Thursday, January 22, 2009

Catch us on 938Live this weekend!

Yep, we'll be going on air to talk talk talk about pentathlon and how it's gonna be developed in Singapore. Catch us on 938Live Sportszone between 11am and Noon. Tune in if you want to find out how you can join the team! (hint: first selection coming soon!)
If you miss us on Saturday, there'll be an encore telecast on Sunday between 11am and Noon.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What it takes

Hi all! Hope everyone is having a great start to the new year and gearing up for what promises to be a tough year financially, but an exciting one in sporting terms!

I was amazed to see the number of multi-sport endurance events that have sprung up on the local calendar this year and it really looks like Singaporeans are embracing the concept of multi-sports such as triathlons, biathlons, duathlons and adventure racing.

As pentathlon is pretty much the new kid on the multi-sport scene, I thought I'd share a little bit about what goes into making a top pentathlete.

I competed in pentathlon in Europe for three years back in my university days and got to watch some of the best athletes from around the region in action. I got to train with the British national team and three of my friends took home gold, silver and bronze in the women's event at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

While it may sound like a hodge-podge of unrelated events that rewards "jack-of-all-trades", it's quite obvious that "masters-of-none" are not going to take home the gold. A look at the timings of the swim and run events at the Olympics show that the winners are clocking almost world-class times (we'll have more details of that up here soon for those statistics fans). I've known pentathletes who compete on the elite world cup fencing circuit and actually win events there. And the shooting and riding standards are also approaching the top levels in the individual sports.

So what makes a top pentathlete tick? Traditionally, coaches would look for athletes who have a strong swimming background. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, swim technique is not easy to pick up and anyone who has swum from an early age would have a distinct advantage in terms of "feel for the water" and technique compared to anyone who starts later. This takes years to develop. Furthermore, swimmers who have trained seriously for competition know what it means to put in long hours, sometimes twice a day, and have also developed superior aerobic capacities (lung and heart) without having subjected their bodies to the pounding of other sports like running. This then transfers well to the other physical sports.

The next attribute or focus for training development would be to transfer some of that swim fitness to running and improving running technique. At the same time, the skill elements of shooting and fencing will be introduced along with the excitement and challenge of horse-riding.

Certain countries are known for their tradition of excellence in certain events. The Brits are excellent riders, the Americans produce top-notch swim-runners, the French typically are brilliant fencers and so on. Maybe Singapore can become famous for being masters of ALL.

Have a great weekend and train smart!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Vice Prez explains the SIMPA logo

The 5 disciplines of modern pentathlon
We wanted something to portray the 5 disciplines of modern pentathlon. Other countries with established pentathlon associations had very similar designs. Design-wise, they were getting kinda stale and boring . I mean, this is supposed to be a gungho sport that requires physical strength, endurance, mental focus and even the understanding of horse behaviour! If one has a chance to google images for various pentathlon groups, you'll probably discover that most, if not all, have the ubiquitous stick figurines for swimmer, runner, shooter, fencer and showjumper. Most don't seem to have form and structure. And so from the beginning we decided unanimously NOT to use stick figurines or anything that resembled 'action' or movement. We decided to use elements of the five disciplines: bulls-eye target for shooting, water waves for swimming, feet for running, horseshoe for horseriding, and the sword for fencing. (there were some initial thoughts of using shoes, pistol grips, spurs and goggles...)

The Lion, the Switch, and the Wardrobe (malfunction)
As one of the newest NSA (National Sports Association) in Singapore, we also intended give a local flavour to our logo. Red and white were natural choice colours. At first we wanted to use a star or something that would fit the five disciplines in.
5 circles arranged in a pentagon? 5 triangles arranged in a pentagon?
While the decision for the 'shape' was left hung in the air, we tried to explore if we could use other local symbols that would portray the Singaporean-ness of SIMPA.... At first we thought of using the orchid, probably inspired by the the orchid motif that someone was wearing during one of our earlier meetings.
And so I drew a prototype depicting the orchid. Great! It's got 5 petals. But the centerpiece of the orchid seemed empty.
My mind kept racing for ideas. SIMPA, Singapore, singa..... SINGA! A lion! Why not use a lion as a national symbol? Perhaps I could incorporate the lion into the centerpiece of the orchid!
A few minutes later, another prototype was produced - one with a fierce roaring lion within an orchid motif....
But hang on.. the lion looked kinda gu-niang with a 'flower hat, roaring or not... and wait! the orchid looks like a sea turtle!
So it was back to the drawing board again.
We finally settled for the roaring lion, without the orchid motif, and the 5 elements of modern pentathlon within the lion's mane... and yes, the 5 stars were intentionally added.. for that extra Singaporean flavour to it.

So there you have it: SIMPA - true Singaporean tenacity and grit. ROOOOAAARRRRR!
(Thanks to Derrick and Dennis for digitizing and refining the prototype designs)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Anchorvale CC Youth Group supports SIMPA

SIMPA received its very first official sponsorship support from the Anchorvale CC Youth Group. On Tuesday 6 January 2009, the youth group committed to sponsor the making of collaterals that will help promote SIMPA's awareness and modern pentathlon in Singapore. Chairman of the Youth Group, Mr Derrick Loh mentioned "It is our honour to collaborate with SIMPA in raising awareness of modern pentathlon in Singapore. It is relatively new here but we'll align with SIMPA's goals to eventually field our homegrown pentathletes at the inaugural Youth Olympics in 2010." The collaterals will be available at this Saturday's CAN! event at the Singapore Management University (SMU).
Meanwhile, Mr Loh added that Anchorvale CC would be organising a biathlon race called the Endurance Challenge at Sengkang West on 22 February 2009, and SIMPA officials will be there on the lookout for potential olympians.
Stay tuned for more details.
Thank you Anchorvale CC Youth Group!
Here's a sneak preview of the 'little door-gift'...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Catch SIMPA Live!

YES! We'll be featured at CAN!
This is where the official Youth Olympic Games logo will be unveiled and this is also where SIMPA's logo will be publicly launched as well.
The CAN! event will be held at the Singapore Management University (SMU) Campus Green on the 10th of January 2009.
SIMPA will be giving out some cool stuff! See you there!

Modern Pentathlon 101

Hey guys! For those who are wondering what in the world 'Modern Pentathlon' is, well look no further folks! Here's a quick and digestable definition:
" Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the modern pentathlon believing the event would test a man's/woman's moral qualities as much as his physical resources and skills, thereby producing the ideal, complete athlete. The modern pentathlon is an Olympic sport which consists of competition in five events in one gruelling day. Competitors earn points for their performances in each of the five disciplines: pistol shooting, epee fencing, swimming, riding (equestrian show jumping) and cross-country running. The total points scored in the first four events determine the starting order for the final event, turning the cross-country running into a handicap event. The leading competitor sets off first and the intervals between that competitor and those who follow is determined by the points difference between them. Because of this handicapping system, the first three competitors to cross the line at the end of the run fill the gold, silver and bronze medal positions.
Modern pentathlon is a true representation of the Olympic movement. The 5 Olympic rings are reflected in modern pentathlon's 5 events and participation from all 5 continents. It is a true sport of the Olympic Games, created by the founder of the Modern Games Pierre de Coubertin and reflecting the ideals embodied by the Olympic movement. Modern pentathlon has to remain an indefatigable part of it. "