National School Games, community events set to feature more often at Sports Hub

Some initiatives in the works include the staging of more community competitions and grassroots events. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - There will be more opportunities for student-athletes to compete at the Sports Hub as Sport Singapore (SportSG) announced plans to bring the National School Games (NSG) back to the 35ha site.

In addition, there will be more community and grassroot events, as well as training and competition opportunities for junior and elite athletes at the Sports Hub.

These are some of the initiatives in the national agency’s plan to make the precinct and its venues more accessible to the broader community following its move to take ownership of the Singapore Sports Hub.

At a press conference on Friday (June 10), SportSG chief Lim Teck Yin said: “The new structure will give us much greater autonomy to achieve our vision for the Sports Hub and the precinct. We intend to drive much stronger affinity and value for Singaporeans through greater community use, greater sports programming for children and youth, families, seniors, pathway programmes that lead to pipeline and elite programmes for Team Singapore.”

The return of the NSG to the Sports Hub “in a big way” is key to SportSG’s plans, with Mr Lim adding: “We must be able to provide that unique Singapore sporting experience to the children and youth, who form the bedrock of our sporting future.”

Since the Sports Hub opened in 2014, some NSG events like swimming, athletics, rugby and badminton have occasionally been held there. But the NSG features 29 sports and most finals across the A, B and C Divisions are staged in school venues islandwide.

In line with SportSG’s efforts to enhance the local sports ecosystem as part of Vision 2030, Mr Lim also stressed that there will be more events involving children and youth, families, seniors and the community, which “may not be strong commercial propositions”.

He said: “In that particular regard, Vision 2020 is something that SportSG is invested in... and we will certainly be able to capitalise on our ownership and management of this facility to be able to bring that to them.”

Mr Lim added that this latest development also aims to “drive synergy” between the Sports Hub and the facilities that will be built as part of the Kallang Alive precinct, such as the Kallang Tennis Centre and Kallang Football Hub, which are key to Singapore’s ambitions to add more marquee sports events to its sporting calendar.

Noting one of the reasons for developing a new tennis centre in Kallang, which will feature up to seven indoor and 12 outdoor courts “for the purposes of an ATP 1000 type of event”, the taking over of the Sports Hub will allow more flexibility needed to host such major events.

SportSG chairman Kon Yin Tong highlighted how the takeover “will help to iron out these operational inefficiencies... and prevent any cross asset competition that will result in further inefficiencies”.

Citing China and Brazil as examples, Dr Shaun Teo, an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore’s geography department, said: “Sport is a natural conduit for nation-building. I believe the Sports Hub can become an everyday space for community sport and recreation, but this project must be approached with the mindset of sport as a public good. 

“Singaporeans can rally around sport and sport can be embedded into our national identity.”

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