Five elderly athletes from CHCSA’s House of JOY participated in a fundraising CrossFit competition, Operation Broken Wing and raised $1,350 in support of Singapore Children’s Society.
It was an eye-opener, to put it mildly. Last Saturday, in a space filled with hardbodies—young, ultra-fit athletes that have put in thousands of hours at the gym—there were five participants few would have expected to see.
The 2019 edition of Operation Broken Wing, a fundraising CrossFit event, took place at the Tampines Hub. The beneficiary this year was the Singapore Children’s Society. Each athlete participating got friends and family to donate towards the charity, which extends help to children in need.
This year, CHCSA’s House of JOY sent a team of athletes too, aged between 63 and 82. House of JOY is the organisation’s eldercare centre, which offers out-of-the-box engagement activities for the elderly in the Pine Close estate. In a society where the elderly are mostly beneficiaries of help, HOJ provides opportunities for their clients to contribute to society. In this case, the five participants in Operation Broken Wing raised $1,350 for Singapore Children’s Society. “At House of JOY, we empower the elderly to chase their passion and enrich their golden years,” explained CHCSA program executive, Victor Wong.
HOJ has been running CrossFit classes for their clients since May 2018. Lionel Choong, founder of CrossFit gym Innervate is their regular instructor, and these five participants came from this class.
“I feel very proud of these silver citizens,” said Choong. “They’ve really come a very long way from being afraid and unsure of performing certain movements to being willing to do them in front of a crowd and for a good cause too. It warms my heart to see that they have moved to become part of a wider community and changed from being a receiver to a giver!”
On Saturday, Operation Broken Wing was graced by the Minister for Social Development and Family, Mr Desmond Lee, who gamely joined in the workout. He was impressed by HOJ’s “elderletes”, who had aimed to complete a total of 600 reps among them, but finished at an impressive 899 reps!
Their circuit (they did four out of the five circuit exercises as they had not learned shoulder presses yet) comprised burpees, squats, kettlebell swings and step ups. And all five ably completed many reps with great stamina—Madam Tang Poo Hong achieve an impressive 220 reps, the highest of the five.
“The seniors [of House of JOY] are a real inspiration,” said the minister.
It’s easy to understand why, judging from these images of Saturday’s event:
Photography by Eleanor Tan, Jefferson Khoi and Danny Ooi.