Aviva pledges $500,000 incentive to National Shuttlers

AVIVA pledges Half A Million Dollars to Singapore's National Shuttlers $500,000 incentive to win in Aviva Direct Challenge

Behind the glamour, the glitzy events, the national attention, there are the long hours spent training, the fervent mental conditioning, and the emotional toils of a tournament. These are rarely seen by the public eye. Being a national player is not an easy or simple task.

Title sponsor for the Aviva Open Singapore 2006, Aviva Ltd., recognizes this fact, and announced today, in conjunction with the launch of the tournament, a generous new monetary incentive scheme to challenge and encourage Singapore's national shuttlers.

Aptly named the Aviva Direct Challenge, this new initiative awards badminton players of Team Singapore monetary gifts according to how well they perform this season. National players, who qualify for the semi-finals, finals or emerge as champions, will be given a gradient of monetary awards.

With $500,000 in total to be awarded, national shuttler Kendrick Lee is excited about the challenge, "As a national athlete, it is my job to win for my country but an incentive like this will certainly help us in a long way," says Lee.

No doubt winning glory for Singapore is still very much the focus, but every little bit does help.

Aviva Ltd certainly recognises this need to support national athletes in their drive for success. Entering their 3rd year as the title sponsor for the Aviva Open Singapore 2006, the insurance giant has already committed a total of $3 million to badminton in Singapore.

Singapore's marquee badminton event, scheduled for 5–11 June at the Singapore Indoor Stadium this year, is a US$170,000 (S$279,000) 5-star tournament on the International Badminton Federation (IBF) Grand Prix circuit. Mr Lim Swee Say, President of the Singapore Badminton Association, is optimistic about the evolution of the Singapore Open and the national shuttlers.

"I am touched by Aviva's gesture of confidence in our national shuttlers. I am confident that interest in Singapore will continue to grow. I am also optimistic that the tournament will continue to grow in prestige."

Mr Tim Beardsall, Director of Marketing, Aviva Ltd., is pleased that the Singapore Open has grown to what it is now.

"The Aviva Open Singapore has gotten bigger and better over the years, and our hope is that the Aviva Direct Challenge will spur our players to perform better. And we look forward to presenting the winners' cheques to our boys and girls come this June."

Added Mr Daniel Metcalfe, Chief of High Participation and Industry Development, Singapore Sports Council, "The AVIVA Badminton Singapore Open 2006 is an excellent platform to showcase one of Singapore's marquee events and our world-class venue, the Singapore Indoor Stadium. It is a valuable opportunity for us to demonstrate that we have the competencies and organizational capabilities to host 5-star Grand Prix events to add to the vibrancy of our sports calendar. Through partnerships of events such as this, corporate partners also stand to gain from the premium association and having a platform to articulate their corporate values. SSC is extremely heartened by the new initiative announced today and applauds AVIVA's commitment and effort to nurture sports excellence in Singapore."

"Winning for Singapore is the ultimate focus," says Jacqueline Lim, Acting CEO of the Singapore Badminton Association, "but I am certain the Aviva Direct Challenge will be a great incentive for our national players."

Jiang Yan Mei, Commonwealth Games 2006 Women's Doubles silver medallist adds, "It's not easy to be a full time athlete. Every motivation whether big or small is welcomed. And Aviva's motivation is really big!"


For further information, please contact:

Joyce Koh               6827 7543        joyce_koh@aviva-asia.com

Wong Wai Yee        6827 7461        waiyee_wong@aviva-asia.com