Singapore may extend deal to host Fina World Cup

Singapore's Nicholle Toh on her way to third place in the 200m butterfly yesterday. She finished with a time of 2:11.26, which broke the national record of 2:12.45 set by Joscelin Yeo in 2000.
Singapore's Nicholle Toh on her way to third place in the 200m butterfly yesterday. She finished with a time of 2:11.26, which broke the national record of 2:12.45 set by Joscelin Yeo in 2000.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Singapore's current deal with world swimming body Fina to host the Fina/airweave Swimming World Cup runs out after next year.

However, fans will likely be able to catch some of the sport's biggest names, including triple Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu and world champion Chad le Clos, at the OCBC Aquatic Centre beyond 2017.

Yesterday, Fina executive director Cornel Marculescu told The Sunday Times that he is keen for the competition to return here, as Singapore remains one of the favourite destinations for many swimmers.

He said: "I hope Singapore will continue (to want to host the World Cup) because it is one of the destinations that swimmers like so much. This is very important."

Olympic 100m freestyle champion Kyle Chalmers and reigning 100m butterfly world champion le Clos are among the swimmers who have praised the facilities here.

Unlike other major sporting events, the World Cup series does not incur a hosting fee from Fina, and is traditionally a short-course (25m pool) event.

In addition, Marculescu said the revenue that Fina generates from sponsorship deals and broadcast rights is given back to the competition in the form of prize money.

In some cases, money is also given to countries which need help hosting the two-day meet.

"We don't make money from this event. The World Cup is purely for the promotion of swimming," said the Romanian, adding that the Netherlands, who last hosted a World Cup leg in 2013, are keen to rejoin the fray.

Ang Peng Wee, chairman of the local organising committee, said that Singapore is keen to continue hosting the World Cup, but any decision will hinge on funding from Fina and local sport governing body Sport Singapore.

A four-year extension could be finalised as soon as December, with the deadline being before next July's Fina general congress.

Last night's races saw Hosszu extend her dominance at the top of the leader board.

Nicknamed the "Iron Lady" for her ability to swim multiple events, the 27-year-old won seven of her eight races yesterday, and sits comfortably at the top of the rankings with two legs (Tokyo and Hong Kong) remaining.

She has 921 points, ahead of Jeanette Ottesen (354) and Alia Atkinson (343).

Russia's Vladimir Morozov is on top of the men's leader board with 514 points, ahead of le Clos (429) and Philip Heintz (252).

Singapore's Nicholle Toh was the only local swimmer to finish on the podium, when she came in third in the 200m fly with a time of 2:11.26.

Toh, 15, finished behind Hosszu (2:05.95) and Zsuzsanna Jakabos (2:06.24), but managed to break the national record of 2:12.45, set by Joscelin Yeo in 2000.

National team-mate Lionel Khoo was also in record-breaking form, setting new national marks in the 100m and 200m breaststroke.

Khoo timed 1:00.46 and 2:11.80 in the 100m and 200m events respectively, lowering the previous records of 1:00.66 and 2:12.47.

Chua Siang Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 23, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore may extend deal to host Fina World Cup'. Print Edition | Subscribe