Playing it cool

Ice cool. That is how you would describe world-class rugby players in a tough situation on the field.

Ice cool is also how you would describe the special treatment their muscles get after a vigorous game.

Pan Pacific Singapore, where the 300 HSBC World Rugby Singapore Sevens players and officials are staying, has to arrange for 5,760kg of ice in six brand new garbage bins for the players after their training sessions.

The Singapore leg of the 16-team tournament, being held at the National Stadium, starts today and ends tomorrow.

Pico Singapore, an events company, is in charge of the ice baths for this year's high-profile event.

"The players use about 720kg of ice daily, and the Pico team will make countless trips to the ice truck to bring the ice up (to the pool on the fourth storey)," Ms Cassandra Ang, 25, project executive at Pico Singapore, told The New Paper yesterday.

After their training sessions, the players take turns to soak themselves in the ice tubs for two to eight minutes each time. They can use the tubs multiple times.

"Ice baths help to soothe sore muscles and are relaxing for athletes," said Mr Marcus Ong Zhi Yong, 24, an employee from Pico Singapore, who was facilitating the use of the ice baths.

When The New Paper arrived at the pool area where the hotel had placed the ice baths, the players from Portugal and Russia were soaking in the tubs.

Due to the language barrier, TNP was unable to speak to them, but the beefy athletes seemed to enjoy relaxing and fooling around in the baths.

It is not just the ice baths that the hotel has to prepare, but also special meals to cater to the players. 

Preparations for the special menus started in January this year.

Out of the six main courses provided for them, three are carbohydrates - rice, pasta and potato - while the other three are vegetable, fish and meat.

"These players eat a lot and the special menus have more carbohydrate and protein," said Mr Sumanth Das, 40, the hotel's director of restaurants, bars and events.


And due to the sheer amount of food that they can eat, there is hardly any wastage, added Mr Das.

During the first two days, Mr Das and his team were around for the players' mealtimes.

Feedback from the players was mostly positive.

However, some players commented on Thursday that they were bored of mashed potato.

So the culinary team changed the mashed potato to roasted potato with rosemary and garlic.

In addition, in-room massage services are available but most teams have their massages done by their own sports therapists.

"The most important thing is that the players enjoy their stay here and are able to train in peace," said Ms Kelly Cho, 37, the director of event services of Pan Pacific Singapore.

This article was first published on April 16, 2016.
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