Olympics: It's just like home at the Singapore House in Rio

Tucked in a quiet Rio de Janeiro suburb, the Singapore House has proven to be a haven for Team Singapore athletes seeking a place to unwind and escape the high-pressure environment of the Olympic Village.

While the 7,600 sq ft, three-level bungalow is staffed by physiotherapists, trainers and psychologists from the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI), it is the laid-back atmosphere and home-cooked Singaporean food that many of the 25 national athletes look forward to the most.

The spacious living room has a pool table and a big screen television equipped with Netflix, while the equally large basement has a PlayStation and foosball table. Outside there is a swimming pool and an outdoor BBQ area.

Badminton player Derek Wong had his first visit on Thursday night and enjoyed a friendly game of pool with sprinter Timothee Yap, before they joined the table tennis team and chef de mission Low Teo Ping for a chicken rice dinner complete with freshly made ginger and chilli paste.

Wong said: "We know everyone here and it's nice to see familiar faces. I've been training double sessions since I arrived in Brazil on Monday night and this is a good way to calm the mind."

It took the SSI three years and several recce trips to Rio to finalise negotiations on this fully furnished property, which is a 15-minute drive from the Village, noted SSI chief Bob Gambardella.

"We could have booked hotel rooms and maybe a conference hall but felt this suited our purposes much better," he said. "It's not just a sports science facility to support our guys but somewhere they can come to relax and de-stress."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2016, with the headline 'Refreshed and recharged, it's just like home'. Print Edition | Subscribe