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The Latimer Sisters: Putting the spotlight on sports in Singapore

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From the way that sisters Kelly and Barbara Latimer talk about sports and its importance in their lives, you'd be surprised that neither of them have ever had a stint as a professional athlete.

Fans of the English Premier League will recognise Barbara from mio Stadium, while Kelly has rubbed shoulders with tennis greats like Serena Williams from hosting the WTA Finals, among other high-profile sporting tournaments in Singapore.

Kelly and Barbara LatimerKelly (right) and Barbara Latimer are now Sport Singapore ambassadors. Photo: Sport Singapore

 Having been so closely involved with the sporting scene in Singapore, it was not a matter of if - but only when - the sibling duo would join Sport Singapore as brand ambassadors.

We met up with the #LatimerLasses to welcome them in their new role as Sport Singapore's newest brand ambassadors, and to find out more about their hopes for the sporting scene in Singapore.

Tell us about your relationship with sports. Has it always been a big part of your lives?

Kelly: Sport has always played a big part of both of our lives since we were really young. My family always raised us with sport, getting us outdoors and being active. Since 2010 when we were both sport presenters with the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) when it first happened here in Singapore, both of us really connected with local sports, and it's been that way ever since.

Both of us are into fitness, I'm a certified personal trainer, Barbara’s an instructor at a boxing gym, and we both present sports on TV and present sporting events live. We live, breathe, eat through sports, we’re not national athletes, but we’re national athlete presenters.

Kelly and Barbara LatimerPhoto: Sport Singapore

What do you both hope to achieve in your role as a Sport Singapore (SportSG) Ambassador?

Kelly: If you want your athletes to do well, they will always do better if they know they have home crowd support which is why I’ve always been a big believer of the hashtag #supportlocal. We spend so much money investing and going to watch football games in the UK - sure it’s not quite Old Trafford - but we have quality football games. We have some incredible players and if we really got behind them as non-athletes - as people who are living and breathing sports outside of an actual professional career - if we can help translate that support and garner the crowd to get behind these guys then I think Singapore sports will only do better in the future.

Kelly and Barbara LatimerPhoto: Sport Singapore

What’s your opinion of the sport scene in Singapore now and where do you hope to see it in the future?

Barbara: I think it’s growing, it’s definitely further along than what it was but it’s still a work in progress - garnering the support for local athletes.

Kelly: Echoing what Barbara said, it has come a long way, we’re definitely still not there yet - as long as we have empty seats when we have big sporting events taking place, we’ve got a problem. There’s so many people on Singapore complaining that we’ve got nothing to do, but on average, we’ve got between one to two sporting events happening every day throughout the entire calendar year.

There is something to do, we just have to be a little bit less afraid of getting hot and sweaty and getting out there and embracing the wealth of talent that comes to Singapore to play sport and also to embrace our local sporting talent that regularly puts on a show for us. My hope is that in the years to come going to a basketball game on a weekday night, or spending time walking the golf course on the weekend is a regular occurrence, that we have hoards of people crowding around the OCBC Arena to watch the OCBC Cycle Speedway Championship, because that is such a riveting format and I don’t understand why not more people watch it. But there are so many things that if you actually stop and pay attention you will get so much joy from it.

Kelly and Barbara LatimerPhoto: Sport Singapore

So in essence, you're hoping to use your voice as a Sport Singapore ambassador to push this culture of sports?

Kelly: Every single time my husband makes it a point to bring my daughter Sienna around, so much so that people ask me to include a post that has Sienna so people know that it’s a family-friendly event. So that to me is great, if we can entice people with families and young kids to get out there and be involved in sports.

Barbara: It’s also wanting to let people know that you don’t have to be an official athlete or a family member or friend of an athlete to go and support them. If you wanna get out and do stuff and have fun, SportSG is creating all these events which are family friendly fun and it takes just that little bit more of push of awareness to get people out there - and we’re hoping we can do just that.