Track and field gets new home, fresh identity

Track and field gets new home, fresh identity

New name, new logo, new home.

Singapore Athletics president Tang Weng Fei is hopeful that the national track and field body's new identity and Home of Athletics (HOA) at the Kallang Practice Track, just a stone's throw away from the Singapore Sports Hub, will be a shot in the arm for the sport as it eyes a return to the glory days of the 1970s.

The body was previously known as the Singapore Athletics Association.

"The revitalisation of track and field has been ongoing, and this will reinforce it," Tang told The New Paper at an unveiling ceremony at Kallang yesterday morning.

"Now we have a home, hopefully, we can take local track and field to the next level.

"For example, one of the things we're now able to do is conduct centralised training for all our national athletes here, since October."

About $4 million was spent to refurbish the HOA facility.

It now features an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Grade 1 synthetic track, a gym, two pole vault pits, four pits for long and triple jumps, two pits for discus and hammer and a further two for shot put.

The track and jump areas are also equipped with capabilities that allow for the measurement of ground reaction forces.

There are further plans to add 200 tiered-seats along the track and increase the number of shelters around the facility.

Pointing to the young track and field athletes training and competing at the HOA yesterday, Sport Singapore chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin said: "What I see here is a whole lot of people who believe.

"What we need is some organisation so we can move forward positively and with good momentum.

MOVING FORWARD

"I wish we had this opportunity (to unveil the HOA) a few years ago, but it's never too late.

"We've put in the basics... (and) we will enhance it."

In addition to being a training facility, the HOA will also serve as the warm-up venue for elite athletes competing in the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in June.

Yesterday saw the special return for one athlete to the facility.

Glory Barnabas won eight SEA Games medals, two of them gold, and both of them won in the 1973 Games which Singapore hosted. She experienced first hand the warm-up at what is now the HOA, and the walk to the cavernous National Stadium where she proved triumphant.

The 74-year-old, who will compete at the Singapore Masters meet in September, said: "The Kallang Practice track back then was pretty much barren, with the exception of one or two temporary shelters.

"So the current facilities are really good for our athletes.

"I remember all the national athletes from my day - sprinters, jumpers, throwers, race walkers - used to train here.

"And even athletes from outside track and field would join us, since the Tennis Centre and Kallang Netball Centre were just beside us.

"Also, it's great for athletics that there are so many people here despite the heat, particularly youngsters who are training and competing."


This article was first published on March 15, 2015.
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