views across all the media monitored, with more value given to well-known media.

Ng highlighted that despite having just a tenth of the articles that cited the Vancouver Winter Olympics, the YOG had an editorial marketing value one-third of the event, in February last year.

But the YOG still lags behind the summer Olympics. Editorial media value figures for the 2008 Beijing Games were not available, but studies have estimated that 4.7 billion viewers worldwide tuned in to the event.

For the 2004 Olympics in Athens, this was 3.9 billion. In contrast, the YOG had an estimated TV audience reach of 247 million.

When told of the research figures, Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Community Development, Youth and Sports) Teo Ser Luck said: 'The YOG has generated good publicity in terms of capturing people's attention.'

He also highlighted some intangible benefits of hosting the YOG, such as a greater interest in sports marketing.

07 April 2011

Singapore's Olympic preparations

UK training stint for Olympic hopefuls@Straits Times

SINGAPORE'S preparations for next year's Olympic Games in London have been stepped up, with a three-week training camp in England lined up for the country's best medal prospects.

A total of 40 athletes and 26 officials - from badminton, shooting, table tennis, swimming and the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) - will be based at the Surrey Sports Park this summer, a full year before the 2012 London Games.

Besides being the first time local athletes will train in the host Olympic country so far in advance, the presence of the SSC's sports medicine and sports science division will also simulate the conditions of a major multi-sports event.

'We've looked at the other top nations and have tried to adopt their best practices,' said SSC's chief of sports development group Bob Gambardella.

'It's vital that our athletes acclimatise themselves with the conditions as soon as possible.'

A second camp has also been scheduled for next summer, prior to the July 27-Aug 12 Games. Funding for both camps will be provided by the SSC.

The list of athletes for this subsequent stint will be finalised later, depending on the athletes' qualification for the Games.

The SSC had visited four training sites last year and picked the University of Surrey-based complex, which opened early last year. It is 50km south-west of Central London and a 11/2-hour drive from the Games Village.

It also boasts world-class sports facilities. 'They are clustered within one area, making it easy for athletes and officials to access,' noted Gambardella.

Such camps are common practice before major international meets. In 2008, the US swim team were based in Singapore for two weeks for an acclimatisation-cum-training camp before the Beijing Games.

Getting used to the weather and food at the competition venue is crucial, noted the Republic's top shuttler Derek Wong, part of the 10-man squad nominated by his association.

'Even small details are important,' he added. 'Like familiarising yourself with the area and finding a good jogging route to warm up before your tournament begins.'

Others who are likely to make the trip include Asian Games gold medallist and butterfly specialist Tao Li, Commonwealth Games shooting champions Jasmine Ser and Aqilah Sudhir and both the men and women's table tennis teams.

A Surrey base for Team Singapore@today

SINGAPORE - Reigning Olympic table tennis silver medallists Feng Tianwei, Li Jiawei, Wang Yuegu, Sun Beibei and Yu Mengyu will pack their bags for Surrey, England, in July as part of a Team Singapore contingent at a training camp ahead of next year's London Games.

Organised by the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), the camp, one of two on the calendar, will help Olympic hopefuls experience and acclimatise themselves to London's weather before the 2012 Games, which will be held in London from July 27 to Aug 12.

The first training stint at the Surrey Sports Park will be held from July 27 to Aug 14 this year, with up to 40 athletes and 26 officials from four sports - badminton (10 athletes), shooting (10), swimming (8) and table tennis (12) - making the trip.

They will be accompanied by six support staff from the Singapore Sports Institute.

A second camp will be held from July 14 to 24 next year, with the size of the group to be confirmed closer to the date.

The two training stints, the first of its kind, will be funded by the SSC and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG). The LOCOG will give up to £25,000 (S$51,000) to each National Olympic Committee that sends a team to an approved pre-Games camp in Britain.

The SSC's search for a pre-Games training base featured four possible venues - Loughborough University in East Midlands, Malborough College in Wiltshire, Millfield School (Somerset) and the Surrey facility.

Bob Gambardella, the SSC's chief of Sports Development Group, said: "After careful evaluation, the Surrey Sports Park was chosen as it best met the training needs of Team Singapore.

"Their sport and supporting facilities are sports specific and are of international standards. Their facilities are also relatively new and clustered within one area, making it easy for athletes and officials to access.

"Of the four locations, the Surrey Sports Park is also the closest to the Olympic Games Village in east London, approximately an hour-and-half's drive away."

Built at a cost of £35 million and completed in April last year, the Surrey facility is home to a 50-metre indoor swimming pool, three multi-purpose sports halls, 10 grass and three artificial pitches, eight outdoor and indoor tennis courts, a 700-sqm fitness centre and a 60m sprint track.

It hosted the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup and is home to the Harlequins Rugby Club and Surrey Spartans Hockey Club.

Singapore Table Tennis Association president Lee Bee Wah gave the initiative the thumbs up.

"We have been looking around for places for our players to train (before the Olympics), so it is good to hear that SSC are coming out with this as it can save us some costs," said Lee. "We can also get other support like physiotherapists, psychologists and nutritionists, so it's very good."

At the 2008 Beijing Games, Team Singapore was represented in six sports - athletics, badminton, shooting, sailing, swimming and table tennis.

Singapore's sailors are expected to spend time acclimatising to conditions in Weymouth, when they compete in the Skandia Sail for Gold event and a pre-Games regatta this August.

04 April 2011

Singapore YOG 2010 official report

Blazing The Trail, Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games (Official Report)@Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports

This 107-page report on the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) covers Singapore’s journey to bid and host the world’s first Youth Olympic Games. Key facts and figures are provided alongside personal accounts from athletes, volunteers and organisers.

The report - colourful, photo-rich and visually stunning – provides a thorough and comprehensive account of the Singapore 2010 YOG from preparation to the 12 days of non-stop sporting events to post-game reflections. The cultural and educational activities, woven into the fabric of the Singapore 2010 YOG, made it the world’s first Olympic event with equal emphasis on culture and education.

23 March 2011

Schools Olympic Program in Qatar

Healthy lifestyle takes Qatar priority as SOP points youngsters down Olympic way@Sports Features

AMPA/DOHA, Mar 18: The Qatar Olympic Committee's (QOC) Schools Olympic Program (SOP), an initiative to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst the youth of Qatar, concludes today/Saturday.

This follows qualification courses at the Aspire Academy of Sports Excellence in Doha. The SOP sees school boys and girls from five to to 18 competing for medals in common Olympic sports - including fencing, swimming, athletics, gymnastics, table tennis, basketball, football, handball, and volleyball.

The SOP also promoted a Special Day for students with special needs to compete in a variety of events.

This week was the conclusion of an action-packed five-month season which involved 17,000 students from more than 300 schools. In fact, the program aims to do more than teach a healthy lifestyle but is also intended to promote the Olympic movement among Qatari youth.

It has been such a success that the QOC was awarded the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktourn Sport Creativity Award in Dubai in January. The award was given because of the tangible efforts in developing sport through SOP.

Tommy Sithole, IOC director of international cooperation and development attending the finals, said: “Qatar as a country and the Qatar Olympic Committee are setting the pace in the area of educating young people to be environmentally conscious, and therefore ensuring their own future.

"Investing in young people and imbuing in them a culture of care, is the best gift the leadership and community can bequeath to children.”

The Program was started in 2007 by heir-apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani under the banner of 'Sport for Health'. The second installment promoted 'Sport and Environment'. The third instalment focused on 'Sport and Culture'.

09 March 2011

Singapore athlete support schemes

@today

SINGAPORE - National Service (NS) and the Foreign Sports Talent (FST) scheme, two subjects that consistently come up for debate in sports circles, were discussed in Parliament yesterday.

Speaking during the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) Committee of Supply Debate, Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah pointed to statistics that showed male paddlers accounting for 34 gold medals out of the 74 won at the last three Commonwealth and Asian Games.

"From 2002 to 2010 only 15 male gold medallists were below 30 ... that is less than two per year. The number is very small and I think it (deferment and possible exemption) is worth exploring and implementing."

Lee, president of the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA), suggested male athletes be allowed to defer their NS, possibly to when they turn 30.

She even suggested athletes be exempted from NS if they achieve gold medal success at the Commonwealth or Asian Games, or a medal at the Olympics.

Responding, Teo Ser Luck, MCYS Senior Parliamentary Secretary, said: "MCYS and Mindef have made efforts to minimise the impact of NS on sporting development of our top male athletes and their preparation for major competitions. The SAF Sportsmen Scheme allows athletes with strong medal potential time off and Full-Pay Unrecorded Leave during their full-time NS, to train and participate in major competitions."

Teo cited the example of national sailor Justin Liu, who was granted deferment by Mindef to train for last November's Asian Games in Guangzhou. Liu, 19, and partner Sherman Cheng, also 19, won gold in the boys 470 event.

"Mindef also considers on a case by case basis where athletes may delay enlistment to prepare, or (seek) deferment. I can't speak for Mindef on exemption, but I think that is something that you may want to raise with Mindef to consider."

Nominated MP Joscelin Yeo, the most successful athlete in the history of the SEA Games with 40 gold medals, asked Teo if the FST scheme had any impact on the development of Singapore-born talent. The former swim star wondered if MCYS would "consider putting a cap on the ratio of foreign talents to locals", to encourage national sports associations (NSAs) to develop and improve their youth development programmes.

Stressing that the MCYS were committed to nurturing local youth, Teo pointed out that there were only 33 foreign-born athletes in the total number of 994 in the country's national squads. Citing the success of Youth Olympic Games silver medallist (table tennis) and Singapore Sports School graduate Isabelle Li, Teo said the ministry had invested close to S$80 million in the Sports School over the last five years and would pump in another S$20 million for FY2011.

"Going forward, we'll continue to identify and develop our youth sporting talents. Through the Singapore Sports School and planned Singapore Sports Institute, we'll provide holistic support to our top sporting talents to help them realise their potential," he added.

06 March 2011

AUS European Training Centre official open

Minister for Sport officially opens the ETC@ASC

Minister for Sport Mark Arbib today officially opened the European Training Centre (ETC), a new base for Australia's athletes in the Italian province of Varese.

Speaking at the launch of the centre, Senator Arbib said the Government was committed to ensuring Australia's athletes were given every chance to succeed on the world sporting stage.

‘The Government is committing $12.5 million for the ongoing operation of the ETC in the lead up to the London Olympics and Paralympics and beyond,’ Senator Arbib said.

‘The ETC will replicate the Australian Institute of Sport's elite high performance facilities in Europe, providing a 'home away from home' for Australian athletes.

‘As well as accommodation, the centre will provide world class sporting facilities and services such as sports science and sports medicine, strength and conditioning training and athlete career and education support where it is needed.

‘The Government has been working very closely with the Australian Sports Commission, national sporting organisations, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), the Australian Paralympic Committee and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association to support Australia's elite athletes as they strive to win Olympic, Paralympic and world championship gold.’

AOC President, John Coates, who also spoke at the launch, welcomed the Government's commitment to giving Australian athletes the best possible preparation and training.

‘To make it to the podium in sports which have most of their top competitions in Europe, such as rowing, cycling and sailing, Australian athletes need to have access to quality competition without the financial and physical toll of travelling back and forth between Australia and Europe,’ Mr Coates said.

‘The ETC will provide that base when our athletes are away from home and it will allow them to be at their very best.’

The ETC will provide support to sports including, but not limited to, rowing, cycling, canoeing, athletics, triathlon, volleyball, basketball, tennis, archery and shooting.

Senator Arbib said the ETC had been granted Olympic Training Centre status by the Australian Olympic Committee.

‘The opening of the European Training Centre builds on the work the Australian Government and the Australian Sports Commission are doing with the Australian Olympic committee to increase our chances of success at the 2012 London Olympics,’ Senator Arbib said.

‘The Australian Government recently announced that 10 Olympic sports would share in $2.5 million in targeted funding under the Green and Gold Project.

‘The Green and Gold Project is designed to give our athletes the best possible training and preparation the best coaching, sport science and resources and facilities.

‘And by putting more of our athletes on the podium we will inspire young people to participate in sport, which will not only help us find our next Olympic champions but will also have great health benefits, getting the kids away from the TV and on to the sports field.

‘The Green and Gold project is providing Australian sports with a targeted and timely investment into the Olympic program embracing the challenge of achieving a top five result in London.

‘The little things can often make a big difference for athletes, and the Green and Gold project, combined with the opening of the ETC, help to give our athletes the edge when chasing Olympic glory.’

04 March 2011

School Games as a legacy for 2012

Jeremy Hunt sets out plans for School Games@DCMS


The School Games tournament – inspired by the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics – will give every child the opportunity take part and compete.

As part of the offer:
- 500 schools across nine regions will pilot an annual School Games Day: a ’finals’ day stemming from a programme of intra-school competition which will offer disabled children as many opportunities as non-disabled children
- a rolling programme of leagues and tournaments will promote more competition between schools at a town or district level
- up to 60 new, county or city-level ‘Festivals of Sport’ will showcase the best of local competitive sport in the inter-school finals
- the most talented young sports people will have the chance to represent their schools in a high-profile, national event

In the spring Government will publish a prospectus for schools – setting out exactly how teachers and coaches can get involved in the School Games, including registering online.

23 February 2011

AOC medal prediction in London Olympics

Australia can rebound from medal slip: Coates@AOC

Australia is still aiming for a top five finish on the overall medal tally at next year’s London Olympics despite slipping to eighth position on the latest Benchmark analysis of Olympic sports.

“A top five position is still very achievable,” said AOC President John Coates. “There are five countries jostling for fourth and fifth spots who are all very close together.”

The top three nations on the overall medal tally are streets ahead of the rest with Russia 97 medals, USA 94 and China 93.

Great Britain is fourth with 48 medals followed by Germany 47, France 45 and Japan 43. Australia is eighth on 42 medals.

The study is based on results from World Championships, World Cups and other major international events held in 2010.

In the case of swimming and athletics which did not have world championships in 2010 it is based on performances achieved internationally over the year.

Coates remains supremely confident that Australia’s athletes will improve dramatically between now and the start of the London Games in July 2012.

He believes the Federal Government funding provided late last year will lift performances and Australia is seeing a resurgence in some sports particularly cycling and track and field.

“The different sports are deriving enormous benefit from the Federal Government’s injection of $23m to high performance sport last year. It took a while coming but it is kicking in now,” Coates said.

The Federal Minister for Sport, Senator Mark Arbib, recently provided more Federal Government backing to ten targeted Olympic sports allocating another $2.5m through the Green and Gold Program.

Out of the 42 medals won or credited in 2010, cycling won six, track and field four, sailing four, rowing four and diving three.

Swimming which traditionally wins the bulk of Australia’s medals finished with 14. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics our swimmers won 20 medals out of a total of 46.

“Our male swimming ranks have been boosted by the return of Geoff Huegill, Ian Thorpe and Michael Klim,” Coates said.

“They will have a positive impact on the London Team.”

Australia finished fourth on the overall medal tally at the Sydney 2000 Games with 58 medals. We were fourth again in Athens in 2004 with 49 medals.

“The mid to high 40’s should be enough to get us into the top five again in London. That is our aim,” Coates said.

“The spread of medals is now greater and the teams from western Europe will be a greater challenge in London. One thing is certain, if we finish ahead of Great Britain we will finish in the top five.”

“We won one medal in cycling in Beijing compared to 10 in Athens four years earlier. The young riders like Cameron Meyer and Jack Bobridge have now stepped up and this is where we can really hurt Great Britain who dominated cycling in 2008.”

Singapore to invest in youth development

SSC BANKS ON YOUTH SPORTS DEVELOPMENT@SSC

Sports champions are not born. Their success results from many years of hard work and well-planned training. With this in mind, the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) has urged the National Sports Associations (NSAs) to put in place strong and structured youth development programmes to groom our young athletes into the champions of tomorrow.

2 The Annual National Sports Association Grant Exercise (ANGE) for Financial Year (FY) 2011 (1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012) reflects this reality through a significant increase in funding for NSA development programmes. For FY 2011, a total of S$33.14 million in direct funding has been approved for 49 NSAs under ANGE FY2011 (ANGE FY2011), of which S$18.18 million (54.9% of the total amount) will be channelled towards developing a holistic athlete development structure and programming. This is an absolute year-on-year increase of 29.4% from the S$14.05 million of the total direct funding amount of S$32.3 million approved in FY 2010. As a percentage of the total direct allocation, development spending rose to 54.9% from only 43.9% the year before.

3 "Singapore needs holistic youth development programmes to identify and groom our young sporting talent into the world champions of tomorrow. For Singapore to be a regular feature on the podium at the major Games like the Olympics, it will not be enough to concentre our efforts solely on the existing pool of elite athletes. It is thus crucial to ensure that Singapore has a pipeline of athletes ready to peak in 2012 and 2016, and beyond," said Mr Teo Ser Luck, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.

4 "I am certain that with a structured, aggressive and holistic youth development system in place, we will continue to be represented on the podium at all of the major games in which our athletes participate," added SPS Teo.

5 For ANGE FY 2011, the SSC will be channelling a total of S$67.24 million to the NSAs and other sports partners. The amount includes direct grants of S$33.14 million and indirect grants of S$33.1 million. This is up from FY 2010's funding of S$54.17 million (Direct grant: $32.3 million; indirect grant: S$21.87 million).

6 Indirect grants to NSAs include the Olympic Pathway Programme and Singapore Youth Sports Development funding, Sports Medicine and Sports Science support and subsidies for sports facilities, among others.

Continued Investment in Team Sports

7 The ANGE FY 2011 allocation also saw the SSC continue their investment in Team Sports. About $8.32 million, up from $8.11 million in FY 2010, will be allocated towards Team Sports.

8 The importance of Team Sports was explained by Mr Richard Seow, Chairman, SSC, who noted, "If we want to be masters of our sporting destiny, we need to get more of our youth into sports at an earlier age. Not only do team sports produce champions, they are a great way to build the social skills we need in life. These young athletes have the potential to become our leaders of tomorrow. Team sports teach youth about sharing responsibility in both victory and defeat, pursuing a group strategy and team problem-solving in real time."

9 Football and Water Polo will see an increase in funding this year. The funding to the Football Association of Singapore is for development programmes for the men's under-16, 17 and 18 teams to help them prepare for the 2013 and 2015 SEA Games. The boost in funding for Water Polo is to assist the men's and women's teams' preparations for the 26th SEA Games 2011. This will be the first time that Singapore is expected to send a women's team to participate in Water Polo to the SEA Games, which will be held in Jakarta and Palembang from 11 to 25 November this year.

Improved Multi-Year Sports Plans

10 NSAs are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of setting long-term goals to achieve continued success at the podium. The SSC has seen an improvement in the quality of the Multi-Year Sports Plans (MYSPs) submitted by the NSAs. As a result of this, 21 NSAs are being given in-principle three-year funding approval. This is a significant increase from the nine NSAs last year.

11 The in-principle approval for the extended funding cycle is based on the NSAs' MYSPs. Additionally, the NSAs must have demonstrated that they have the corresponding support structures in place to ensure delivery of these multi-year plans. NSAs will need to meet basic criteria such as corporate governance and fulfillment of pre-agreed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), before the funds can be disbursed on a quarterly basis.

12 In 2009, the SSC made a call to the NSAs to develop MYSPs spanning two to three years to map out strategies in every area of developing their respective sports. The MYSP incorporates programmes from mass participation to talent identification to high performance, eventually developing an integrated framework to provide athletes with what they need to be podium ready.

13 "The global sports arena is becoming increasingly competitive as more countries are using sports to help their people live better lives. Our NSAs must have a long-term vision for their sports. If we want Singapore to remain competitive at the international stage, we must have robust systems in place to keep developing new generations of athletes," said Mr Seow.

New Shared Services for NSAs

14 The SSC will be introducing two new shared services - Travel Management and Public Relations and Media Relations - to further raise the professionalism of the NSAs. Moreover, by relieving the NSAs of generic administrative functions, they can focus more on sports development. The Travel Management shared service will be made available to interested NSAs with charity status, by the second half of FY 2011. NSAs will also be able to tap on shared services for Public and Media Relations, a service which many NSAs have requested for over the last two financial years.

15 The above shared services complement the two other shared services - Audit and Finance & Accounting, which were introduced in FY 2010. To date, the Audit shared service has been used by 26 NSAs while Finance & Accounting has been used by eight NSAs.

More than $1.5 million
Badminton, Bowling, Football, Netball, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis

$500,000 to $1.5 million
Athletics, Basketball, Cuesports, Fencing, Gymnastics, Hockey, Rugby, SDSC, Silat

$200,000 to $500,000
Canoe, Cricket, Cycling, Equestrian, Golf, Motorsports, Softball/Baseball, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Volleyball, Wushu

$100,000 to $200,000
Archery, Bodybuilding, Dragonboat, Judo, Karate, Modern Pentathlon, Rowing, Squash, Wrestling

Less than $100,000
Boxing, Dancesports, Floorball, Handball, Ice Skating, Lawn Bowls, Mountaineering, Petanque, Rollersports, Sepak Takraw, Weightlifting

22 February 2011

AIS as an Olympic training centre

Australian Institute of Sport granted Olympic Training Centre Status@ASC

The Australian Institute of Sport’s status as an Olympic Training Centre was renewed today with the Australian Olympic Committee and the Australian Sports Commission signing an important agreement.

Minister for Sport Mark Arbib and Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President John Coates today unveiled a new set of Olympic rings at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).

Senator Arbib said the agreement demonstrated that the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and AOC shared a common goal in supporting Australia’s Olympic athletes.

“This agreement recognises the pivotal role the AIS plays, along with our state and territory institutes and academies, in providing our elite athletes with the best possible training and preparation for the Olympic stage,” Senator Arbib said.

“By working together across elite sport we will increase our chances of success at the 2012 London Olympics.

“That’s why the Gillard Government recently announced that 10 Olympic sports would share in $2.5 million in targeted funding under the Green and Gold Project.

“The Green and Gold Project is designed to give our athletes the best possible training and preparation – the best coaching, sport science and resources and facilities.

“And by putting more of our athletes on the podium we will inspire young people to participate in sport, which will not only help us find our next Olympic champions but will also have great health benefits, getting the kids away from the TV and on to the sports field.”

Mr Coates praised the spirit of cooperation that underpins the new agreement.

“With a renewed focus on high performance sport and a renewed cooperation between the AIS, ASC and AOC, we can now concentrate on turning our national sporting partnership in to medals,” Mr Coates said.

“The Green and Gold project will provide Australian sport with a targeted and timely investment into the Olympic program – embracing the challenge of achieving a top five result in London.

“The AIS has a global reputation for producing elite athletes. Its track record over 30 years speaks for itself.

“Athletes such as kayakers Clint Robinson and Ken Wallace, archer Simon Fairweather, cyclists Ryan Bailey and Anna Meares, and swimmer Petria Thomas to name a few – all AIS athletes, all Olympic Gold medallists.

“By conferring Olympic Training Centre Status on the AIS, the AOC is acknowledging the critical role it plays in producing champions.”

Senator Arbib said the Olympic Training Centre Status was recognition of the AIS as one of the world’s leading sports training institutes.

“The little things can often make a big difference for athletes, and this agreement will help to give our athletes the edge when chasing Olympic glory,” Senator Arbib said.

“In the face of fierce international pressure the Government remains committed to elite sport and will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Olympic Committee, the Australian Sports Commission, the AIS and our state and territory institutes and academies to back our national sporting bodies.

“This commitment underpins the new National Institute System Intergovernmental Agreement to guide high performance sport.

“This means the Commonwealth, state and territory governments have agreed to work hand in hand to improve the Australian high performance system and increase our international success.

“We need all players in the elite Australian sport community to pull together ahead of the London Olympics, to ensure we get behind our top athletes and make the best use of the record new Government funding which is flowing into sport.”

21 February 2011

Malaysian to invest in sports science for London Olympics

Malaysia turn to science for golden breakthtough@Strait Times

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S sports officials have opted for the appliance of science in their quest to achieve the country's first Olympic gold medal in London next year.

The National Sports Institute (NSI) has brought in 46 sports science specialists under their 'Road to London 2012' programme, Malaysian media reported.

The seven sports to receive the high-tech support are badminton, soccer, cycling, archery, diving, shooting and hockey.

NSI director-general Ramlan Aziz said that the scientists would be responsible for tailoring their expertise for the individual needs of Malaysia's elite athletes.

Malaysian officials will invest in the specialised programme to improve conditioning, psychology, bio-mechanics, match analysis, dietician and technical support.

'It depends on the quota set by organisers for the London Olympics,' he told Malaysia's Bernama news agency, referring to the number of specialists who will travel to the 2012 Games.

29 January 2011

AUS Green and Gold Project

Brits on notice as athletes get $2.5m to snare medals@The Australian

A $2.5 MILLION war chest has been assembled to help Australian athletes take medals from their British arch-rivals at next year's London Olympics.

Federal Sports Minister Mark Arbib has redirected the money from the Australian Sports Commission to launch the Green and Gold Project, which will provide extra funding to shore up Australia's position as one of the top five Olympic nations.

Australia dropped out of the top five, to sixth, for the first time in a decade at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when it was replaced by Britain, which came fourth.

Australian Olympic Committee secretary-general Craig Phillips said the most effective way for Australia to climb back up the medal table was to take medals from its direct rivals, Britain and fifth placegetter Germany.

"Every medal we take from them is worth two, because we gain one and they lose one," Mr Phillips said. "We did something similar for the Sydney Olympics, where we were competing with France and Italy."

Australia and Britain will be eyeing the same medals in swimming, track cycling, sailing, rowing and equestrian events.

Individual athletes who have British arch-rivals include Olympic champion diver Matthew Mitcham (world champion Tom Daley), world champion gymnast Lauren Mitchell (Beth Tweddle), international sailor of the year Tom Slingsby (Paul Goodison) and track cyclist Anna Meares (Victoria Pendleton).

Mr Arbib is backing the AOC's bid to return to the top five in London and said the Green and Gold Project would mark a "new push towards London 2012".

"I am an unapologetic supporter of elite sport," Mr Arbib said at the Australian Paralympic Committee president's lunch in Sydney. He has joined AOC president John Coates's cry to "rain on their parade" in London.

The federal government provided $120m of new funding to elite sport last May, but Mr Arbib said the latest boost would provide strategic investment in key Olympic sports "where we think it will make the most difference". He has brought together the ASC, Australian Institute of Sport and AOC to oversee the project.

The 10 sports which will benefit from the funding are: swimming, cycling, rowing, sailing, canoeing, athletics, diving, gymnastics, triathlon and equestrian.

A brains trust of coaches will also attend regular head coach forums, to be chaired by former Australian and British head swimming coach Bill Sweetenham, to share expertise and ideas.

Mr Arbib agreed the funding was "modest" but argued the margin between gold and silver or bronze and fourth was so slim it could be decisive. He is moving responsibility for Australia's high-performance strategy from the ASC bureaucrats to the experts of the Australian Institute of Sport.

He called on the AIS to show national leadership, work more closely with state institutes and reach out to assist leading athletes based outside its Canberra base.

"By empowering the AIS, enhancing its resources and expanding its role we will spearhead our campaign to London," Mr Arbib said.

The AIS has recently reached a $1m deal to extend its research partnership with the CSIRO and will open its European training centre in Varese, Italy, in March.

16 January 2011

Singapore Olympic Pathway Programme for Rio 2016

Search for Olympic stars begins@straits times

The search to identify athletes for Singapore's 2016 Olympic quest - for which a bold target of six medals has been set - has begun in earnest.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Community Development, Youth and Sports) Teo Ser Luck recently met up with officials from several major national sports associations (NSAs) to encourage them to send in names of athletes with the potential for glory in Rio de Janeiro.

Once approved, they will be included in the Olympic Pathway Programme (OPP), which provides high-level training and support for Olympic hopefuls.

The sports earmarked for 2016 include swimming, table tennis, fencing, sailing and shooting, and Mr Teo hopes to form a base of about 15 athletes.

Some names that have been touted are sailors Justin Liu and Sherman Cheng, world champions in the non-Olympic 420 class and who will progress to the Olympic 470 class this year, and Youth Olympic Games silver medallist paddler Isabelle Li, and her team-mates Pang Xue Jie and Clarence Chew.

Mr Teo, who oversees the OPP steering committee, said yesterday: 'I must stress that the criteria for 2016 are very different - athletes need not show medal potential now.

'When the OPP started in 2009, we had a short time to prepare for the 2012 Olympics, so we targeted athletes with proven track records.

'But now there's a longer time-frame, and I can understand if the athletes have not proven themselves in a big way yet.'

This marks the first time that there is a concerted effort to prepare Singapore athletes beyond a single Olympic cycle of four years, which is similar to what top sporting countries like Australia have been doing.

Said SingaporeSailing president Benedict Tan: 'The forward planning for the 2016 Olympic cycle synchronises with our plans.

'Our major challenge is the gap between the youth and Olympic levels. OPP's plan to identify talent early will help to bridge that gap.'

For next year's London Olympics, paddlers Feng Tianwei, Wang Yuegu, Sun Beibei and Yu Mengyu, swimmer Tao Li and shooter Jasmine Ser are under the OPP.

A war-chest of $6.3 million has been set aside for them, which translates to about $1 million for each over the four-year Olympic cycle. This is over and above what the athletes' NSAs get in annual Government grants.

The OPP budget for 2016 has yet to be decided. But with more athletes, there is concern there will be less money to go around.

Allaying these concerns, Mr Teo said: 'Because training is over a longer period than the 2012 Olympics, the total figure might be higher.'

Fencing Singapore, which recently started an Olympic programme for top athletes such as last year's Asian Championships bronze-medal winning women's foil team, is keen to follow up on Mr Teo's call.

Said its president Nicholas Fang: 'We'll target for more world-class events with Olympic ranking points.

'When the time is right, we will apply to be in the OPP.'

05 January 2011

Dentsu to support Singapore athletes

Catching the sports momentum@today

SINGAPORE - From the Fifa World Cup to the Olympics, Asian Games and the IAAF World Championships, the Sports Division of Dentsu Incorporated has its tentacles spread deep and wide in the sports world.

Started as an advertising agency in 1901, the Japanese company has grown to include 100 offices in 26 countries, and its sports arm was responsible for creating the Toyota Cup, which was renamed the Fifa Club World Cup in 2004.

Now with its sights on Asia, and in particular the South-east Asian market, Dentsu, whose Singapore office opened a month ago, are looking to involve themselves in the expanding regional sports business, estimated to be worth some US$20 billion ($25.7 billion).

The subsidiary, Dentsu Sports Asia (DSA), also hopes to help Singaporean athletes develop their post-competitive careers by providing internship and employment, giving them the chance to leverage on the sports expertise of Dentsu Inc.

"We've already got two current national athletes who are interning with us and we're looking to give them an opportunity to see and experience how the commercial side of sport works," said Suresh Letchmanan, the DSA's head of legal and business management.

While he declined to reveal details of DSA's plans for young local athletes that will be launched in the next few weeks, he added: "Being athletes, they've got strong leverage if they would like to continue working in sports and learning from the international expertise that exists in Dentsu. It gives these athletes a chance to see how they can continue their careers after their competitive days are over."

With a capital of $1.5 million, the sports marketing company is aiming to be a one-stop shop for sports, providing services ranging from the marketing of broadcast rights to television production, sponsorship sales, event management and even player management.

Dentsu already have on their books French football legend Zinedine Zidane, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and former Japanese internationals Hidetoshi Nakata and Shunsuke Nakamura, with their DSA office already looking to sign Indonesian players following the recently AFF Suzuki Cup.

MediaCorp understands that DSA are looking to work with regional football associations, with plans already in the pipeline for a partnership with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to develop the business end of their Strategic Plan announced last April.

"We would like to provide the very best in sports marketing and management to the rest of Asia and help develop the sports business within the region," said DSA's chief operating officer, Kunihito Morimura.

Added Suresh: "There is a lot of potential for growth in this region and with the Sports Hub to be up and running by 2015, Singapore is a great location for sports and we aim to offer a one-stop solution for the sports business community in Asia, while not forgetting local sports."