Top hockey women to play in Singapore
Singapore company's sponsorship of Hockey Australia will drive Olympic dreams
Singapore will host some of the world's best hockey women players next January.
As part of a two-year sponsorship agreement between The Project Group (TPG) and Hockey Australia, the Hockeyroos - Australia's women's team - will play in a three-nation tournament, together with world No. 1 Holland and Germany, at the Sengkang Stadium from Jan 18 to 24.
The tournament will be part of the Hockeyroos' build-up towards the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Speaking on the sidelines of the contract-signing ceremony at the Perth Hockey Stadium yesterday, Hockeyroos' coach Adam Commens is looking forward to the Singapore sojourn that will kick off the team's final push for the Olympics, which will be held in Rio from Aug 5 to 21.
"We're looking at having strong competition for the Olympic squad, and coming to Singapore is a great opportunity to set a framework for that, while also providing matches against top quality opposition," he said.
"While we will come to Singapore with between 24 and 27 girls, we can take only 16 to the Olympics, and it's important to have competition, because it drives out complacency," added Commens.
The Kookaburras, the world champion Australian men's team, have also been pencilled in to play in Singapore at a date to be announced later.
"The plan to have a three-nation tournament featuring some of the top women's teams in the world is to showcase top quality hockey in Singapore," said Paul Lim, managing director of TPG, a project management and cost management firm, who declined to reveal financial details of the two-year deal.
"We're also looking to get the men over sometime soon."
TPG has opened an office in Sydney and its commitment to Australia's push for Olympic gold goes even deeper.
As part of the two-year deal, the TPG logo will appear on the backs of the kits of both the men's and women's teams, with both teams standing to benefit through a medal incentive scheme.
The scheme will see each of the final 16 players in the respective squads receive A$10,000 ($10,400), if they win gold in Rio next year, A$5,000 for silver and A$3,000 for bronze.
The remaining 10 or so in the current training squad will receive half the amount, even though they will not go to Rio.
The men and women will need to finish in the top three of their respective World League semi-finals later this year to confirm their qualification for the Olympics.
Singapore-based TPG has already made inroads into Australian hockey. Star names like Jamie Dwyer and Mark Knowles from the men's team, and Rachael Lynch and Jane Claxton from among the women's side, were involved in training Singapore's elite players, in a programme organised by TPG Academy, which was launched last December.
There are plans to take this Singapore-Australia partnership to a higher level.
"One of the key aims of the partnership is to help Singapore players get more exposed to the Australian system, maybe even get them to play in Australian leagues, while also bringing Aussie players here to train," said Lim.
"For our local players, at least there's something to look forward to beyond the SEA Games."
"Great credit must go to our athletes, a number of whom helped initiate our dialogue with Paul, and whose involvement with Paul’s TPG Academy in Singapore is the perfect advert for Australian hockey."
- Hockey Australia chief executive Cam Vale, on the latest tie-up with Singapore-based company TPG Academy