Fitness First to support 200 athletes

The partnership will support the long-term development of Team Singapore's athletes for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the Youth Olympic Games, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in 2018.
The partnership will support the long-term development of Team Singapore's athletes for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the Youth Olympic Games, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in 2018.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

A three-year, $1.3 million sponsorship from Fitness First will allow Team Singapore athletes to enjoy greater convenience and wider access to equipment to shape up for major sporting meets.

The tie-up, inked yesterday by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and the health and fitness group, will provide 200 international memberships.

Chosen athletes can tap on the full range of equipment and classes at 17 Fitness First clubs in Singapore, and more than 300 overseas.

The deal is from 2016 to 2018, covering next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. There is also an option to extend the partnership.

SNOC secretary-general Chris Chan said: "We're very excited by this athlete-centric partnership, which we hope will help Team Singapore achieve excellence at major Games.

"We hope to see the bulk of the membership going to athletes who are not carded, people who don't have access to the Singapore Sports Institute and their gym.

"We also have athletes who are based overseas, like (sailors) Colin Cheng and Scott Glen Sydney in Australia, and we hope to give them the membership so they can access the gym there."

Only carded athletes have access to SSI's customised Sports Excellence programmes and support services.

The memberships will be given out after consultations with national sports associations. Each membership is renewable annually.

Fitness First Asia chief executive Simon Flint hopes the increased accessibility will give athletes extra training sessions "to improve performances and (medal) chances".

He said: "It gives them consistency in their training routines... we hope this helps to give them the edge they otherwise lack by not being able to train frequently."

Flint added that its Capital Tower club will be renovated to include "specialist functions" which support high-performance training.

They include an emphasis on using data to manage performance, a focus on recovery and technical personal training.

Yesterday, Chan also touched on the dispute at the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA), which saw paddler Yu Mengyu publicly lash out at women's head coach Jing Junhong.

Jing was redeployed on Nov 5 as chief coach (youth development), with her former deputy Liu Jiayi taking over head coaching duties.

Men's head coach Yang Chuanning was also sacked in the reshuffle and has not been replaced.

Said Chan: "We will let STTA manage it but we hope they settle this as soon as possible, because time is running out. "

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2015, with the headline 'Fitness First to support 200 athletes'. Print Edition | Subscribe