Learn from mistakes of SEA Games

WHILE I am delighted and proud of our athletes for their successes in this SEA Games, I am dismayed by the many preventable mistakes made.

  • Only 19 out of 36 sports were featured on virtual platforms such as Toggle and YouTube.

This means that fans of the remaining 17 sports had to rely on brief highlights aired on television.

  • There were numerous technical problems.

For instance, during the opening ceremony, some spectators had to shield their eyes throughout, due to strong lighting coming from the stage.

During the silat finals, technical errors resulted in a long delay between matches, and one of the laptops on the judges' table even caught fire.

  • The volunteers were not briefed adequately, creating confusion. There were times when the volunteers were not aware if the events had ended, where the event would be held, or where the starting line was.

At the football semi-final and final matches, the volunteers also gave either no directions or wrong directions to the MRT station.

  • The website provided wrong information on the scheduling of several sports.

For instance, the timing of the boxing final was listed as beginning at 4.30pm, but it commenced at around 6.30pm.

Spectators relied on this information to buy tickets for other events, thinking they would have time to reach the other venue. Many were left furious when they had to miss the other events.

  • There were also problems with ticketing. Swimming and diving fans, for instance, were told that tickets for these events were sold out. However, a few days later, the organisers decided to offer more seats for swimming and diving.

At the football final, it was announced that all the tickets for the 55,000-capacity stadium were sold. However, it was later announced that there were only around 30,000 spectators present.

  • The viewing experiences for spectators were poor for certain events.

For instance, cameras showed the front view of the long and triple jumpers, instead of the side view, leaving viewers to speculate the distance these athletes jumped.

  • The closing ceremony was disappointing as well, as it was shorter than expected, the names of the most valuable athletes were not announced, and there was no finale performance by the host nation's musicians.

Worst of all, the parade of giant stamps made it seem like a rehash of the National Day Parade.

I hope the organisers of such large-scale sporting events will learn from these mistakes.

Robin Chee Ming Feng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2015, with the headline 'Learn from mistakes of SEA Games'. Print Edition | Subscribe