With 50 days to go until the start of the South East Asian (Sea) Games on June 5, President Tony Tan Keng Yam has expressed confidence in Singapore's readiness to host the biennial multi-sport event.
His remarks came on Wednesday, after his first tour of the Singapore Sports Hub, the S$1.3-billion complex in Kallang which will stage 10 of the Sea Games' 36 sports, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.
"I've been given a briefing on the preparations for the Sea Games. Everything seems to be in order, and we are all set to go," he told reporters towards the end of his one-hour visit, which included stops at the OCBC Aquatic Centre and the Singapore Sports Institute Gym.
Hosting him at the various venues were Sea Games organising committee chairman Lim Teck Yin, Sports Hub chief executive Philippe Delavaud and chief operating officer Oon Jin Teik, and Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Sam Tan.
Dr Tan also visited the Sports Hub's integrated command and control centre, the east side of the 55,000-seater National Stadium and the OCBC Arena.
"The Sports Hub is a wonderful venue. It's taken us many, many years to get to where we are today. It's good for Singapore to have this comprehensive, multi-sport facility. This is an icon, and it enables us to stage world-class competitions like the Sea Games," he said.
Singapore last hosted the Sea Games in 1993. This year's edition, Dr Tan noted, coincides with the country's golden jubilee celebrations.
Describing the Sea Games as a "coming-out party" for the Sports Hub, which first opened its doors last June, he called on the public to rally behind the athletes of Team Singapore, both at the Sea Games in June and at the ASEAN Para Games in December.
"I'm sure we will all do very well. I'm confident that we will be able to surpass the 50 gold medals that we won (at the Sea Games) in 1993," he said. "This is a team effort. The athletes are putting in the work, but they have to know that all Singaporeans are behind them."
Dr Tan will be at the National Stadium on June 5 for the opening ceremony, at which he will officially declare the Sea Games open.
Meanwhile, more local companies have got on the list of Sea Games sponsors in the past week, taking the total amount of sponsorship secured so far past S$60 million.
On Monday, national carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA) was unveiled as the event's official airline partner. Under the deal, SIA will provide a batch of economy-class tickets as prizes for promotional activities around the region. The airline's cabin crew will also take part in the opening and closing ceremonies.
Last Thursday, JK Technology, a small and medium-sized enterprise, was named the official IT equipment partner in a deal worth S$1.5 million.
The company will provide 1,450 laptops with accessories, 450 printers and 100 scanners, as well as do IT installations and configuration services across all 31 competition venues.
This article was first published on April 16, 2015.
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