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.'