190 athletes pumped up to help at-risk youth

Some 190 athletes will spend 17 minutes today perspiring for a good cause.

The men and women are regulars at CrossFit gyms across Singapore where they undergo strength and conditioning programmes that focus on constantly varied functional movements - such as squatting, pushing and pulling - executed at a high intensity.

Today, they will perform a "Fight For Hope" workout at *Scape, consisting of doing as many burpees, kettlebell swings, push presses, rowing strokes and box jumps as possible.

For each repetition they do, friends and relatives have pledged a sum that will go towards helping youth at risk, such as those who may have fallen into crime or face behavioural problems.

Fitness fanatic and National University of Singapore undergraduate Moses Yeo, 24, has roped in six family members who have pledged 20 to 40 cents for each repetition, and he hopes to do 240 repetitions.

"I've not done this workout before," he admitted. "I've done parts of the workout before and it's very tiring, but I'll push myself on Saturday because it's for a good cause."

This is the second year that the mass charity event - called Operation Broken Wing - is being held.

Last year, 45 athletes from three CrossFit gyms raised $30,000 for youth beneficiaries of social welfare group Reach Community Services Society. The money helped to build Reach's first youth centre in Bukit Batok. This year, Operation Broken Wing is targeting to raise $80,000 for the same beneficiaries.

Reach Community Services Society partners government-gazetted homes for youth at risk. Last year, 15 of these at-risk youth went for a training event at Innervate CrossFit, the gym organising Operation Broken Wing, before participating in the fund-raiser. This year, it picked 19 at-risk youth to take part, and they can train at its gyms.

"They took part in the workout themselves, as well as assisted with the running of the entire event," said Innervate CrossFit director Lionel Choong, 26. "This provided a huge sense of significance for them as well as boosted their confidence dramatically.

"We also used CrossFit as a way to help divert much of their energy towards a positive outlook on fitness, not just to simply look good but also to be truly fit from the inside out.

"I've always been involved in church youth activities, so I've always wanted to be a part of that and bring the same energy to help the youth in public."


This article was first published on September 19, 2015.
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