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Athletics body lands its biggest deal

SINGAPORE — Some 5,000 runners will become the first in the world to showcase a new high-tech running vest in March next year, after the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) netted its biggest sponsorship deal to date of S$2 million.

SINGAPORE — Some 5,000 runners will become the first in the world to showcase a new high-tech running vest in March next year, after the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) netted its biggest sponsorship deal to date of S$2 million.

The sponsorship by top Swiss sportswear company, X-Bionic, is a one-year deal, with an option to extend for another year.

Convincing companies to support local sports has always been difficult, which is why the SAA’s latest prize is special.

The S$180 race shirt, designed exclusively for the women-only, 5km Venus Run at the Marina Barrage, is equipped with X-Bionic’s latest high-tech innovation: a fibre called Nerino G, which enhances comfort and reduces perspiration odour.

Over the last 12 years, the Swiss company has pioneered technology for sportswear that utilises an athlete’s energy to manage body temperature — cooling it in the heat and warming it in chilly conditions.

X-Bionic shirts have been worn by some of the best athletes in the world, including triathlete and multiple Ironman winner Timo Bracht and the Norwegian ski team.

X-Bionic wants to make the technology available in all its products around the world after the event here.

“It is a fibre we invented and it will be first used in the run here,” said X-Bionic Singapore General Manager Li Jin.

“We wanted to give the Venus Run participants the best shirts and since we are launching the new fibre next year, we decided to use it for this event.”

The sportswear firm will also supply running tights, worth S$160 each pair, to all participants.

Although popular in Europe and the United States, X-Bionic is relatively new in Asia.

The company previously marketed the brand through specialist athletes here and believes sports events are the ideal place for it to cast its net to the wider market.

The Venus Run, which aims to raise S$100,000 for the Breast Cancer Foundation and the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations, is only a start and Ms Li said further collaborations with the SAA were being explored.

Earlier this year, the SAA sealed a three-year sponsorship deal worth S$450,000 with Key Power International (KPI) to supply sports apparel to national athletes and another S$50,000 deal with Coca-Cola.

However, SAA President Tang Weng Fei said it still lacks financial backing for all its events.

Out of an average of 18 events, only one had attracted a sponsor last year and none were forthcoming this year.

The SAA are hoping the U-23 Open and cross-country events will find sponsors next year.

“What’s important is that the corporate world here is helping to support sports now,” said Mr Tang. “Next year, they want us to hold the Singapore Open at the Sports Hub, and we hope to attract sponsors for that,” he added.

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