As we round the corner after an extremely successful 28th SEA Games, we pay tribute to the unsung heroes of Team Singapore. The dietitian who makes sure our athletes fuel their body the right way. The bio-mechanist who analyses the way our sportsmen move. The team of doctors who condition our athletes and treat their injuries. The counsellor who looks after the general well being of the athletes. These are the the staff working behind the scenes in the Singapore Sports Institute.
Located within the Sports Hub, the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) is made up of several distinct areas. The athletes services area, the gymnasium, the human performance laboratory, the sports nutrition laboratory and the biomechanics laboratory.
We are “the team around Team Singapore”, said Clifford Wong, (below) Strategic Partnerships & Special Projects, during his opening address before a tour of the compound. “It is our great intent to change the sporting culture… and have people understand that it is very important to create an ecosystem and a sense of excitement. The SSI has a lot of proud achievements to date and obviously the most recent one is the SEA Games where we got the best medal tally for team Singapore. We hope to build on that and create breakthroughs.”
Photo: Sport Singapore
Wong’s address was followed by two lectures by staff of the SSI. Beena Doshi from the athlete’s services department gave us an idea of the stress that athletes face and how their team of counsellors help the these young men and women overcome difficulties in their lives by working with partners from both education and business.
Benoit Ammann (SSI HPS Analytics and Technology) then gave us an idea of how the analytics team uses it’s data collection techniques to do performance analysis, athletes screening, athletes tracking and assist coaches to improve their charges.
A tour of the compound included a visit to the Human Performance laboratory where physiologist Dr Ihsan Abdullah introduced the various machines and rooms within the lab. He explained that function of the lab was to “forecast and predict performance” and most importantly to monitor adaptation and how athletes respond to training stimulus and to use this data to develop a training plan.
Dr Ihsan Abdullah in the human performance laboratory. Photo: Sport Singapore
He then introduced us to the environmental chamber where hot and cold climates as well as altitude can be regulated to simulate performance conditions for the athletes. The altitude house, where our Team Singapore kayakers trained as they prepared for the world championships, had the function of enhancing the body’s oxygen carrying capabilities prior to competition.
Just beside the human performance laboratory is the sports nutrition lab where Dr Kirsty Fairbairn teaches athletes to prepare healthy meals. The dietitians in the lab analyse athletes' diets to optimise their food intake, and keep them in peak condition for training and competition.
The final part of the tour brought us to the biomechanics laboratory which has the two functions of athlete servicing and research. Dr Hiroki Ozaki a sports bio-mechanist said: “We are interested in body motion to improve the performance and also prevent injury.”
Dr Hiroki Ozaki in the biomechanics laboratory. Photo: Sport Singapore
They service athletes by helping analyse their performance, with recent clients who include the SEA Games contingent as well as the upcoming ASEAN Para Games athletes. The research portion enables the bio-mechanists to find the causes of injuries as well as prepare the athletes with the correct strengthening exercises.
After the success of the recent SEA Games, these various arms of the Singapore Sports Institute, including the nutrition, bio-mechanics and counselling, each play an essential role as they work together to help take the local sporting scene to a higher level.
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