Champions Cafe The Art of Team Culture
The combined session helped forge stronger connections between the Netball and Golf teams.
SSI is well-versed in the science behind sporting performance, with our sport scientists on the front lines supporting our athletes as they compete. However, what is less explicit or lesser recognised is the delicate ‘art’ of building a strong Team Singapore culture—one that embraces the celebration of efforts and dedication of our athletes and thereby strengthens the fabric of camaraderie and togetherness amongst Team Singapore family.
In celebrating the SEA Games journey and the extraordinary performances of our Team Singapore athletes, the Athlete Services & Development (ASD) Department initiated the concept of the ‘Champions’ Café’—where Team Singapore athletes and officials can come together as their respective sports team, for a closure to their participation in the Games through food, friendship and fun. This is a celebration of that extraordinary spirit that goes beyond medals won and accolades received. It recognizes the effort that our athletes have put in, and honours the journey undertaken by every single one of our sportsmen and women, regardless of the results and outcomes.
‘These sessions were about showing our athletes that their hard work and sacrifices are appreciated,’ said Peggy Tng, Deputy Director of ASD, SSI. ‘This is a step towards building a culture for Team Singapore where the journey is celebrated as much as the outcome.’
SSI strives to build a sporting culture that celebrates and appreciates all the stakeholders in the sporting fraternity. Through the Champions’ Café, not only have Singapore’s athletes had the chance to come together for a fun and cosy close to their respective competitions, corporate partners have also been given the opportunity to be a part of the SEA Games experience.
Sakae Holdings, Joe & Dough, Squeezed and Smoothie King generously came on board to support 19 Champions’ Café sessions from 8-16 June, benefitting 17 sports and 310 athletes.
‘As a home-grown brand, Sakae is definitely supportive of our local talents,’ said Mr Douglas Foo, Chairman of Sakae Holdings. ‘When the opportunity to sponsor Champions’ Café arose, we were delighted to come on board to serve up healthy and quality food to our athletes.’
Joe & Dough and Squeezed are two other local companies who saw the value of supporting our athletes through these sessions. ‘Constant hard work, commitment to their craft, and breaking boundaries - these are the attributes that define our athletes, and the values that Joe & Dough can resonate with,’ said Damien Koh, co-founder of both companies.
The Joe & Dough team at Kallang Leisure Park diligently prepared food for the Champions’ Café sessions through the Games.
Besides the provision of food and beverage, Smoothie King also contributed to the Champions’ Café programme by offering live demonstrations of how to create their healthy wraps.
Neil Bailey, Manager at Smoothie King, explained that they were both humbled and awed by their involvement in the Champions’ Café. ‘We are proud to have been able to offer our voice of support and cheers in a manner that allowed us to be an element of truly inspiring healthy lifestyle choices.’
These contributions were greatly appreciated by the athletes, who in their feedback cited ‘food’ as a one of the aspects they enjoyed most. Athletes were also touched by the level of appreciation and support that was shown to them.
Smoothie King manager Neil Bailey feels that participation in the Champions’ Café was an incredible experience.
‘It’s heartwarming to know the incredible home support athletes receive,’ said waterpolo player Angeline Teo. Canoeist Annabelle Ng cited the session as a ‘wonderful way to celebrate and find closure’, while her Team Manger Lyuina Lee said, ‘This really makes the team feel appreciated for all they have sacrificed and achieved.’
A culture of appreciating those who have supported them is clear among the Canoe team, who capitalised on the session to say a proper ‘thank you’ to their coaches. Other teams also showed their gratitude to supporters during the Champions’ Café, such as the Dragonboat women, who presented a handmade thank-you drawing to ASD as well as parent volunteer Dolly Lo, and the sailors, who prepared signed bibs and bags for the team sponsors.
For the partners who have come on board, they are just as delighted and grateful for the experience.
‘We are very honoured to be part of the SEA Games! Looking at the hard efforts our athletes put in and the medals won for Singapore, it has warmed our hearts and coming on board to support them is the least we can do. We are very touched to know that they loved the little gesture from us!’ said Douglas Foo from Sakae Holdings.
Mr Douglas Foo, Chairman of Sakae Holdings, has been a strong supporter of local talents for many years. Sakae Holdings sponsored their quality sushi during the Champions’ Café sessions.
The key words from athletes’ feedback at the sessions clearly show that food and gratitude were key thoughts in their minds.