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


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.