Thirteen years after the idea of a new National Stadium was mooted, the Singapore Sports Hub will throw open its doors on Monday.
But on June 28 and 29, the public can get a sneak preview of the hub's world-class facilities at a community open house. All of the facilities will be free for use and remain so until July 31.
The open house will kick off with the countdown to the 2015 South-east Asian Games on Friday, culminating in a fireworks and laser show at the waterfront.
Tryouts for various sports with equipment and guidance from coaches will be held on Friday and Saturday. These are expected to become a regular feature every weekend.
Booking is required for some of the facilities and guided tours. Go to www.sportshub.com.sg or call 6653-8900.
Life! tells you what to check out at the 35ha, $1.3 billion complex.
1. TOUR THE STADIUM
Admire the new National Stadium, the centrepiece of the Sports Hub, with a free guided tour in July.
From next Tuesday, the 1 1/2-hour tour will be available on selected days. Booking is required and a fee, to be revealed later, will be charged from August.
Look out for the stadium’s retractable dome-shaped roof, the largest free-spanning dome roof in the world with a diameter of 312m. It is able to close in about 20 minutes, allowing a match to go on regardless of the weather.
Then there are the 55,000 red-and- white seats, which are designed to trick the eyes into seeing a crowd when there is none. Another notable feature is a ventilation system fuelled by solar energy that pipes cool air to every seat.
The stadium is the only one in the world which can host four different sports - rugby, cricket, football and athletics - in one venue as its seating can be reconfigured. The reconfiguration takes about two days.
The stadium saw its first piece of action on June 21 and 22, when it played host to the rugby World Club 10s and attracted about 10,000 fans on each day.
On Saturday, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra will take over the stage for a concert called Our People, Our Music, which is expected to draw a 20,000-strong crowd.
Next up is another concert, by homegrown songbird Stefanie Sun next Saturday, and a friendly match between Italian football club Juventus and Singapore Selection, a mix of Team Singapore athletes and S-league players, on Aug 16.
Surrounded by a 900m-long sheltered space called Sports Promenade, the stadium is also where you can go to jog and cycle.
The old National Stadium opened in 1973, closed in 2007, and was demolished in 2010.
2. ENJOY THE SUN
This weekend, free tryouts for more than six sports will be held along a promenade fronting the Kallang Basin. These include floorball, football and kids’ athletics on Friday, from 4 to 6pm.
Other activities such as frisbee and petanque, a French game where players aim to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball, will be available tomorrow, from 9am to 4pm. Equipment is provided and these games will be conducted by coaches.
The Sports Hub aims to make these tryouts a permanent feature on weekends.
The 2015 South-east Asian games countdown will begin at 6pm today along the riverside with a walk-a-jog, to be led by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Lim Swee Say, who is also labour chief.
Registration has closed but you can enjoy a 30-minute fireworks and laser show at 7.30pm.
There are two sand courts where you can play beach volleyball or other sports such as futsal, rugby and netball. They are free for use even after next month, but booking is required.
Not in the mood for sports? Stroll along Stadium Riverside Walk, a walkway by the river which offers a great view of the city skyline.
Watch a water polo competition and a synchronised swimming and diving demonstration, all performed by national athletes, at the OCBC Aquatic Centre at the open house on Saturday, from 9am to 4pm.
Or make a splash yourself on other days at one of the two Olympic-sized swimming pools - one for training and the other for competition. If you are a trained diver, make use of the 5m-deep diving pool next to the swimming pools.
On non-event days, the pools are open to the public and will be free for use next month. A fee will be charged from August.
The aquatic centre played host to the South-east Asian Swimming Championships, which ended on Tuesday and included water polo and synchronised swimming. The Singapore men’s water polo team beat their Malaysian counterparts 18-5.
The aquatic centre can hold up to 6,000 spectators and matches are broadcast on a giant LED screen.
4. PLAY INDOOR SPORTS
You get to try nine different sports activities at the OCBC Arena, a multi- purpose indoor hall, during the open house on Saturday. These are: badminton, boxing, judo, netball, silat, table tennis, taiji, taekwondo and volleyball.
Equipment is provided and coaches will be on hand to offer guidance.
There are six courts, spread over two blocks and two levels, which require prior booking. The arena can fit up to 3,000 people. It hosted the 6th World University Floorball Championship last week, the first time the competition was held outside Europe. The Asian Netball Championship is the next major match scheduled to be held there, from Sept 7 to 14.
Air-conditioning will be turned on for competitions when there is a crowd, but the arena relies on natural ventilation on other days.
5. SHOP, EAT AND BROWSE
Shop and dine at the 41,000 sq m Kallang Wave retail mall, named after the old National Stadium and the wave-like contours of the mall.
Only a handful of tenants are expected to be operating during the open house this weekend, as the mall will open progressively in the coming months.
FairPrice Xtra, which will feature a sports theme, is one of the key anchors.
NTUC FairPrice spokesman Tan Kian Chew says the hypermart will offer "a good selection of bicycles, sporting equipment, accessories and sportswear" as well as organic produce on top of the usual groceries and household products and appliances.
Foodfare, an air-conditioned 800-seat food court, will offer healthier food.
In the coming weeks, you can also dig into local delights at eateries such as A-One Claypot, Curry Times, My Briyani House and Old Street Bak Kut Teh, as well as international fare at restaurants such as Astons, Issho Izakaya, Manhattan Fish Market, Poulet and Shokudo. Shoppers can head to well-known fashion retailers such as H&M, Uniqlo and Forever 21, which are the other key tenants.
There is also an indoor rock-climbing wall managed by sports company Climb Central. It will open from Saturday, with free trials at 10am and 1pm. This promotion will continue every weekend in July at 10am, 1 and 4pm.
The first 20 patrons, who are required to have climbing experience, also get free entry on weekdays in July.
Booking is required and can be done via the company’s website, www.climbcentral.sg. Usual charges range from $14 to $20 per entry, excluding equipment and registration. Adult supervision is required.
There is also a water park called Splash-N-Surf for kids aged up to 12, where there is a water slide called Sting Ray and a Lazy River water ride. It will open in July, with charges to be announced later.
Opposite the mall is a library and museum, which are both free for Singaporeans and permanent residents.
The Sports Hub Library houses a collection of 80,000 books on sports, health and fitness, while the 2,200 sq m Singapore Sports Museum will showcase the history of sports here, including milestones such as the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.
The library will be up and running during the open house but the museum is expected to launch only in July.
HOW TO GET THERE
Public transport is recommended. The Sports Hub is within walking distance from three MRT stations: Stadium, Mountbatten and Kallang. The retail mall is more accessible from Stadium MRT station. Kallang MRT station is linked to the National Stadium via a sheltered walkway.
The hub is also served by bus service numbers 10, 11, 14, 16, 70, 70M and 196.
Parking tickets for Saturday are pre-sold because of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra’s concert at the stadium. Pre-sold parking is activated when there is a scheduled event at the stadium. You can get parking tickets from the hub’s website www.sportshub.com.sg or call the hotline on 6653-8900. Tickets are valid for 24 hours from 7am.
SPORTS HUBWhere: 2 Stadium WalkWhen: Open House: 4 to 8pm on Saturday. On usual days: 24/7, check the website for opening hours of individual facilitiesAdmission: Free until July 31Info: Go to www.sportshub.com.sg or call 6653-8900
More about the new Sports Hub here: www.straitstimes.com/sports-hub