Athletes come together to work out for charity in an annual fundraiser organized by Crossfit Singapore.
Contributed By Jody Doo
Operation Broken Wing is an annual fundraising charity event held by Crossfit Singapore, with the aim to help the underprivileged. This year’s beneficiaries of Crossfit are the children from Sanctuary House, a home that provides crisis pregnancy services and family education programs. It is Singapore’s only charity shelter for babies who are abandoned, abused or given up for adoption.
In the early morning of Sep. 17, over 50 Crossfit Singapore athletes gathered to participate in a mass workout session, Fight Gone Bad. There were altogether five workout stations where athletes had to work out for one full minute at each station. The cycle is repeated three times, and for each completed cycle, S$1 would be donated to Sanctuary House.
Each athlete had to work out for a total of 15 minutes, incorporating a one-minute rest after a five-minute workout. As the morning wore on, it was evident that the vigorous workouts were taking a toll on the fit athletes. One of them was seen with blood dripping from his shin, but in spite of the injury, he continued with the routine.
Everyone had a partner to do the counts for them and double up as a pacer. Juria Maree, 35, an assistant coach at Crossfit and an aviation logistics manager, said, “Once you get into it, you get so engrossed and you do the repetitions one after another. So my partner paced me and told me how many more reps I could fit into the leftover time.” Maree completed a total of 334 repetitions. It was heartening to see the athletes cheering for their fellow athletes—nobody felt alone doing these workouts.
At last year’s OBW, S$5,000 was raised for the Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home. This year, the athletes outdid themselves, raising a total of S$5,778. Head coach of Crossfit Singapore, Kevin Lim, 32, shared, “This is more than a place to work out and get fit. We want to put all the fitness to good use and every athlete [present here] has the same understanding. So that’s good.”
He added, “Children are like angels. Unfortunately when tragedy befalls, their innocence is unjustly taken from them, much like angels with broken wings. The good people of Sanctuary House do wonderful work to nurture these children. But without assistance and support, they face many challenges. Hence, we are motivated to carry out Operation Broken Wing.”
When asked about his inspiration for the fundraiser event, Lim recalled how, being a deliquent, he grew up on the streets. The experience made him realize that life can be tough for these young ones. He wants to use his talent as a physical trainer to not just help people get fitter, but to also raise awareness of the plight of the needy. He has plans to teach the parents of the beneficiaries “how to fish” by imparting the skill of physical training to the parents; hopefully with the knowledge, they will be able to make a living and provide for themselves and their children.
Lionel Choong, 22, an undergraduate from the National University of Singapore, was one of the many athletes who took part. Panting as he spoke to City News, the buff athlete was full of smiles. As an individual, Choong raised S$308 for the day. He was satisfied with his performance and was glad to do his part for the needy.
One athlete who stood out from the crowd was 40-year-old Robert Fitz. Fitz is a film-maker from New Hampshire, who happened to be in Singapore for the Singapore International Film Festival. Fitz is a member of Crossfit New Hampshire. Fitz revealed that Crossfit gyms all over the world are having fundraisers on the very same day as well. This worldwide movement was started in the US and has gone on for years. The event is running for the third year in Singapore.
The athletes involved in Operation Broken Wing come from all walks of life. Among them is 38-year-old Justin Lean, an airline pilot. He was also the part of the first national team to climb Mount Everest.
When asked what he hoped everyone took away from the event, Lim said, “All the strength and money in the world amount to nothing unless we can use it to help others.”