26 August 2010

Singapore Sports Hub to open by April 2014

Sports Hub to open by April 2014@CNA

SINGAPORE: After being stalled for nearly two years due to the global financial downturn, the Sports Hub project will finally kick into gear.

On Wednesday, the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) signed the contract with the Singapore Sports Hub Consortium to design, build, finance and operate the Sports Hub for the next 25 years on a 35-hectare site in Kallang.

Demolition of the National Stadium, which sits on the site, will begin in October, and the new facility will open its doors by April 2014.

The final construction cost is estimated to be $1.33 billion - which the Government will pay in annual payments.

No financing details were available following the midnight announcement.

"I am glad that we are ready to start construction of the Singapore Sports Hub," said Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, in a statement.

"It will be a fully integrated sports, leisure, entertainment and lifestyle hub for world-class events and community activities. The facilities will be accessible to the public and to top athletes to train and compete in. As part of the Greater Marina Bay masterplan, the Singapore Sports Hub will also contribute to the larger Government objective of re-positioning Singapore as a great place to work, live and play," he said.

When completed, the Sports Hub will include a 55,000-seat National Stadium with a retractable roof, a 6,000-seat indoor aquatics arena, about 41,000 square metres of business, commercial and retail space, and a sports institute.

Two new features of the Sports Hub are a bowl-cooling system and retractable seats for the main stadium.

The bowl cooling system features blowing treated air from chillers through holes in the tier below each seat.

There will also be a sports library and sports museum, as well as other amenities including a volleyball court, rock-climbing wall, hard courts, a skate park and state-of-the-art training and sports recovery facilities, among others.

The Sports Hub will also strive to attract live entertainment events, conventions and exhibitions, while 80 corporate boxes will be available for lease during major sporting events.

The deal between the Singapore Government and the consortium is the largest sports infrastructure public-private-partnership project in the world.

Sports Hub deal sealed@Straits Times

PEN was put to paper yesterday on the contract that will pave the way for the construction of the Sports Hub.

Demolition of the National Stadium will begin by October, with the new 35ha facility catering to both sports and non-sports enthusiasts to open its doors by April 2014, the Singapore Sports Council said in a press statement early this morning.

The centrepiece remains a new 55,000-seater stadium with a retractable roof, with other highlights including a 6,000-capacity indoor Aquatic Centre, a water sports centre, and 41,000 sq m of commercial space.

But several features not in the initial proposal by a private consortium tasked to build the world-class project have been added. They include a beach volleyball court and rock climbing wall.

The construction cost is $1.33 billion. This does not include the costs of operating the facility.

Under the agreed public-private-partnership (PPP) scheme, the winning consortium Singapore Sports Hub Consortium (SSHC) will bear the cost of constructing and operating the Sports Hub. The Government will, however, make an annual payment to SSHC over 25 years.

The new cost announced is higher than the $1.2 billion estimated in 2008.

'I am glad that we are ready to start construction of the Singapore Sports Hub,' the statement quoted Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan as saying.

'It will be a fully integrated sports, leisure, entertainment and lifestyle hub for world class events and community activities.

'As part of the Greater Marina Bay masterplan, the Singapore Sports Hub will also contribute to the larger government objective of repositioning Singapore as a great place to work, live and play,' he added.

Since its announcement, the Sports Hub has been dogged by repeated delays and been a magnet for criticism. Its completion date was pushed back from this year to next year, 2012 and then 2013.

After the SSHC beat two other groups to be named the project's preferred bidder in January 2008, it struggled to raise financing for construction to begin due to the recession.

Mr Ludwig Reichhold, the managing director of Dragages Singapore which heads the SSHC, said: 'We are ready to go full swing.'

Other members of the consortium include United Premas, a facilities management company, and events management firm World Sport Group.

It is understood that while $1.87 billion was the initial cost to the Government over the 25-year period for the contract with the SSHC, this figure will now change as there have been tweaks to the financing terms.

Under the PPP scheme, SSHC is in charge of designing, financing, building and operating the hub.

Events such as the Asean Football League and Twenty20 cricket matches are among the high-profile events being planned to ensure it remains a vibrant year-round destination.

Singapore Rugby Union president Low Teo Ping, who had been among those eagerly awaiting the hub's completion, said: 'Now we can try to bid to get the highly successful Rugby 7s series back.

'With the sport making its debut at the 2016 Olympics, we could see qualifying matches for the Rio Games played here too from 2014 onwards.'

The Sports Hub's completion will also allow the Republic to host a major Games like the South-east Asia Games.

It had given up hosting rights for the 2013 edition as the Hub could not be completed in time. Cambodia are the front runners for the 2015 SEA Games, though no country has been picked yet.

20 August 2010

MOU between JOC and SNOC

S'pore-Japan sports exchange@Staits Times

SINGAPORE athletes and coaches can look forward to exchange programmes in Japan over the next four years, after the signing of an agreement between the two countries' National Olympic Committees yesterday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) president Teo Chee Hean and Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda signed the document in a ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel yesterday.

Mr Teo noted that Japan has achieved numerous sporting successes, and has also organised international meets.

'Japan is one of the powerhouses in sports and in Asia as well,' he said.

Japan has won Olympic medals in a diversity of sports, including judo, gymnastics, wrestling, swimming, athletics and volleyball.

Mr Teo added in his speech: 'There's much that we can learn from you; our national sports federations can learn from your national sports federations.

'Our SNOC can learn from you in a variety of ways, in terms of preparation for Games, training and helping our athletes compete, and even in terms of administration and marketing.'

The partnership covers sharing of information, promoting athlete, official and coach exchanges, and exchange of sports science and anti-doping activities.

The recently completed National Training Centre in Tokyo will host Singaporeans once individual national sports associations firm up their plans on who to send.

Mr Takeda said he hopes his athletes can learn from Singapore's sailors and table tennis players, who have achieved global success in recent years.

Meanwhile, Mr Teo said he was delighted with several aspects of the ongoing Youth Olympic Games, including the volunteers' efforts and Singapore athletes' performances.

The Republic has two bronzes (taekwondo), one mixed-team bronze (archery) and one silver (swimming) so far.

'Quite frankly, we were not quite sure what to expect and they have exceeded our expectations,' he said.

19 August 2010

IOC’s social networking

Join the Olympic Social Media Club!@IOC

Today’s young people have never known life without the internet. They have grown up with a mouse in their hands and the world wide web at their fingertips. In fact, the internet has become such a huge part of their everyday lives that recent figures indicated that the average teen spends as much as 31 hours per week online. It’s little wonder that the IOC is using digital media more and more as a way to engage with young people and encourage them to be more active when it comes to the Youth Olympic Games (YOG).

Indeed, with over 1.7 million young fans on the IOC’s social-networking site Facebook, and thousands more followers on micro-blogging site Twitter, the Olympic Games has already taken the social media world by storm – and now the Youth Olympic Games is doing the same.

13 August 2010

Singapore Youth Olympic Scholarships awarded

Six young athletes awarded first Singapore Youth Olympic Scholarships « Red Sports. Always Game@YOG2010

Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew presented the first Youth Olympic Games Scholarships today as a legacy of the first-ever Youth Olympic Games, and as part of the country’s commitment to the Olympic Movement.

The scholarships aim to seed the pursuit of excellence and the forging of friendships. Six fully-funded scholarships to the Singapore Sports School were presented to students from Botswana, Guyana1, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Thailand.

The scholarship recipients are: Ebineng Seabe Beryl (Botswana, swimming), Jevina Raydon Sampson (Guyana, Athletics), Angeline Tang An Qi (Malaysia, table tennis), Nieto Herrera Janina Sofia (Peru, table tennis), Ang Wan Qi (Singapore, table tennis), and Phiangkhwan Pawapotako (Thailand, swimming). Please see Annex for details.

“Singapore is a small open and cosmopolitan city with no natural resources. The key determinant of our future is our people – in particular, our young people. This is why we invest so heavily in education, transmitting values that have stood the test of time, enabling our young people to reach across cultural boundaries and equipping them to seize opportunities in a rapidly changing world. These Scholarships represent our commitment to share these opportunities with top talented students from the Olympic Movement,” said Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports.

“Singaporean youth will benefit from a more diverse classroom environment and increased opportunities to learn from their new international schoolmates, reinforcing the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect,” he added.

Some 30 National Olympic Committees submitted a total of 54 applications for the scholarships between February and April 2010. In May and June, short-listed candidates were invited to Singapore for interviews, and recipients were informed of their selection in July.

The scholarships are funded by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, with operational support from the Singapore Sports School, the Singapore National Olympic Council, the Olympic Solidarity and the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee.

About Singapore 2010 – Blazing the Trail
Singapore is hosting the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) from 14 to 26 August 2010. The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games will receive some 5,000 athletes and officials from the 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs), along with estimated 1,900 media representatives, 20,000 local and international volunteers, and 320,000 spectators. Young athletes - aged between 14 and 18 years - will compete in 26 sports and take part in a Culture and Education Programme.

The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games aims to inspire youth around the world to embrace, embody and express the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect. It will create a lasting sports, culture and education legacy for Singapore and youth from around the world, as well as enhance and elevate the sporting culture locally and regionally.

For more information, please visit www.singapore2010.sg

03 August 2010

Youth Olympic Village is ready

Youth Olympic Village ready for YOG athletes and officials@CNA

SINGAPORE: With about two weeks to the official August 10 opening of the Youth Olympic Village at the campus of Nanyang Technological University, organisers say they are ready to welcome the athletes and officials.

The Village Square is where the athletes and officials will rest and relax, and it'll be filled with activities that will leave a lasting impression.

Director of the Culture and Education Programme for the Youth Olympic Games, Lee Pak Sing says: "We have this interesting project called the Photoscape, where we'll take pictures of every athlete and these pictures will be immortalised in the Youth Olympic Park. So when they come back 10 or 20 years from now, they can see their own pictures and say, "Hey look! This is me at the first YOG"."

Over at the dining hall, a temporary kitchen that will serve 22,000 meals a day. Athletes will also have a different dish for 10 days.

It's an elaborate menu that took four to five months to plan.

Head of Catering for the Youth Olympic Village, David Leong says: "During the European theme, we have things like the beef goulash, we have stewed lamb and things like that. For Asia, we'll have our chicken rice, so that it's in sync with the CEP programmes. We also have other things like pizza and pasta which the kids will love.

And during certain days, six days onwards, we have treat stalls. They'll have chicken wings, french fries, these are by the side, and coaches will tell the teams whether they're allowed to eat or not."

There's also a discotheque that will belt out the latest hip hop music - where only soft drinks are served, and a gymnasium that can accommodate 150 people at any one time.

Those who need medical attention can visit the clinic, where condoms will also be made available.

Organisers stressed that the intention is not to widely distribute condoms as some athletes are minors. But they're provided by UNAIDS - the Joint United Nations Programmes on HIV and Aids.

The Residential Zone will be the private corner for athletes and officials.

There are about 4,000 rooms, and all of them will be tended to by professional cleaners. Bed linen will be changed every two days. The committee is expecting about 5,600 bags of laundry to be handled every single day.

With all the amenities in place, organisers are working to ensure that this western corner of Singapore becomes a "home away from home".