Community event next April will kick off life at Sports Hub

The new Singapore Sports Hub may soon be a magnet for world-class international events, but its debut next April will feature a community event instead of a "big bang" opening.

Speaking on the sidelines of the announcement of a landmark naming rights deal with the OCBC Group yesterday, Singapore Sports Hub chief executive officer Philippe Delavaud said: "The first event in April will be a community type of event.

"It will have all types of sports at all the venues... we want to open (the Hub) with community events and sports experience type of events."

Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong added that the $1.33 billion facility's official opening may take place when Singapore hosts the biennial South-east Asia (SEA) Games in June 2015.

"You can't have an official opening on day one. We are going to phase in all the systems and make sure the operations work well over time because it's such a big venue," he said.

"After a year then you'd have your official opening, which for us means SEA Games 2015. That's something we're deliberating over."

Football matches are on the cards, Wong added, with Bernd Stange's Lions set to face arch-rivals Malaysia at the new National Stadium, along with matches featuring prominent foreign teams also in the pipeline.

National Day Parade?

Mindef is considering holding next year's National Day Parade at the new National Stadium, with an announcement expected "quite soon". The hub's calendar is already filling up quickly with regional and international events, with possibly more world-class events on the horizon.

Next year, the OCBC Aquatics Centre will host the South-east Asia Swimming Championships in June, while the Asian Netball Championship - the continent's qualifier for the 2015 World Championships - will take place in the 35-hectare facility.

The season-ending Women's Tennis Association Championship will start its five-year stay in October at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, while world-class competitions like rugby's World Cup Sevens and football's Under-17 or Under-19 World Cup may find their way to Kallang in the future.

Said Wong: "I know there is a lot of interest in what will be on the (Sports Hub's) calendar, and I would say that it looks like a very exciting calendar."

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