SINGAPORE - Thousands showed up the Sports Hub in Kallang on Saturday - the first weekend that the brand new $1.3 billion sporting arena opened its doors to the public.
Both the young and old tried they hand at sports like table tennis and badminton in the facility. More seasoned enthusiasts played beach volleyball by the Kallang Basin.
At the OCBC Arena, visitors were taught how to box by nine Singaporean boxing champions, including Olympian Syed Abdul Kadir, while others came to watch waterpolo matches put on by the Singapore waterpolo squad.
The Sports Hub also has basketball and netball courts, a skate park, fitness corners, and a bowling lawn, while the on-site Kallang Wave mall has a rock-climbing wall.
Despite initial concerns that high visitor numbers could clog nearby roads with motorists, the morning passed largely without incident as traffic remained smooth. Many visitors The Straits Times spoke to said they had travelled in by MRT.
The majority of the Sports Hub's parking spaces remained empty even at 1pm, saved for motorists with pre-sold parking tickets under a new parking system for major events.
Those without tickets parked for example at the nearby Kallang Leisure Park's multi-storey car park. This was full by 12 noon, with a queue of cars waiting to enter.
Sports Hub staff said that they expect the arena's car parks to fill up in the evening, as 90 per cent of the 1,800 parking space tickets put up for sale online have been sold.
About 37,000 people are expected to converge on the area tonight, with three separate concerts taking place. The Singapore Chinese Orchestra will perform at the National Stadium, K-Pop group 2NE1 will take the stage at the adjacent Singapore Indoor Stadium, while South Korean guitarist Sungha Jung plays at the neighbouring Kallang Theatre.
Construction on the Sports Hub, which has replaced the historic National Stadium, began in 2010. Its opening comes after financial concerns had pushed back its completion date several times.