SINGAPORE - Singapore's para-cycling team secured a $20,000 sponsorship on Tuesday (May 15), with the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) announcing its partnership with asset management firm EFA Group.
The tie-up sees EFA Group adopt the Para Cycling High Performance Programme for 2018, as well as SDSC receiving matching funding it qualifies for under the OneTeam Singapore Fund.
It also marks the first corporate adoption of the para-cycling team.
Funds will be channelled to a range of high-performance related activities for the para-cycling team starting from May 2018, led by both SDSC and the Para Cycling Federation (Singapore) (PCFS), an associate member of SDSC.
The OneTeam SG Fund comprises a $50 million sum pledged by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth in March 2017 to match sports donations dollar-for-dollar over the next five years.
Team Singapore's para-cyclists made their successful major Games debuts at the 2017 Asean Para Games in Kuala Lumpur, hauling 14 of the contingent's 50 medals, the most of any sport.
Three para-cyclists have qualified so far for October's Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
EFA Group's chief executive officer Francois Dotta said the company was confident that the para-cyclists can enjoy greater success if provided with the "right resources and support".
"Just as lack of financing should not hamper the growth of good businesses, we believe that no one should be excluded to participate in a sport they excel in because of a disability or insufficient funding," he said.
"It is a great opportunity for our employees to interact with the athletes and understand how they overcome challenging situations with adaptability and tenacity, an invaluable lesson that applies both professionally and personally."
SDSC is on the lookout for more partners to adopt other para sports teams.
"The EFA partnership is based on a new formula we are exploring, where the adopter not only accesses a single team, but is offered flexible opportunities across various sports to cater to diverse interests within the organisation," said SDSC executive director Kelly Fan.
"We hope this formula will bridge more partners with our talented athletes and bring them excitement in sharing our discovery of the next Theresa Goh and Yip Pin Xiu."
One of the first high-performance initiatives that will benefit from the EFA donation is the Singapore International Para-cycling Cup. The second edition of the local para-cycling race is set to take place on from 6am to 8am on May 27, and is the first event here to be sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world's governing body for the sport of cycling.
Participants will be able to clock UCI points towards qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The race will see Team Singapore vie against athletes from Malaysia, Thailand and Romania on a 1.7km circuit on Cecil Street and Robinson Road.
Members of the public will also be able to try out hand cycling or blindfold cycling after the race's conclusion, as well as cycle with junior para-cyclists.
Those interested or are seeking more information are encouraged to contact SDSC at firstname.lastname@example.org.