82 presenters to hype up the mood at venues

RAVI Maan still remembers the first time he addressed a capacity crowd of 60,000 at the National Stadium during football's AFF Suzuki Cup last year.

"Feeling the roar of the crowd... it's a crazy experience to be able to make that connection with them, and have them feed off your energy and you feed off their energy," said the 30-year-old trainer with the Sports Presentation Department of the Singapore South-east Asian Games Organising Committee.

"When you say one word and 60,000 people shout back at you, it's a crazy feeling."

Maan is one of 82 sports presenters who will be in charge of announcing athletes' names, making general announcements and hyping up the crowd at all 27 SEA Games venues.

Keeping crowds entertained will be the task of these faceless announcers, most of whom are youths recruited by the Sports Presentation Department.

They were invited to audition through an invite sent to their schools, where they had their voices recorded while reading sports scripts. The best candidates were chosen by veteran sports presenter Mark Richmond.

The 82 of them then went through training once a week for six weeks, three hours at a go, where they learnt how to use their voices more effectively, make sport-specific announcements and conduct half-time games.

Jake Low, 20, a Ngee Ann Polytechnic mass communications student, will be the presenter for wushu and silat.

Although he has emceed before at school events and is part of his school's radio station, RadioHeatwave, it will be his first time presenting at a major sporting event.

He chose to audition as he thought it would offer him a new challenge: "Sports crowds are different from regular school crowds, they're much more passionate about their teams."

Jake got a chance to practise his new skills at the recent South-east Asian Basketball Championship, and cites "names of athletes from other countries" as the biggest challenge.

Eric Hool, 17, trusts his training will carry him through the squash competition. "The trainers taught us to be yourself, there's no generic script, really," said the Republic Polytechnic mass communications student.


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