15 September 2010

Singapore Sports Hub watersports centre

Sports Hub - A watersports centre for all@CNA

SINGAPORE : One of its main attractions was supposed to be a white-water rafting course but, as plans developed, the consortium awarded the tender to build and operate Singapore's new Sports Hub decided the proposed watersports centre at Kallang would do without it, at least initially.

The plan is to build the white-water rafting course a few years after the Sports Hub opens its doors in April 2014 by tapping on the Premier Park Foundation.

The foundation reinvests a portion of the revenue generated by the Sports Hub on future events, activities and facilities.

When it opens in 2014, the watersports centre will boast a 500m race course, warm-up and open areas for competitors and officials, indoor and outdoor storage facilities and training and boat-washing amenities for canoeing, kayaking, dragon-boating and rowing.

Besides targeting world-class competitive events, the centre will be open to the public, who will be able to use and enjoy a family-friendly facility.

"The Singapore Sports Hub is a manifestation of Singapore's sporting vision - the creation of a truly sustainable, fully integrated, premier land and sea sports, entertainment and lifestyle hub," said SportsHub Pte Ltd's Eugene De Rozario.

The watersports centre is part of a 35-ha site at Kallang which includes the current National Stadium, and the whole area will be transformed in four years' time.

The Sports Hub will include a new stadium with a 55,000-capacity and a retractable roof, a 6,000-capacity indoor aquatics arena, a multi-purpose indoor arena that can seat 3,000, a sports institute and 41,000 square metres of business, commercial and retail space.

The project was re-started late last-month after a two-year delay due to the global financial crisis.

Dismantling work on the 37-year-old National Stadium has already begun, with wrecking balls expected to move in next month.

The adjacent 12,000-seater Singapore Indoor Stadium, which opened in 1989, will also undergo refurbishment work.

Among the other facilities at the watersports centre site at Kallang Basin will be a visitor centre with reception counters, seating and information areas and commercial space with food and beverage outlets.

It will also feature a sheltered viewing gallery located within the building, providing a panoramic view of the waterway.

Dr Shaun Ho, team manager of Singapore's canoeing team at last month's Youth Olympic Games, believes the watersports centre will be the "final piece in the jigsaw".

"It's just fantastic that we'd soon have a world-class watersports centre," said Dr Ho, 30, a public officer at Republic Polytechnic. "It's been a long time coming, especially as Singapore has always been an ideal location to host world-class events. And it would be great if there were spectator stands, too."

National sailor Natasha Yokoyama, 16, who competed in the Byte CII girls event at the Youth Olympics, added: "It would be good if the watersports centre also had instructors there to guide users, because safety is most important when you do watersports."

Discussions are underway to secure top-class sporting events, including watersports events, at the Sports Hub, as part of the contractual agreement with the Singapore Sports Council to design, build, finance and operate the facility on a 25-year lease in the world's largest private-public partnership.

"There are definitely plans to stage world-class events," said De Rozario. "These are all still being discussed and will take some time before they are entered into the calendar."

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