Preparation is key for S’pore canoeists

June 5, 2015 in In the Press by Singapore Canoe Federation

PUBLISHED: 10:21 PM, JUNE 5, 2015
SINGAPORE — A six-week training camp in South Africa earlier this year could prove the difference when Singapore’s 19-strong team takes to the water at the Marina Channel for the start of the 28th SEA Games canoeing competition today.

A total of 17 gold medals are up for grabs this year, with the first five events set to be competed today – the Men’s K4-1,000m, Men’s C1-1,000m, Men’s K1-1,000m, Men’s C2-1,000m and the Men’s K2-1,000m.

The Singapore Canoe Federation (SCF) left Myanmar two years ago disappointed, after they failed to achieve their aim of three gold medals – they were only able to win two gold medals, both of which came courtesy of women’s pair Stephenie Chen and Suzanne Seah (K2-200m and K2-500m).

While the SCF were coy about their medal targets, hopes are high that they can surpass their best ever Games haul of two gold, five silver and three bronze medals set in 2011.

There is good reason for such optimism. As part of the team’s preparations for the Games, they were sent to South Africa for an intensive training stint, where they got the opportunity to train with the Hungarian, Slovakian and South African national teams.

“It was an eye-opening experience for my team,” said Singapore’s head coach, Balazs Babella. “The whole trip was good because my team managed to learn from the world-class athletes who were there such as Bridgette Hartley (South African Olympic bronze medallist). It was good for me as well to see how the big teams prepared for major competitions.

“We did some tests when we came back after the trip to South Africa and it showed that we made huge improvements as well. So I’m really happy with the result of the trip. I knew it would be good but I think it turned out to be even better than expected.”

In addition, the SCF were also able to leverage on the support and expertise of the Singapore Sports Science Institute (SSI) – in particular, the SSI’s series of “Step Tests”, which put the national canoeists through their paces in six four-minute sets of intensive paddling on an indoor kayak machine helped provide Babella a more comprehensive and in-depth analysis of each individual athlete.

“What the test allows me to analyse are physiological facts,” explained Babella, 37. “So it’s not only what I see on the water and not just based on what my stopwatch shows me. It tells me exactly what the athletes are feeling and the shape they are in, which makes it easier for me plan for their training.

“I’m extremely grateful for such support from Sport Singapore and the SSI. But we cannot stop here, nor just set our sights on doing well at the SEA Games. We must be aiming higher than that – the Asian Games and ultimately, the Olympics.”


Adapted from: