SEA Games 2015: Singapore to host Games on budget of $324.5 million

The official 28th SEA Games Merchandise Store along Orchard Road. Held here from June 5-16, it will run on a budget of $324.5 million, the Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee (Singsoc) announced on Wednesday. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
The official 28th SEA Games Merchandise Store along Orchard Road. Held here from June 5-16, it will run on a budget of $324.5 million, the Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee (Singsoc) announced on Wednesday. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

The SEA Games held here from June 5-16 will run on a budget of $324.5 million, the Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee (Singsoc) announced on Wednesday.

The scale of the June 5-16 competition will surpass that of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) staged in Singapore in 2010. The YOG cost $387 million then and involved around 5,000 athletes and officials across 26 sports.

As host of the biennial SEA Games for the first time since 1993, Singapore will be welcoming more than 7,000 athletes and officials across 36 sports for the region's biggest multi-sport event in the Republic's Golden Jubilee year.

Recent major sporting events in the region like the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon was reported to have cost South Korea around US$2 billion (now S$2.68 billion) while the previous edition of the SEA Games in Myanmar in 2013 was pegged at around US$400 million.

Said Lim Teck Yin, chairman of Singsoc's executive committee: "It is our turn to host the SEA Games after 22 years and it will be a key milestone in Singapore's 50th anniversary celebrations. This is a special year for all Singaporeans, and Singsoc will strive to deliver a Games that will bring people together in a fitting and memorable celebration."

The 28th SEA Games will kick off with the football competition on May 29, with Singapore's Under-23 team, led by former Lions captain Aide Iskandar, hoping to create history by capturing the country's first football title.

The football team's pursuit for gold will just be one of many narratives as Team Singapore athletes aim to hit the magical mark of 50 gold medals to equal its best showing since the 1993 edition on home soil.

As part of Singsoc's push to connect the rest of Singapore with the spirit of the Games, a series of community outreach programmes have been lined up in the months leading up to June.

Besides a mass rally to be held on March 7 as part of Pedestrian Night on Orchard Road and the launch of the 50-day countdown on April 17, sports festivals will also be held every weekend between March and May at up to 100 local schools.

Team Singapore athletes will also parade the SEA Games torch over two weekends in May alongside activities in 15 neighbourhoods.

More than 17,000 volunteers, with youths and students making up 40 per cent, have already signed up with Singsoc.

jonwong@sph.com.sg