Wilbour Kelsick: Why train in Singapore?
Why Singapore First?
Well the games are on and as I stated earlier I did not attend the opening ceremonies because I am at the track and field training camp in Singapore. You may ask why Singapore and not Beijing? Well how can you not make Singapore the training base. Singapore is a great Country; the diverse culture gives visitors an opportunity to experience many different Asian countries on One Island. The people here are friendly and polite. And how can you go wrong to be in country in the eve of their National (independence) day celebration. Singapore is only 43 years young. The lights and colours here for the celebrations are incredible. The national day parade was a sea of red with practically everyone wearing the Singapore colour “Red”. The fireworks and entertainment on the water front was spectacular. Its a great time to visit the country.
Oh, before I forget, I wanted tell you that the Canadian high commissioner hosted an opening ceremonies party for the Canadian team in Singapore. There were over 200 guests and expats in attendance. It was an evening with Asian cuisine, traditional lion dance athlete meet and greet.
So far the entire team feels great about having the training camp in Singapore. The reason for choosing Singapore was not based on pollution problems in Beijing but Athletics Canada decided that this was the best location with the time zone that was cost effective and best simulates the environment (humidity and heat) in Beijing. We were blessed that the Singapore Athletics Associations offer to host our training Camp and how could we refuse the offer. Last year they did the same for the World Track and Field Championships in Osaka Japan. They were a very pleasant and welcoming group. And that’s why their offer to host our Olympic training camp was an idea fit.
So why Singapore for training camp?
1. It’s in the same time zone as Beijing
2. It provides an environment away from the hecticness of the Olympic village and city. The idea is to have the athletes in the most relaxed environment in the final stages of preparation for the big show.
3. The training facility here is very good and the Canadian team has it all to themselves. The team does not have to compete for starting blocks at the track or for a lane to run. We have a weight room to ourselves etc. This is excellent environment in that the athletes can train at their own pace and not joggling with many other athletes/countries which will be the case in Beijing around this time.
4. We have our own transportation at our convenience to and from training track twice or more a day.
5. Our accommodation is close to the beach which is excellent for the distant athletes wanted to do long runs away from the traffic.
6. The team building atmosphere is excellent since the group is smaller and athletes can have more quality time together and support each other at this stage of preparation
7. Athletes can be more focused and have less distractions during this preparation stage.
8. And yes the pollution is less here and that is good when training intensely.
9. In Beijing the Athletes will be tapering and hence training work loads will be less, travel to training sites will also be less. They will be ready for completion.
I have not being to Beijing since April but so far I have not heard too much complaint from our people on the ground about the pollution. I can say this: The athletics venue is one of the most impressive I have seen. I had a tour of the stadium in April and it was over 90% complete. This place has the feel for athletic competition. If they get things to work the way they are suppose too the athletes will do just great.
The excitement is building here among the athletes’. Some are a bit nervous as expected their first Olympics , others are excited and can’t wait to compete where as others are just waiting for that moment to show case their act. The staff of course is here in full support of the athlete's desire. We are all excited for them. We are continuing our supportive role with vigour and pride. Overall the training camp is proceeding as plan with hardly any hiccups. And that’s the way the staff likes it. Things are running as planned (no pun intended).
I will update you when I get to Beijing in two days. The games are on and we will come running......!!
That’s the way I see it.