Singapore swimmers seal record $1.6m deal with TYR

Singapore Swimming Association president Lee Kok Choy (centre of front row, in red) together with the national swimming athletes, after sealing a record sponsorship deal with apparel maker TYR. The partnership will see its athletes across four discip
Singapore Swimming Association president Lee Kok Choy (centre of front row, in red) together with the national swimming athletes, after sealing a record sponsorship deal with apparel maker TYR. The partnership will see its athletes across four disciplines don TYR gear at competitions.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Even as it pins its hopes on the likes of Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen to star at the Rio Olympics, the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) is making waves on the domestic front with a record sponsorship deal.

It announced yesterday a $1.6 million cash-and-kind partnership with apparel company TYR. The five-year partnership, which runs until 2020, is the SSA's largest sponsorship tie-up.

Besides supplying athletes across the four disciplines - swimming, diving, synchronised swimming and water polo - with apparel at international meets, the injection of funds will be used for various developmental programmes.

SSA's vice president for finance Jose Raymond said: "Sponsorships like these are budget-relieving, and beyond helping the athletes it helps with our secretariat staff, our ActiveSG programmes, and other developmental programmes that promote the sport."

Prior to the TYR deal, the SSA had secured close to $4 million in sponsorship since mid-2014 and its corporate partners include the likes of OCBC Bank, Neo Garden Catering, Volkswagen, Yakult, and 100Plus.

Such support was vital towards achieving the goal of becoming a top-four nation in the sport in Asia, added SSA president Lee Kok Choy.

The ceremony at Stadium Riverside Walk next to the National Stadium also doubled up as the official send-off for the Republic's national swimmers who will be travelling to North America and Paraguay for an overseas training stint.

The 10-man squad, which left this morning, included Zheng Wen and his sister Ting Wen, who despite missing out on the 'A' Olympic qualifying times is expected to be awarded a Universality Place to compete in Brazil.

She had missed the 2012 London Games after suffering an injury in a surfing accident in late 2011 and was desperate to join her sibling.

Said the 23-year-old: "The whole of 2010 and 2011, that's all we were talking about - to make London together. I was bummed about 2012 so the feeling (of potentially going together) now is great."

Outgoing head coach Sergio Lopez was bullish about his swimmers' prospects in August's Summer Games. He said: "We should be making good national records. If we are realistic and look at what Joseph can do, and somebody younger like Zheng Wen, we could have a very good Olympics.

"We could probably have the best Olympics in history for Singapore."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 29, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore swimmers seal record $1.6m deal with TYR'. Print Edition | Subscribe