SEA Games: Racewalkers hear Orchard Rd buzz

SEA Games: Racewalkers hear Orchard Rd buzz
Race-walker Edmund Sim, 29, who broke Singapore's 20km race-walking record at the 2012 Asian Championships in Japan. Edmund is now eyeing a medal at the South-east Asian (SEA) Games in 2013.

When racewalker Edmund Sim competed in the 2014 World Cup in Taicang, China, last May, the organisers built spectator stands around the 20km circuit, and the cheers from the fans during the race lifted the Singaporean's spirits.

The 31-year-old, who finished 99th in last year's event, can count on home fans to inspire him when Singapore hosts the 2015 South-east Asia (SEA) Games in June.

And the 20km stretch he will race on could well include the famous Orchard Road.

Speaking on the sidelines of a media briefing for the Games' opening and closing ceremonies yesterday, chairman of the Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee (Singsoc) Lim Teck Yin said: "We are working out the details right now to try and bring (SEA Games) racewalking down Orchard Road."

When contacted, Sim, the national record-holder of the 20km race walk, said: "I've heard about it (the proposal) before and that it may be held in the evening, when there will be big crowds there (Orchard Road).

"I think it's very good, because it will definitely generate the interest for racewalking, while the weather will also be cooler in the evenings."

He said racewalking events here are typically held along the Marina Bay area in the mornings, with only a sprinkling of spectators.

The venues and schedule of events for the 2015 SEA Games, from June 5 to 16, will be finalised later this month, after which tickets will go on sale.

HEAVY USAGE

The New Paper reported last month that track and field's throws events - discus, javelin, hammer and shot put - could be moved to the adjacent Kallang Practice Track, owing to the "heavy usage" of the National Stadium during the Games.

The 55,000-seater stadium currently features a Desso Grassmaster hybrid pitch which has been heavily criticised, leading to the Sports Hub management adopting a lay-and-play natural grass pitch for the SEA Games.

The crown jewel of the Sports Hub will host the opening and closing ceremonies, athletics and the latter stages of the football tournament.

Said Lim: "We want to be careful that we don't create potholes from the hammer throws, in particular.

"Either we take all the throw events out or we move only the hammer throw out to the practice track."

"It is not a question that the hammer or the shot put will damage the (National Stadium) pitch. It's the question of how to repair those potholes," added Lim, who revealed that the squash doubles events would be held at the Tanglin Club, while the singles will be at the Kallang Squash Centre.

"It's not about whether the pitch solution is going to work or not.

"The pitch is going to be there and there's going to be a good quality natural pitch at the stadium.

"The question is how we repair the potholes (created by the throw events).


This article was first published on Jan 16, 2015.
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