SNAG sponsor China Life impressed by S'pore's swimming potential
Despite the absence of US-based swimmers Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen from this year’s China Life 48th Singapore National Age Group (SNAG) Swimming Championships, Singapore's top junior and senior swimmers still ende dup cracking 29 meet records and 10 national marks. Twelve also booked their spots for this year’s SEA Games.One person left impressed by the results was China Life Insurance Singapore chief executive Tony Chow (below). In an interview with TODAY, he shares why China Life decided to sponsor the SNAG, and its hopes for Singapore swimming...
Q: Why did China Life decide to go into sports sponsorship in Singapore?
A: China Life as a Group entity, has always believed in and supported the development of sports. We…want to continue this well-established support for sports in Singapore as well. Singapore as a sporting nation, has achieved impressive results at various regional and international sporting competitions such as the South-east Asian (SEA) Games and the most recent Rio Olympics 2016.
This title sponsorship serves as a gateway for us to help promote the local sporting culture and a form of assimilating into Singapore’s society through our support.
This being our first title sponsorship event since our establishment in 2015, we hope that the China Life brand will have a more distinct brand recognition in the Singapore market. We want to adopt a progressive approach to building our brand here by continuously engagin our stakeholders and the community at large through platforms such as sponsorships.
Q: Given the wide range of sporting events in in Singapore, why did China Life choose the SNAG?
A: We recognise that swimming is a prolific sport in Singapore, and as a relatively new entrant (about 2 years) in Singapore’s competitive insurance industry, we were also exploring suitable sponsorship platforms to entrench into Singapore’s sporting scene. The Singapore swim team also did exceedingly well at the 2015 SEA Games where they won a record 23 gold medals. The SNAG is one of the most anticipated sporting events in Singapore. It is only opportune that we stamp our first mark in Singapore as title sponsor of a high-profile sporting event such as this, which is the last local qualifying meet for this year’s SEA Games. .
But this sponsorship is not all about competitive swimming to us. While discussing the sponsorship details, we decided to also promote swimming as an accessible and inclusive sport. This led to our ‘learn-to-swim’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme for special needs students from Pathlight School (photo above) which aligns with our commitment to promote sports and encourage swimming as an inclusive sporting activity.
Q: Did Joseph Schooling's triumph at the Rio Olympics play a part in China Life’s decision to sponsor the SNAG?
A: The “Schooling effect” was one of the many pull factors for us to seal the deal. It happened to be the right time for us to sponsor as negotiations were already underway before the euphoria of Joseph’s Olympic victory.
Q: You were here to take a look at the SNAG. What did you think of the level of competition and the swimmers on show?
A: It was very intense and professional, and the swimmers displayed a high level of competition, ability and confidence. The younger swimmers at the Junior Finalswere very impressive too. Even though some of them were as young as eight, they showed great mental resilience and I am certain they are the bright sparks of Singapore' swimming future. I also enjoyed the energetic and supportive crowd atmosphere.
Q: Do you think Singapore has what it takes to become a world swimming powerhouse in future?
A: I believe it does. Singapore's swimming eco-system in Singapore is a robust one and I am impressed with the commitment that the athletes and their support systems dedicate to the pursuit of excellence.
At this SNAG, we have seen many new swim records being set. Several swimmers have also made the qualifying mark for the SEA Games in August.
We hope that our sponsorship of the Singapore National Age Group Championships will encourage these athletes to continue to chase their dreams and build on their successes.