Team Ground Up secure $100k funding ahead of S'pore Athletics election
Team Ground Up have pledges totalling $100,000 even before election
The team hoping to take over the reins at Singapore Athletics (SA) revealed yesterday that they have already secured $100,000 worth of donation pledges from two corporates and three individuals.
Team Ground Up made the announcement at a virtual town-hall meeting to around 80 members of the athletics fraternity last night, ahead of SA's election on Sept 25.
Marinda Teo, who is running to be SA's vice-president, finance & partnership, said: "This is the first time a team has secured funding before even being elected. More can be done when we're voted into office...
"These donations are important because they can help us optimise the grants that we can receive from Sport Singapore.
"Using these donations, we can also build platforms to help us monetise our core capabilities in sports events organisation to produce sustainable streams of income, which can be invested back into the development of athletics."
She is part of a nine-person slate helmed by Gojek Singapore general manager Lien Choong Luen.
If his team are successful on Sept 25, Lien will replace the outgoing Tang Weng Fei as president of SA.
SA has been mired in controversy in recent years, having been embroiled in legal proceedings on several fronts, with track results proving to be little source for comfort.
Tan Wei Leong, president of SA affiliate Club Zoom, sees hope in Team Ground Up, whom he described as a "very down-to- earth, complete team".
The 40-year-old told The New Paper: "I was very impressed with the $100,000 (donation pledge)... The association definitely needs the money to support all the development programmes...
"I've been (on the scene) for at least 12 years and none of the (previous) teams have raised donation pledges during a campaign."
Lien, 43, said he had been sourcing for donations for two to three months. He added that they managed to secure the pledges because there is a belief in what the team stand for and a realisation about the "immediate sense of crisis" in the athletics fraternity.
Explaining what the funding would be used for, he said: "We want to make IHLs (institutes of higher learning) regional centres. What is a training centre but a place with facilities and coaches...
"The second is additional carding... We want to have some streamlined ability to card our athletes and support them at different levels.
"Third is the availability of events, which is sending them for events which are most suited for a particular athlete performing at a particular level."
On athlete carding, Lien highlighted the importance of building a better database to track, benchmark and project athlete performance.
Five-time SEA Games silver medallist Gary Yeo, who is running for vice-president, training & selection, said that the team wanted to move away from the qualifying criteria for major games set by the Singapore National Olympic Council and move towards a transparent internal carding system.
He said: "(Qualifying times) restrict the athletes' view to just making the mark and not beyond."
An athletics coach, who requested anonymity, was sceptical, saying: "In terms of setting higher standards... You have to set reachable standards, because if you don't, you train until you die also you won't make the mark... Year in, year out, very few people can even make the qualifying marks."