SSA gets supplement boost in new deal

Keita Ishii (left), managing director of Ajinomoto Singapore, with Lee Kok Choy, president of the Singapore Swimming Association. The three-year deal includes cash and in-kind products worth $350,000.
Keita Ishii (left), managing director of Ajinomoto Singapore, with Lee Kok Choy, president of the Singapore Swimming Association. The three-year deal includes cash and in-kind products worth $350,000.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

The Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) signed a three-year deal with Ajinomoto Singapore yesterday to provide athletes with amino acid supplements that aid recovery and endurance.

The partnership, which constitutes both cash and in-kind products worth $350,000, will benefit more than 100 national athletes in diving, swimming, artistic swimming and water polo.

Amino Vital Gold and Amino Vital Perfect Energy are the two main products that Ajinomoto, a global food and chemical giant, will sponsor. The former is a jelly drink that boosts endurance by controlling blood sugar levels, while the latter is a powder supplement that helps with muscle recovery.

Both products will undergo anti-doping tests in batches before they are used by the athletes. The tests are conducted by international testing company LGC Limited.

Said Singapore Sport Institute (SSI) nutritionist Richard Swinbourne: "These products have no side-effects but, once you introduce a supplement, you can never ever say for sure there are zero risks. We're making sure that our athletes take these supplements in the safest way."

SSI nutritionists will work with athletes to issue a recommended amount of supplements based on their training and competition schedules. Athletes will also be advised on when and how to take them, added Dr Swinbourne.

Ajinomoto is the SSA's first official sports nutrition partner.

Previously, most athletes were given supplements only during competitions.

"For daily trainings, athletes were very much left to themselves to buy their own supplements," said SSA executive director Edwin Ker. "Now they get to enjoy these supplements before and after training and that's the whole idea of this partnership."

Two-time SEA Games gold medallist Roanne Ho is excited about including the supplements in her diet.

Said the 25-year-old swimmer: "I've only taken normal whey protein before so I'm pretty excited to try this, especially because I heard you can also take it before bed."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2018, with the headline 'SSA gets supplement boost in new deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe