Raising the bar

Raising the bar

Some athletes in the Singapore National Games (SNG) this year will compete at the new Singapore Sports Hub, with officials aiming for a more competitive event.

The second edition of the biennial Games - from Nov 1 to 9 - will see two additions in its line-up of 12 sports, Hockey5 and volleyball.

At least portions of basketball, volleyball, futsal and swimming competitions will be held at the $1.33 billion Sports Hub, with organisers working to include more.

While steering committee chairman Lim Teck Yin (left) says the multi-sport Games will not be a test event for the South-east Asia Games here in June next year, certain elements of the regional sports extravaganza will be explored this November.

Lim, also CEO of Sport Singapore, said: "In different sports, we are looking at different facets. In athletics, we may work with the SAA (Singapore Athletic Association) to prepare officials and volunteers to run an event.

"From an organising committee perspective, we will set up an operations centre in a mock exercise to understand the flow of information in a multi-sport event."

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Also, organisers promise fewer restrictions on registrations than the inaugural SNG in 2012, which was held in conjunction with the People's Association's Community Games.

Lim said: "What was applied in the Community Games was the all CARE (Channels, Age, Race, Estate) concept... (which) was stifling for some.

"Even with the concept, by the time you reach the final, there was an uneven matching in skill levels (in some cases)."

The concept dictates that a team must have members across a list of factors, which include age group and ethnicity.

SNG organisers will allow participants to sign up for each sport in two divisions - A and B - to address the uneven skill levels this year, with carded athletes automatically slotted into the more-competitive Division A.

Participants will be allowed to affiliate themselves with five zones - North, East, West, Central and North-east - during registration in three categories, Junior, Open and Masters, with the aim of gradually building "tribal" affiliations in each region.

Organisers aim to draw 9,000 participants across the categories for both genders, with registration open between next Monday and Oct 12.

Lim said prize money may be offered in future if it is "applied in the spirit of what we are trying to encourage".

He added that he aims to further grow the number of sports in the Games in future editions.

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