Athletes' lounge proves a hit
Nila Suite provides a place for athletes to relax, off the competition arena
There's food, there's fun and nearly something for every one.
Sounds like a haven? Almost. It's the Nila Suite, a first-class athlete's facility at Kallang Theatre.
The 600 sq m space, which used to house a Chinese restaurant, lets athletes from the 11 participating countries rest and relax between matches and training sessions during this South-east Asia (SEA) Games.
Combine laundry services, massage chairs, games, music instruments, an arts and craft station and, to top it off, an endless supply of food, and it's no wonder that athletes are flocking to the suite even before the official start of the Games.
There is even a separate room with about 15 Osim massage chairs and foot massagers for athletes to rest or get some quiet time to prepare for their big tasks ahead.
Laughing and engaging in some light-hearted trash talk while shooting pool, it was initially difficult to recognise the usually ferocious Singapore rugby team yesterday.
A group of them were at the Nila Suite to unwind and have a quick lunch before their next training session.
Blandon Tan, 25, said: "It's a place where athletes can come, get away from training and get our minds at ease and try to relax.
"We come here to do our laundry, chill out and let loose.
"For us, the best part of the suite is probably the food."
Laura Reid, deputy director of SportCares Foundation, which manages the suite, said: "We haven't even seen the best part yet, that will be when more teams come and we see inter-team bonding and athletes getting to know one another.
"Sports can transcend natural shyness and language barriers and allow people to come together to play a game. The SEA Games hasn't even started and we're already seeing it."
But it's not just athletes bonding, the volunteers from the SportCares Foundation have also had the chance to get up close and personal with the athletes.
Volunteer Alison Kuah, 21, who was involved in the setting up of the suite, said of her role: "The volunteers are also making friends with the athletes around the region, it's nice how they've roped us in and engaged us too.
"It's not just athletes playing games among themselves but the volunteers also jump in.
"It's been a nice interaction with (the athletes), even if English isn't their first language."