New natural pitch for National Stadium before June's SEA Games

The SportsHub Pte Ltd (SHPL) announced on Saturday that it will grow a natural grass pitch in a nursery that will be transported and laid at the National Stadium in time for June's SEA Games hosted in Singapore. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
The SportsHub Pte Ltd (SHPL) announced on Saturday that it will grow a natural grass pitch in a nursery that will be transported and laid at the National Stadium in time for June's SEA Games hosted in Singapore. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

The SportsHub Pte Ltd (SHPL) announced on Saturday that it will grow a natural grass pitch in a nursery that will be transported and laid at the National Stadium in time for June's SEA Games hosted in Singapore.

Its chief executive officer Philippe Collin-Delavaud said: "SHPL has decided to grow a natural pitch in a nursery familiar with local conditions. This will provide the ideal grass growth conditions for the grass to mature. This mature natural turf will then be transported to and laid in the National Stadium in time for the SEA Games in June next year.

"The natural turf will also support the National Stadium's multi-purpose calendar of events both before and after the SEA Games."

Since its opening in June, the National Stadium's hybrid pitch, made up of natural grass reinforced with artificial fibres, came under fire after it experienced difficulty in taking root, resulting in sandy patches.

Consequently, events such as Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou's concert, originally scheduled on Nov 8, had to be postponed to Dec 27 to give the turf more breathing space ahead of the AFF Cup, which was played at the National Stadium from Nov 23-29.

On the new natural turf, Collin-Delavaud said: "A second pitch, with a larger surface area, will also be maintained at the nursery. The second pitch will be deployed for sports that require a larger surface, for example cricket. It can also be used to replace the first pitch when it is worn out by excessive wear and tear."

To deliver this natural turf, SHPL is in the midst of discussions with experienced nurseries, as well as with certified contractors that have a strong track record in laying pitches in major stadiums.

Also, SHPL has selected Eclipse from Motz Group as the turf backing system to ensure that the turf can be rolled up and transported to the National Stadium in optimal conditions and can be playable just after laying. The company is also in the process of selecting the type of grass that is most suitable for this "lay-and-play" solution.

Collin-Delavaud added: "The cost of implementing the new turf solution is fully borne by SHPL and will not be passed down to spectators and promoters."