Our dream of owning an Olympic size ice skating rink finally came true last April, however, few figure skaters can afford to train there even though the Rink (JCube) was built under our community/sports facility fund and supposedly operates as a non-profit model.
The entry fees for figure skaters is over 8 times of the public skating fees and they can only train at unearthly hours such as 5:00am in the morning or 10:45pm at night. For safety reasons, NO private lessons are provided, and NO spinning and jumping are allowed during regular opening hours, even though the rink may have as few as five public skaters during some regular open sessions.
Our Sports Council claimed such practices are modelled after other ice rinks around the world, especially those in Australia, UK and Canada.
1. Graveyard Training Hours and Exorbitant Ice Time Charges
Details of the limited training hours offered to figure skaters can be found in Singapore Ice Skating Association (SISA) website:
In order to train at JCube, figure skaters must make prior arrangement with coaches and book ice time through SISA. Details of the cost is as follow:
• An hour of practice fees without coaches is SG$54 (US$42)
• An hour of private coaching fees is SG$168 (US$131) and up, based on the following:
Minimum coaching fees SG$ 60 (US$ 47)
Student’s Ice Time Fees SG$ 54 (US$ 42)
Coach’s Ice Time Fees SG$ 54 (US$ 42)
(Paid by Students)
Total Fees SG$168 (US$131)
2. Beginner Students Cannot Participate in any National Ice Skating Program
According to SISA’s Constitution:
“They will NOT be eligible to participate in the testing, training, judging, officiating and coaching programmes of the Association.”
Please see link : http://sisa.org.sg/Portals/4/Constitution_8Nov.pdf
Most students and parents are unaware of the above restriction when they signed up their lesson with the rink. We doubt they were even aware of the true reasons why their wish to participate in the June Holiday Skating Camp and the Skating Lessons offered by SISA were denied.
What could the rationale be for a National Sporting Association to impose such a restriction against its members to choose best/appropriate training options offered under its umbrella? Could such a behaviour amount to “Market Agreement” prohibited under “Anti-Competition” Acts?
Our skaters are in dire need for training and coaching in The Rink (JCube) since the older commercial rink is no longer available for coaching purposes. Some students have been left in lurch with no lesson since 1st July, 2013 and if help is not provided sooner, more talented skaters will be forced to abandon their passion. This would not bode well for the sport of figure skating in the long run.
Please help us compel the relevant authorities and stakeholders to support every aspects of ice skating, from providing adequate training sessions to grow sports participation in Singapore, and to provide Singaporean competitive skaters with opportunities to challenge themselves against their peers from Asia as well as the rest of the world.
Please help our Singapore figure skaters to put on their skating boots again, to return to the rink, to dance once more.
We would specifically request that:
1. Ice Time Fees at The Rink (JCube) be reduced substantially to the region of $10/hour to encourage greater participation instead of penalising regular skaters. The new rate should correctly reflect the international practice to give preferential rate for advance bookings and active participants.
2. A proper and thorough investigation of SISA’s involvement in probable "market agreement” that encourages discrimination against the “Learn-to-Skate” (SkateStar) students and denies them of their rights to choose most appropriate lesson plans.
These provisions are paramount to create access, opportunities and capabilities for Individuals to live better through sports & help nurture aspiring young talents towards greater excellence.