Is Singapore truly a sporting city?

Debutants shone at this year's SEA Games. But how is Singapore doing in its goal to become a sporting nation? Insight finds out

The 55,000-capacity stadium at the $1.33 billion Singapore Sports Hub has the largest retractable dome roof in the world. Singapore netballer Aqilah Andin playing in the SEA Games final with Malaysia's players on Dec 2. Singapore lost this match, but
Singapore netballer Aqilah Andin playing in the SEA Games final with Malaysia’s players on Dec 2. Singapore lost this match, but with 947 gold medals in total, is the most successful nation per capita at the Games. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
(Left) Mr Tan Howe Liang's weightlifting silver at the Olympics in 1960 was Singapore's first medal at the Games. (Right) Paddler Li Jiawei being congratulated by a fan in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, where the women's table tennis team, which inclu
The 55,000-capacity stadium at the $1.33 billion Singapore Sports Hub has the largest retractable dome roof in the world. ST FILE PHOTO
The 55,000-capacity stadium at the $1.33 billion Singapore Sports Hub has the largest retractable dome roof in the world. Singapore netballer Aqilah Andin playing in the SEA Games final with Malaysia's players on Dec 2. Singapore lost this match, but
Paddler Li Jiawei being congratulated by a fan in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, where the women’s table tennis team, which included Feng Tianwei and Wang Yuegu, won a silver medal. ST FILE PHOTO

Each evening, as the sun retreats behind the city skyline and beyond the horizon, an army clad in dri-fit shirts and track shoes rises.

At the 100Plus Promenade at the Singapore Sports Hub, the group of about 50 seemingly dissimilar people - from a pair of schoolboys to silver-haired sexagenarians - assemble and begin to stretch. Then they lunge, squat, dash and hop.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 22, 2019, with the headline 'Medals, top events, yes. But sports culture?'. Subscribe