A stadium transformed

A stadium transformed

Almost 40,000 walked out of the National Stadium on Friday night buzzing after a stunning South-east Asia (SEA) Games opening ceremony.

As the dust cleared, 200 men and women started their work on the pitch.

Their mission?

To convert the stadium (above), the crown jewel of the $1.33b Sports Hub, into athletics mode in less than 60 hours.

That meant tearing down the stage, as well as blockades and scaffolding set up at each end of the stadium, before rolling out the "lay and play" pitch, which the Sports Hub has switched to after the initial Desso surface failed to take root properly.

They met their target. And ahead of time, too.

Singapore Athletics general manager Yazeen Buhari told The New Paper: "They (Sports Hub) started the conversion of the stadium right after the opening ceremony, and the lay and play was completed ahead of schedule.

"Today, we had the start block practice... and as of 6pm, the venue was competition-ready."

The track and field events at these SEA Games officially started on Saturday, with the 20km race walk, followed by Sunday's marathon races.

But the majority of events - sprints, jumps and throws - will be held at the 55,000-capacity National Stadium from today.

The conversion was essentially held in three phases.

The first was the tear-down phase, which meant the removal of the central stage, blockades and scaffolding.

The tarpaulin-like material that was laid over the pitch, and the "remopla" heavy duty PVC mats that were laid over the track so no damage was done to the sensitive world-class Mondo track, was also systematically removed.

As that was being done, the second phase kicked into action, and the "lay and play" Eclipse Stabilised Turf (EST) was rolled out. It involved bringing in rolls of turf, grown at an off-site nursery and cut up for transportation, into the stadium.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground saw a similar transformation of its pitch at the recent Cricket World Cup.

The final phase was essentially putting the final touches to make the stadium a track and field-ready venue.


This article was first published on June 9, 2015.
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