Footballers pleased with Games accommodation
SEA Games footballers give thumbs up for their 'digs'
Food? Check. Comfortable rooms? Check. Now all that's left is for the Games to begin.
As the various athletes gear up for the upcoming South-east Asia (SEA) Games, the media got a sneak peek into the Days and Ramada Hotel Singapore at Zhongshan Park yesterday, the allotted accommodation for gymnasts, shooters and footballers.
Days and Ramada are buildings next to each other, with amenities like a swimming pool and a gymnasium to provide athletes the opportunity to work out outside of their respective training arenas.
The Timor Leste football team were spotted splashing about in the pool yesterday, having some fun before the serious business of competition, when they kick off their Group B campaign against Malaysia at the Bishan Stadium on Saturday.
All 11 football teams will stay at the Days Hotel and the Brunei side arrived on Monday.
"From day one, we already instilled the mindset of staying focused, that we are coming here for a mission. Not for shopping or holiday. We are here for football, for participating in the SEA Games and we are ready to go," said Pg Mohd Amirrizal, the Brunei team manager.
"We're training well and our players are in a good condition."
Using a "Village in the City" concept, 20 hotels have been allocated by local organisers Singsoc for more than 7,000 athletes and officials who will descend on Singapore for the 28th SEA Games, which will officially run from June 5 to 16.
The football, netball, synchronised swimming and table tennis events will kick off before the opening ceremony on June 5.
Said Rostam Umar, the chief of manpower and games engagement, Singsoc: "(The absence of a centralised games village) actually enhances the athletes' experience in a couple of ways. It gives them access to what Singapore can offer outside of their training and competition hours.
"Another is the fact that they are housed by sports, helping to facilitate the building of relationships among athletes."
"So, even as they are competitors, beyond the competition, beyond the SEA Games, they actually can remain friends after their respective competitions."
Food is, undoubtedly, of much concern, especially for the foreign athletes.
To make their stay here all the more enjoyable, the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) and Singsoc collaborated with all the host hotels to prepare well-balanced meals strictly for the athletes.
"All the meals over the 20 hotels housing the athletes and officials have to be approved by Singsoc and the chef consultant and nutritionists," said Norman Cross, executive assistant manager for food and beverage at the Days and Ramada Hotel.
Each buffet table across all hotels is tagged with cards printing the nutritional and calorie content of each dish.
The menu is standardised for all hotels and is halal-certified.
When asked about the feedback from athletes and officials, Cross said: "Nothing negative, only positive ones, so I think they are enjoying their stay here so far."
Between the Days and Ramada Hotel, there are 779 rooms.
Each room is outfitted with a flatscreen TV, either a queen-sized or king-sized bed and en suite facilities.
Al-Qaasimy Rahman, the Singapore Under-23 football captain, said the team are in comfortable surroundings.
"This is a luxury for me and my players. You can see that everything is well prepared, the food is healthy compared to the normal food we have outside. And then you can see police officers patrolling around the hotels to ensure all the players' and officials' safety," said the 23-year-old.
"We are ready to give more than our 100 per cent."