Play day a showcase for Sports Hub's facilities

Above: Children learning how to play volleyball at the Sports Hub as part of the Community Play Day yesterday. Left: Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran with pink-clad paddlers who represent breast cancer survivors and supporters.
Above: Children learning how to play volleyball at the Sports Hub as part of the Community Play Day yesterday. PHOTOS: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Above: Children learning how to play volleyball at the Sports Hub as part of the Community Play Day yesterday. Left: Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran with pink-clad paddlers who represent breast cancer survivors and supporters.
Above: Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran with pink-clad paddlers who represent breast cancer survivors and supporters.PHOTOS: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Reaching out to wider community with range of initiatives is the way to enhance appeal

Having made some headway in exposing the diversity of its venues to the masses, the Singapore Sports Hub has plans to demonstrate how flexible the facility can also be - by reaching out to niche groups.

It intends to target groups whose needs could require more customised settings, so as to make the Sports Hub available and of value to more users.

Said Singapore Sports Hub chief operating officer Oon Jin Teik yesterday: "We look at niche groups with needs that are not yet met. We try to customise (the Sports Hub) for certain groups, allow a fit, and it then becomes meaningful.

"At the end of the day, our venue is flexible, modular, scale-able and functional."

He was speaking on the sidelines of the Sports Hub's Community Play Day yesterday, the quarterly sports bonanza that took on a water sports theme for its fourth instalment.

Added Oon: "We're not just going after the biggest group. If you don't (target) the individual groups, they won't know. If you just hit the masses, you could miss it."

Oon pointed to the HolyCrit races - for fixed-gear bicycles with no brakes - held in the National Stadium last month as an example. The event was touted to be a world-first for bike races held at a stadium not purpose-built for cycling.

He said the Sports Hub is even looking at becoming a site that is equipped for Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences and events). It recently hosted a group that combined a meeting with a dragon boat team-building exercise.

Events like the Community Play Day have helped the Sports Hub introduce its various facilities - beyond the iconic National Stadium and popular OCBC Aquatic Centre - to the wider public.

Yesterday, for instance, an estimated 14,000 took part in water-themed activities on pedal boats, kayaks and canoes. There were also dragon boat races conducted at the facility's water sports centre.

It was through the event that Goh Hui Yong, 43, who has been to the OCBC Aquatic Centre many times, discovered the beach volleyball facilities at the Sports Hub.

Said the service manager, who was there with his 15-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter: "It's pretty well organised. Not all kids would have tried volleyball or beach volleyball in school, so this was a good first try."

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran, who was guest of honour, lauded initiatives like Community Play Day for the opportunities they offer to the public.

He said: "Sports culture is about getting out there and doing it. In the first instance, giving people the opportunity to do it.

"You don't always have to play at the competitive level before you enjoy sport and be involved in sports. Those of us who have done sports, we know sometimes you start off doing something because it's fun.

"These are very good opportunities for kids, families to just get exposed. We should just get people out there and do these things more."

Close to 50,000 people have participated in the four editions of Community Play Day since it began last June.

The plan, said Oon, is to continue to ride the wave.

He said: "We're still a very young project at the end of the day. You need to introduce, orientate and allow different groups to get familiar with the place, and the quickest way to do that is through participation.

"This project is meant for all Singaporeans. It's a sports, entertainment and lifestyle venue, so we have to go after the niches and the various segments."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 12, 2017, with the headline 'Play day a showcase for hub's facilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe