The Triathlon Scene in Singapore by Arthur Tong.

The Triathlon Scene in Singapore -


Being a Singapore based triathlete for the last 8 years and now a triathlon coach, I have watched the sport of triathlon grow tremendously over the years. There is something about triathlon in Singapore that makes it so special when compared to other countries such as Australia, and the US. That said, the sport still has plenty of room for growth, which is why it is my company's vision to be the centre of excellence for triathlon coaching in Singapore.


There are so many things about Singapore that makes it a training mecca for triathletes. Though the country is a small island city (measuring 50km by 27km), triathletes have access to over 30 public Olympic sized swimming pools, relatively clean and smooth roads, an abundance of scenic running routes, access to world-class training facilities and gyms, and plenty of places to purchase essential triathlon equipment. Being just one degree north of the equator, Singapore is hot all year-round and triathletes can practically train throughout the year without ever having to consider about the winter season. In densely populated Singapore, you can always find a triathlete within an Allen key's throw away, therefore making it easy to build a tight-knit community and find training partners. On the contrary, if you ask my wife Elaine (a triathlete and Kona Ironman AG finisher who has lived in Canada most of her life), she would say that finding a fellow triathlete is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The geographic position of Singapore means that triathletes are always just a short drive or flight away from their next triathlon race.


In terms of triathlon events, Singapore has a wide range of running and multiple sports events throughout the year, which makes triathlon accessible for athletes of all ability levels. I recall when Elaine and I participated in our first triathlon back in 2012, there were probably half the participants as compared to today's events. There were little choices from triathlon kits all the way to swim clinics and triathlon coaches. The participation rate for females was also low; Elaine was maybe one in five in her age group and now we are looking at least 20-25. It’s great to see more females in the sport now and I think it really speaks to the fact that as the community grows, the support system grows and we see this in the increase in training clinics and coaching services in Singapore. There are also more role models out there showing other ladies that it can be done, as more often or not, females are intimidated by the sport (Elaine certainly was!).


My Triathlon Club and Myself -


Elaine and I started triathlon 8 years ago. Back then, I thought it would be something fun for us to do together. For me, coming from a swimming background and later, cycling, doing a triathlon just seemed like a natural progression. I absolutely love the technicalities of triathlon, the transitions, the gear, the format and so not surprisingly, I was absolutely hooked the minute I crossed the finishing line of my first triathlon. Elaine took a little convincing but it was not long before triathlon became a ‘way of life,’ dictating how we chose to spend our free time to the circle of friends we had. Within a few short years, our circle of friends grew as more and more people saw triathlon as an excellent way to keep fit and have fun with like-minded people. We supported each other's triathlon endeavours and felt like we were becoming our own community. Before you know it, a couple of us got together and came up with the team name Team Trinergy and the rest was history.


From this whole experience, I started to realise that there was so much more that could be done to help others start their path onto triathlon. Particularly, I have noticed that there were so many who want to start but don't know how (and just need that little nudge). This led me to start my own coaching business recently as I felt there was a lot of knowledge and experience I have accumulated that could really help others transform their lives (as it has mine and Elaine’s). Therefore, one of the primary missions of my coaching company Elevate Performance is to bring together individuals of all skill levels and abilities and enable them to reach their full potential through effective coaching and training that enhances their skills, knowledge and understanding of themselves and the sport.


Triathlons in the Future for Singapore -


The health and fitness culture in Singapore is definitely stronger than ever before as seen from the number of commercial gyms and boutique studios popping up, increase in paved outdoor trails and running paths, abundance of healthy food restaurants and cafes to choose from, and more fitness and racing events to participate in to test our grit. With this, naturally, more and more people are looking for opportunities to challenge themselves and naturally, triathlons will become more and more popular as Singapore becomes a fitter nation. With Ironman Asia coming in to organise the annual Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, triathletes are now eagerly hoping for the Ironman 70.3 event to be brought back to Singapore once again. For the fans, the success of this year's Super League Triathlon held in Sentosa, where we saw the likes of Olympic silver medalist Jonny Brownlee and Commonwealth Games champion Henri Schoeman battle it out, truly brought a different dimension to the sport, once again bringing more awareness for the sport and the country, placing Singapore on the map as an appealing race and training location. In fact, the nation has already secured a spot in the second season of this unique race.


In my opinion, the sport of triathlon in Singapore has yet to reach its peak and there are still more that can be done to get more people aware of and doing the sport. I’m excited to be part of the process of defining its next growth spurt and it gives me so much satisfaction each time I can help someone kick start their journey or guide them in their current journey to their next goal or finishing line. What I strongly believe is vital and sometimes missing still at the moment, is the recognition that triathlon must be something that enhances an individual’s life and makes them stronger, rather than something that consumes them at the cost of other things in their life like family, friends, money, work, etc. A balanced approach to triathlon is something that I advocate strongly with any athletes that I coach as this is the only way to guarantee long term success and love for the sport.


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