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Entries for February 2009

OCBC Cycle Singapore pulls out all stops to hold Singapore’s first-ever mass cycling event.

“Bicycle! Bicycle! I want to ride my bicycle!” Queen’s Bicycle Race was playing through my mind as I headed to cover the OCBC Cycle Singapore, the republic’s first mass participation cycling event on public roads. Though I was not participating in any of the events for the fear of numb bum cheeks, 5,400 riders had no such fear as all they wanted to do was ride their bicycles.

The F1 pit building was the venue for this inaugural event with “peddle power” instead of horse power being the name of the game. Seasoned and skilled participants pushed themselves by racing in the 50km or 40km challenges while the 20km and 5km events allowed others to enjoy a relaxing ride on a beautiful Sunday morning with their families.

Speaking to the thrilled mother of the Wan family who participated in the Mighty Savers Kid Ride (5km race) along with their son, Hanafi, she said: “The event allows for great family bonding. Another good thing was that they separated the children into different age groups and this ensured the safety of the kids.”

Another happy participant of the 40km challenge, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It was a great event with minimal problems. It was lovely being able to ride on closed roads for once and the route brought us past iconic landmarks like the Fullerton Hotel, the Singapore Flyer and F1 Pit Building. You can see loads of families bonding together. The only drawback was the heat that started to build up later on.”

Indeed the heat prompted the organizers to reduce the distance on the 5km event in view of the safety of the large numbers of children participating. These young and exuberant cyclists probably thought they were in the Tour de France as they peddled away furiously under the scorching sun. The ‘intense competition’ certainly added onto the heat factor.

The big boys came out to play after the 5km race for the “Criterium Events”. Participants from neighboring countries like Malaysia to international juggernauts such as Italy and the United Kingdom made their way here to stamp their mark in Singapore’s cycling history. Singapore’s Daniel Loy joined the star-studded spectacle in the bid to win up to $5000 in prize money.

I grabbed the chance at interviewing the winner of the Masters’ Criterium, which is open to males above the age of 40. Winner Kevin Burns from the United States of America said: “It was an open track with not many sharp turns. I would have preferred a longer course. It would have allowed riders to test how opponents react when someone chooses to break away from the pack. Speed is the key to winning in this course.”

And just to prove that age was no barrier to the 44 year-old man, he hopped back on his bike ten minutes after the Masters’ Criterium to compete in the Open’s Criterium.

The weather threatened to cast a dark cloud on the last but most anticipated Elite Criterium as it started to drizzle. However, even the rain could not dampen the high spirits of the spectators as they continued to gather to take pictures with the who’s who in the cycling scene. The cycling team from Japan, decked out in pink, had drawn much attention from many female fans, which just goes to show that maybe, real man do wear pink.

The brains behind this successful event, was Chris Robb, Managing Director of Spectrum Worldwide. The jubilant man said: “The reason for this is to give Singapore an opportunity to cycle on closed roads as well as to grow the cycling scene by bringing in the top class, elite cyclists. In fact the response from overseas teams was overwhelming and sadly we had to reject some teams.”

He added: “It has been 18 months of hard work to make this happen.”

With a plethora of races, participants and plenty of entertainment, Mustafa, who took part in the 20km race, summed up the entire day quite aptly.
“It’s the wide appeal of the event. There’s something for everyone regardless of age and skill. Beginners do not feel out of place joining the races even when there are so many professionals around.”

Overall, it was a commendable effort by the organizers to give the cycling scene in Singapore a major boost. Perhaps the only complaint from participants and spectators alike would be, “Where’s Armstrong?”

Maybe next year…

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500g chicken breast, skinless, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 slices ginger
10 dried apricots, chopped
2 cups snowpeas
1 cup fresh button mushrooms, halved
1 tablespoon cashew nuts, coarsely
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon canola oil
6 cups cooked rice

1 teaspoon five spice powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper

1. Marinate chicken in five spice powder, salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil in a wok and stir-fry onions, garlic and ginger followed by chicken for 3 minutes.
3. Add in snowpeas, apricots and water. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes.
4. Add mushrooms and simmer for 2 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and sprinkle with chopped cashew nuts. Serve immediately over cooked rice.

SERVES 5 • Preparation time: 15 minutes • Cooking time: 15 minutes

Tips : Cashew nuts can be substituted by almond nuts, pistachio
nuts or peanuts.

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Triathlon - a sport that brings to mind all things about pure endurance, utmost determination and sheer grit. Comprising three components, the seemingly gruelling race first starts off with a swim, which is followed by a bike ride and ends with a run. To an average Joe out there, this certainly does not seem like a sport for just about anyone.

Alex Tung, triathlete and a winner of the POSB Everyday Champion Award ’09, has broken the myth however, that triathlons are only for the tough and the super-fit. He, who used to fail his IPPT, is now a swimming and triathlon coach. Champion in his category for the FINA 5km Open Water Swim 2008, Alex also takes part in the Kapas Marang International Swimathon every year and several local triathlons and overseas Ironman races. ‘It’s all in the mind. It can be done!’ said the now toned and tanned man.

In fact, for those who are keen to pick up the sport, there are places to go to for more information and to meet up with other enthusiasts. Triathlon Association of Singapore (TAS) frequently organises clinics as lead up activities to major events, such as the Aviva Ironman 70.3. The Triathlon Family (TriFam) encourages active participation of its members, both experienced triathletes and beginners, by putting together enjoyable training meets.

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Are you game for the challenge?
Here’s a chance for you to become AYG’s Youth Journalist

When TPT Reporter was still in school, sports for us students was just all about the annual blue-house-red-house meets and the few inter-school competitions. We never had the chance to participate in mega-events such as that of the first ever Asian Youth Games (AYG). To be held on our very shores, the AYG is definitely pumping up the tempo in the sports scene for the younger community.
And here’s another reason for the youth to get excited about the Games. together with co-organisers Crescent Girls' School and Beacon Primary School, are on the lookout for a squad of star Youth Journalists. Besides the attractive cash prizes that are up for grabs, winners will also get a chance to cover news on AYG firsthand!

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Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore Triathlon will be entering its third edition come 22 March this year. Starting and finishing at the Playground @ Big Splash, the grueling race will begin with a 1.9km swim in the warm waters along the coast, followed by a scenic 90.1km ride that will end with a 21.1km run.
Featuring a combination of the cityscape of Singapore from our downtown Central Business District to the lush greenery of East Coast Park, the course is expected to deliver a unique experience to both participants and supporters.

Sponsored by Singapore’s leading employee and health care benefits provider, Aviva, the race was brought forward from September to the new date in March. According to Hi Tri, the event organisers, this is to “avoid the very busy month of September where the primary focus will be on the Formula 1 race.”
Besides, the period between August to October seems to be a very popular choice amongst the Ironman series. During this period, there are ten Ironman 70.3 races and nine full Ironman races to be held around the world. The month of September will seem to be too close to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida and many elite athletes who have already qualified will hence give Singapore race a miss as they will rather rest and prepare for the World Championships.

Moving the date forward to March looks like a right move as the Singapore Triathlon will see world-renowned triathletes competing on our shores, including 2007 and 2008 Ironman World Champions, Chris McCormack and Craig Alexander, along with defending champions Simon Thompson and Rebekah Keat with other big names such as 2007 winners, Reinaldo Colucci and Belinda Granger.
This will make the Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore Triathlon the most star-studded race outside of the World Championships.
As organiser, Nick Munting, says, “The Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore is going to be an incredible race, and it’s not too late to enter and compete alongside these incredible athletes!”

For further information, please log on to

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Kicking off in the scorching sun was the Mohd Ihsan Memorial Doubles- Petanque event at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall last weekend. It would have made perfect cohesion with the song “Drop It Like Its Hot” by Snoop Dogg.

At heart, Petanque is easy to understand as it is a type of Boules game. You throw a wooden ball as a target in a gravel rich terrain called a “court”. Then you throw heavy metal balls towards it, trying to drop it near the ball, or hitting away an opponent’s ball.

The Mohd Ihsan Memorial Doubles- Petanque event showcased 8 extraordinary teams in total. There were 4 teams from Team Singapore and even two teams from Madagascar, where the sport is widely played there. Being residents in Singapore, they too came down to participate in the event adding more prestige and exposure to the event.

You might think that all this throwing would have meant the game was more “masculine”? Definitely not. Vicky Heo and Goh Heoi Bin, members of the National Women Team, were able to thrash a team 13-0 together. It was amazing watching Vicky play, displaying breathtaking accuracy and constantly disappointing the opponents.

It may seem easy, but there’s a lot more to the sport. Participants consisted of adrenaline pumped teenagers, accuracy armed adults and senior citizens seasoned with skill and experience. Rajamanickam, 53, and Yew Fook Seng, 58, of Team Yuhua Zone 5, gave a deeper insight to the sport, “The game is decided by how you curve the ball, your accuracy, the power you put into the throw and also the surface of the gravel. You can keep practicing but when you come to a competition, there’s also additional pressure. It’s not easy to throw when there’s pressure coming along with the hot weather”.

You could see a candid moment of senior citizens laughing their hearts out and joking about their throwing posture. By the end of the day, you could see everyone having a great time despite the tough competition.

Eddie Lim, Administrator & Development Manager of the Singapore Sports Boules Organization, added that people could come down to engage the sport in their free time. Practice sessions are held every Wednesday, Thursday (1830 - 2100) Saturday (1600 - 1900) Sunday (0930-1300) at the Petanque Training Centre, of Toa Payoh Sports Hall.


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Inspirational participants will now have the chance to fulfill their dreams by competing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater, Florida, thanks to the Aviva Life Challenge Award.

Aviva to award most inspirational local Ironman with the opportunity to fulfill dream at the Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Florida
Taking on life’s toughest challenges and triumphing over them is a vision that Aviva believes in and it aims to demonstrate this commitment through the launch of the Aviva Life Challenge Award.


The Aviva Life Challenge Award will be awarded to the most inspirational local Ironman, who has overcome the toughest challenges in life, from the Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore triathlon.


The winner will be selected from a pool of inspiring stories submitted online through the official Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore event website, Stories submitted by athletes or friends and families will be accepted. The winning athlete must also meet the Ironman World Championship 70.3 qualifying time of 8.5 hours in order to be eligible for this award.


Aviva will provide the winner with the unique opportunity to challenge the world as the prize for “The Aviva Life Challenge Award” will include free entry to the Ironman World Championship 70.3, along with flights and accommodation in Clearwater, fully sponsored by Aviva.


 Aviva’s unique support will recognise dreams and place the winner on a stage where few Singaporeans have entered. Few local qualifiers have taken up the opportunity to participate at the Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Florida in the three years of the Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore triathlon, with high costs being cited as a common reason.


Shaun Meadows, Chief Executive Officer of Aviva Singapore, Hong Kong and Middle East, said:

"We believe that everyone has an Ironman inside them that empowers them with the mental and physical resilience to face challenges, whether it is competing in the Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore or in the ones they face in life. I am delighted to be able to announce the ‘Aviva Life Challenge Award’ as part of the Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore event as it will allow us to recognise and reward the effort that a deserving competitor has put in to not only compete in the event itself, but also in their lives.  By supporting these stories, we aim to live up to Aviva’s commitment, perseverance and strength to power consumers' journeys towards both financial and physical health."


The Aviva Life Challenge Award is set to be launched at the most prestigious edition of the Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore triathlon as the event this year has attracted some of the world's leading triathletes, including current and immediate past Ironman world champions, Craig Alexander and Chris McCormack, and Yvonne van Vlerken, the world’s fastest female Ironman.


Hi-Tri Director, Nick Munting says the word is out, worldwide, that the Singapore based Aviva Ironman 70.3 is well run, has a great course and provides excellent racing. “In talking to many of the world’s elite athletes, we’ve realised that in keeping with our goals, Singapore is indeed now established as a preferred global stop-over within the global qualifying series of Ironman 70.3 race.”

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Some of the inaugural POSB Everyday Champions Award winners.

A food merchant with a strong passion for inline hockey. A mother of two who leads a team of cyclists on a daily basis, from as early as 5 a.m. A fatherly Russian fencing coach who makes tea for his students to perk them up. These individuals go beyond their call of duty to motivate and inspire others to play and grow through sports. They are also among the winners of the inaugural POSB Everyday Champions Award.


Today, the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) unveiled the 57 winners of the POSB Everyday Champions Award - 14 individuals, 25 coaches and 18 organisations. Organised by the SSC and sponsored by POSB, the award is the nation’s top accolade for honouring individuals, coaches and organisations that foster greater participation in sports. The winners were selected by a nine-member judging panel from organisations that are involved in sports such as the Ministry of Education, National Youth Council, People's Association and Singapore Sports School.


Launched in October last year, the Award received more than 3,000 nominations from members of the public, within a month. This laudable figure is close to a 300% increase from the combined entries submitted for the Sporting Singapore Inspiration Award and the Coach Recognition Award last year.


Commenting on the winners, Mr Oon Jin Teik, Chief Executive Officer of the SSC said: “Broad based sports participation at the grassroots level is a vital component for achieving a vibrant sporting culture in Singapore as well as growing the pipeline of future sports champions. Therefore it’s important that we recognise individuals and organisations that play a small but special role in making sports participation easier and more enjoyable at the community level. We hope the POSB Everyday Champions of 2009 will serve as an inspiration to all Singaporeans to get up, get out and play sports!”


Mr Koh Boon Hwee, Chairman of DBS Group Holdings, said: “Having served generations of Singaporeans for more than 130 years, we are proud of the fact that almost every Singaporean is a POSB customer. The POSB Everyday Champions Award demonstrates how POSB, fondly known as the People’s Bank, is part of the fabric of Singapore as it recognises everyday individuals and organisations that have consistently gone beyond their call of duty to help fellow Singaporeans enjoy a sporty lifestyle and grow through sports.”


All 57 POSB Everyday Champions will receive their awards from President S R Nathan at an award ceremony to be held at the St. Regis Hotel on Thursday, 26 February 2009. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, will also grace the event.


In the latest rankings released by the Asian Cricket Council, Singapore topped the 18-country list of teams outside of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.


“This is unprecedented and has been achieved through no co-incidence,’’ said Singapore Cricket Association president Imran Hamid. “The performance of our various teams in the Asian tournaments has been praiseworthy. The players must be congratulated for their sacrifices.”


Imran added that the development committee is now focusing on a newer set of younger players in a second cycle to build a bigger base of talent for the future. “Our younger players who have come through our system in the last 3 years have shown that they can play good cricket at the highest levels,’’ said Imran. In the last three ACC age-group tournaments, Singapore’s batsmen picked up the top awards. Each skipper in the age-group tournament was voted the best batsman in his category. In the ACC Elite Under-19, Anish Param was the best. In the ACC Elite Under-17, Timothy Singham was No.1 and in the ACC Under-15s, Rezza Gaznavi clinched the top batting position as Singapore won the tournament.


“Being No.1 is great. Now we must stay there and apply a fresh perspective to the younger lot of players,” added Imran.


Said General Manager, Dharmichand Mulewa, “At the various age-group teams and in the national team, players are finding it harder to secure a place and this is because younger players are constantly coming through the system. All the hard work cannot cease. It must continue with even more determination.”


If you are relatively new to physical activity, you should consult your doctor about your fitness routine and plans.


• Run your own race. Don't get off the bike and run at a pace faster than your usual pace. Remember, some people have been running for years before they ever did a triathlon. Don't get discouraged because you can't keep up with these people. Listen to your body and run at a pace that is comfortable for you.


• Pay attention to the pre-race meeting.


• Think/talk to yourself and others. Say positive things to other athletes. Remind yourself how far you have already gotten. This will allow you to keep going mentally, even when you are tired.


• Keep your head up. This will help keep the rest of your body in a line that will help prevent

injuries. It will also allow you to run slightly faster.


• Join a triathlon club or a local running group. This is particularly useful if you don't enjoy running alone. Sometimes when you are in the middle of a good conversation, you will forget that you are running. In addition, you will gain tips and support by running with others.


• Carry sports drink during long rides or runs, and some way to carry it (a water bottle in a cage or waist holder or a hydration pack).


• If you are going to the race alone, have an "emergency" contact number with you.


• Know the rules of triathlon and follow them. You don't want to get disqualified or a time penalty after all your hard work and training. Common time penalties include drafting (following the cyclist in front of you too closely), blocking and forgetting to buckle your helmet.


• Don't try anything new during the race or on race morning. You’re best to stick with sports drinks, food, and equipment that you have used on a regular basis. Different people react differently to different things, so just because something works for someone else does not mean it will work for you.

• Learn more than one swim stroke. Good alternatives for open water swimming include sidestroke, breaststroke, and for some people, backstroke.




Think Safe . Play Safe . Stay Safe

SSC Sports Safety Division

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