Singapore unlikely to host Commonwealth, Asian Games in near future: Lawrence Wong

Fireworks at the SEA Games closing ceremony on June 16, 2015.
Fireworks at the SEA Games closing ceremony on June 16, 2015. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - While Singapore's hosting of the 28th SEA Games was a success, the Republic, with its current space and infrastrutural constraints, is unlikely to take on bigger events such as the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in the near future.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, in a post-SEA Games media briefing on Friday to wrap up the biennial event which concluded on June 16, said that the scale of the quadrennial Commonwealth Games and Asiad is far greater than the SEA Games.

"Venues and infrastructure will come into play. We are (a small country) and to do the SEA Games within one (National Stadium) was already very complex," he said at the Swissotel The Stamford.

"Can we do more, bigger (multi-sport) events? To be realistic, it'll be very hard. I'm not ruling it out in the future... but if we look at where we are today, (with) present infrastructure, to do the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games will be very, very hard."

Mr Wong noted that there is possibility to do other multi-sport events that are organised on a smaller scale, such as the World University Games, or single sporting events, such as the Fina World Junior Championships in August.

Singapore ended the SEA Games with its best haul of 84 golds, 73 silvers and 102 bronzes, surpassing the previous best of 50 golds from the 1993 edition.

It meant being ranked second in the overall medal standings behind regional kingpins Thailand, a feat not achieved since the 1975 Bangkok South-east Asian Peninsular Games. The Games also attracted over 500,000 spectators in just over two weeks and drew a YouTube audience of over 44 million.

Going forward, Mr Wong said that authorities will look into sustainable campaign funding similar to what was done for the SEA Games, in order to help athletes prepare and excel for major sporting events such as the Asian Games and the Olympics.

maychen@sph.com.sg