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