Hosts 85-90% ready, says organising chief

Dancers and volunteers performing an extract of the third movement of the Asean Para Games' opening ceremony during a media preview yesterday. The 90-minute multimedia show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium will include more than 1,400 participants.
Dancers and volunteers performing an extract of the third movement of the Asean Para Games' opening ceremony during a media preview yesterday. The 90-minute multimedia show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium will include more than 1,400 participants.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

With just over six weeks until the start of December's Asean Para Games (APG), final preparations are under way as organisers get set to welcome thousands of para athletes from around the region.

Inspections will be done over the coming weeks to ensure that rooms at Marina Bay Sands - the Games Village - are modified to suit the para athletes' needs while test events will also be conducted to pre-empt any operational hiccups.

"We are close to 85, 90 per cent readiness," said Singapore Asean Para Games organising committee (Sapgoc) chairman Lim Teck Yin.

Sapgoc will take over competition venues in the second half of November, added Lim, who was speaking on the sidelines of yesterday's briefing for the Dec 3 opening ceremony.

The 90-minute multimedia show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium will incorporate dance segments with performers on wheelchairs and have five acts with formal aspects like the oath-taking and torch relay woven into the narrative.

Besides bringing 15 local special needs schools on board, the production will include more than 1,400 participants alongside several national para athletes such as shooter Aishah Samad and swimmers Theresa Goh and Yip Pin Xiu.

Performers like retiree Alice Bee, 78, have been practising once a week for months and are keen to put on a good show. She said: "It's not very difficult to learn as long as you have the heart to learn."

The opening ceremony will celebrate the spirit and passion of para athletes and encourage a push towards a more inclusive society, said creative and music director Philip Tan.

"We want to change the way that people look at people with disability," added the award-winning director, who drew inspiration from the 2012 London Paralympics.

In partnership with the Singapore Association for the Deaf, the show's broadcast will have "live" sign-language interpretation and live captioning.

The Indoor Stadium, chosen instead of the Sports Hub as it will not be affected by extreme weather conditions, will be reconfigured to seat about 6,000 spectators.

A total of about 2,000 tickets, priced at $20 before concession and group discounts, have been made available to the public.

Priority sales, for about 500 individuals who had previously registered their interest on the APG's official website, began yesterday.

The remaining tickets will be available from Friday and can be purchased at www.sportshubtix.sg, the ticketing hotline (6333-5000), SingPost outlets and the Indoor Stadium.

There are also measures in place should there be high PSI levels in December, noted Lim, also the chief executive of Sport Singapore.

"If the haze reaches untenable levels... we will seek a postponement where possible and we will also see if we need to extend the competition hours or to amend the competition format," he explained.

"This decision will have to be taken in consultation with the technical delegates, competition and team managers."

Jonathan Wong
Vanessa Kang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2015, with the headline 'Hosts 85-90% ready, says organising chief'. Print Edition | Subscribe