Thoughts on #IAMSUPERLEAGUE & more
Updated: Feb 24, 2019
The Finale of the premier racing league, Super League Triathlon (SLT), have taken over the streets of Singapore this weekend (23-24 Febuary) at ONEDeg15 Marina and Sentosa Cove.
The Singapore leg follows other stops in Jersey, Mallorca and Malta, and will feature favorites such as Olympic silver medallist Jonny Brownlee (GBR), Commonwealth Games gold medallist and personal favourite Henri Schoeman (RSA) and Vincent Luis (FRA) for the men. For the women, Katie Zafares (USA) has been the one to watch. Joining her at the start line of the Grand Final are also World Triathlon Series (WTS) superstars Ashleigh Gentle (AUS), Rachel Kalmer (NED) and Charlotte McShane (AUS). 2015 SEA Games gold medalist Claire Adorna (PHI), Hilda Choi (HKG) and Kim Kilgroe (PHI) will be making their debut stop here at SLT Grand Final as well.
The professional athletes will battle it out across the Eliminator format on Saturday (23Feb) and the Enduro format on Sunday (24Feb). The U19 youths and juniors will be taking to the start in a ‘Mini Enduo’ on Sunday morning.
Earlier this week, I was involved in an engagement session arranged by the Superleague Team and the Triathlon Association of Singapore (TAS). The event was hosted by the National University of Singapore (NUS), focusing on how sport can contribute to human development and in particular for the professional athletes to give back to society by empowering and educating young people.
I have trained at NUS extensively in the past and reckon it as my second home and family. Setting foot at the track again reminded me of 6 years ago when I was one of these privileged varsity athletes, training without a care in the world. At that age, I was also buying passes to meet-the-pros at long course championship events across the world. I drew so much inspiration and positive vibes from getting mementos from them.
But away from the spotlight, I am now able to see Sport in different perspective: How a life lived in sport can influence young people's behavior and can be a vehicle for social change, cultural identity and individual empowerment, especially for younger female athletes.
In my work with younger athletes both overseas and back at home, it is evident that our society has a strong dependence on athletes/coaches as role models. This goes beyond the way they train and perform; it’s all encompassing- their attitude, the way they treat others, their view on success and failure, their self esteem etc.
Some exceptional athletes have important messages for their fans. For example, Tim Don, IRONMAN World Record Holder, was struck by a truck while logging some final training miles on his bike just days before the 2017 Kona IRONMAN World Championship. The collision resulted in a broken C2 vertebra. Don's journey back to the sport carries a strong message of power of courage, persistence and to work hard for the things in life.
The point is clear- Professional athletes have an incredible opportunity to use their celebrity power to positively influence the next generation both in achieving sporting excellence and beyond. To watch it unfold between the Superleague professionals and the varsity athletes up close was a bonus to myself, and also a gentle reminder of the influence I have over the athletes under my care.
Singapore has been extremely fortunate to have Super League Triathlon on board as the biggest event on a professional level. Special thanks to the people behind Superleague team, Sport Sg, TAS, OneDeg15Marina and Sentosa Cove for working the pieces together. You have helped this sport grow in more ways than one :)