Cunha and Hall-Engle join ActiveSG Athletics Club to boost programmes for children and aspiring youths

Singapore , 02 Dec 2016

The ActiveSG Athletics Club today announced that renowned track-and-field coaches Luis Filipe Cunha and Katrina Hall-Engle will be joining the club as Principal and Head Coach (Kids Programme) respectively. Along with the club’s existing head coaches, Steven Quek (Distance Running) and Melvin Tan (Sprints), the team of four will work together to offer participants a premium quality programme suitable for children who are starting out in the sport or aspiring to progress to an elite level.

Lai Chin Kwang, Chief, ActiveSG, said, “I am very excited to welcome both Luis and Katrina to the ActiveSG Athletics Club. The two new appointments have over 33 years of experience in coaching Athletics and will bring to the table fun and fresh ideas to boost our current programmes. Both of them also have a strong background in working with children, making them ideal to plan and execute ActiveSG’s values-based programmes which aim to use sport to inculcate important values such as discipline, respect and teamwork into our youths.”

Luis Cunha - Principal
As principal, Cunha will be in-charge of designing the club’s programmes at all age groups to ensure there is a consistent progression in the development of each child as he or she gets older and increase in proficiency in a specific event. He will also be working with the club’s head coaches to ensure that the programmes are delivered to the children effectively.

Cunha said, “It is a great honour to be trusted to lead the ActiveSG Athletics Club and I’m relishing the opportunity to share my experience to encourage more youths in Singapore to get started in Athletics, the foundation of all sports. The main aim of the club is to give everyone the chance to get active and participate in sport as well as to build the club’s capability to produce athletes and improve their performances at competitions. I’m happy to contribute to this cause with my team of coaches to bring the sport of Athletics to the next level.”

Prior to his current appointment, Cunha was head coach (sprints/hurdles) with Singapore Athletics where Team Singapore athletes, including Singapore’s national hurdler Dipna Lim Prasad, won various medals and broke multiple national records during the 2015 SEA Games and other international meets under his tutelage. Before his arrival in Singapore, the former 3-time Olympian for Portugal was head coach (sprint/relays) for his country’s Athletics team. Cunha also has plenty of experience coaching children - having worked with various athletes at youth level throughout his respectable career and also starting off as a high school PE teacher and coach where he worked closely with children to develop and sustain their interest in sport. He also planned and taught Long-Term Athlete Development programmes as a Lisbon University lecture and IAAF Lecture.

Katrina Hall-Engle – Head Coach (Kids Programme)
Ms Hall-Engle meanwhile will be helming the Kids programme that is targeted for children aged six to twelve years old. She will be helping to refine the framework for the programme’s curriculum and will also be working closely with the club’s assistant and volunteer coaches to deliver the programme to the participants.

Previously a coach with running club, FWCC (Fabian Williams Coaching Concepts), Hall-Engle worked with various athletes at youth level including the school teams at St Joseph Institution and the United World of College for Southeast Asia. Prior to that, she was the track and field coach at the Singapore Sports School where she worked with some of the current Team Singapore athletes. Hall-Engle also holds a doctorate in Education with a speciality in Character Education and has past experience as a school principal at a welfare school.

Ms Hall-Engle said, “At the age of six to twelve years old, it is more important for the child to have fun during the sessions and help them develop a habit of exercising regularly and staying healthy. As such, the kids programme will avoid any specialisation in a certain skill set and instead encourage our participants to try out all segments of Athletics. The main objective of the kids programme is to build up their fitness and fundamental movement skills picked up through Athletics. Fundamental movement skills are the foundation upon which all other sport skills are built so the programme will ready the child for when he or she is older and would like to specialise in a specific event or even another sport.”

Additionally, both Cunha and Hall-Engle have been enlisted to establish a coaching development framework where they will groom and mentor aspiring coaches and improve the grassroots coaching scene for Athletics in Singapore.

The new additions will also be tasked to work with different key stakeholders in the nation’s sporting ecosystem to expand the talent pool of athletes participating in Athletics and to create pathways for these athletes to turn elite.

Cunha said, “It is important for the fraternity to work together to help push our local Athletics scene to greater heights. In the upcoming months, the Athletics Club will be reaching out to organisations such as schools and Singapore Athletics to discuss potential partnership opportunities.”

The ActiveSG Athletics Club is the second of four ActiveSG academies/clubs that were launched in 2016 under the Vision 2030 master plan to encourage more Singaporeans to get active and live better through sport. There are currently a total of more than 120 children enrolled with the club, which runs its programmes at four centres around the island. The club offers an all-rounded kids programmes for children aged 6-12 and a more competitive youth programme for those above the age of 13.

For more information or/and to join the Athletics Club, please visit www.myactivesg.com/academy/athletics.

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