Singapore, 5 July 2011 - Some of the world's top swim nations have chosen Singapore as the venue for their final preparations en route to what is the biggest aquatics competition this year - the 14th FINA World Championships, held in Shanghai, China from 16-31 July 2011.
2. World-renowned and Olympic gold medal winning names such as Stephanie Rice and Leisel Jones from Australia, and French Freestyle specialist Alain Bernard will arrive in Singapore this month for their final lap of training prior to the World Championships. They will be joined by more than 300 other swimmers, divers, and water polo players from 24 countries, including powerhouses Canada (swimming), Sweden (diving) and Hungary (water polo).
3. "Singapore has been the preferred training hub for teams travelling to Asia for competitions since August 2006. To date, we have hosted over 1500 world class athletes from over 30 countries including famous stars like Michael Phelps. Singapore's position in the heart of the Asia-Pacific, excellent transport, medical services and sports facilities, along with our safe cosmopolitan environment make us an ideal training venue for teams to acclimatise before major competitions in Asia," said Bob Gambardella, Chief of Sports Development Group and the Singapore Sports Institute, Singapore Sports Council (SSC).
4. For this month's World Championships, it may be the first time that some athletes are competing in Asia. Singapore, sharing the same time zone as Shanghai, having very similar climates and urban landscape, and being a mere five and a hour flight away makes it an ideal pit-stop for teams travelling from Africa, Europe, Australia and the Americas. Singapore provides the optimal environment for athletes to acclimatise and get over their jet lag quickly, avoiding any psychological or physical stresses adjusting to the time, food and weather in Shanghai may cause. This is crucial as it allows athletes to go into competition well-adjusted and in the best condition possible.
5. The SSC has a dedicated team of liaison officers that are on hand to help the visiting teams adjust as fast as possible. These liaison officers help them with logistical matters such as phone cards, meals, transport, and training equipment; essentially making their transition as seamless as possible so that athletes and coaches are able to focus solely on their performance without any distractions.
A Chance to Catch World-Class Aquatic Action
6. While the teams are here, Singaporeans will get the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of these sports superstars. Autograph signing and open training sessions with the Australian and French teams along with Water Polo and Diving competitions are just some of the many activities that the public can look forward to.
7. In addition, six of the top water polo teams in the world, including top ranked Hungary ? who have 15 Olympic and nine World Championship medals to their name, will be playing in the Pre-World Championships Water Polo Game from 9 to 13 July at Toa Payoh Swimming Complex. Singapore Water Polo will also be conducting the FINA Water Polo School for Referees in tandem with the Games. The course, conducted by 9 to 11July by Niculae Firoiu - a member of FINA's Technical Water Polo Committee, aims to raise the level of officiating standards in Asia.
8. Singaporeans will also get a preview of the SEA Games diving competition, when Singapore competes against other SEA Games countries at the 2nd Singapore Diving Invitational that will be held from 8 to 10 July. Anna Lindberg, the current European diving champion from Sweden will be diving alongside athletes from Singapore, The Philippines, Brunei, Hong Kong, Macau, and Indonesia. The full list of these activities is available in Annex A.
9. Expressing the value-add visiting teams bring when they come to train in Singapore, Bob Gambardella had this to say, "Singapore also has a lot to gain from hosting these world-class teams. They bring with them experience, and knowledge that we will be able to tap into and share with the local sports fraternity. Local coaches, officials, and athletes will get a chance to learn and share best practices and ideas from the best in their field. In addition, these sporting superstars will also be a source of inspiration and encouragement to aspiring young athletes in Singapore. This certainly contributes to the advancement of Sporting Singapore."