Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New host for 2013 SEA Games

Singapore’s sports minister confirmed on Tuesday that the city-state wanted to pull out of hosting the 2013 Southeast Asian Games because of delays in construction of its Sports Hub.

Vivian Balakrishnan, the minister of community development, youth and sports, told Parliament that Singapore had informed the SEA Games Federation that it “would be ideal” to host the biennial event in 2015 when the facility was ready.

“The SEA Games is a significant event in Singapore’s sporting calendar,” he said, adding that Singapore would like the Games to be the first international event held in the Sports Hub.

“I therefore informed the president of the SEA Games Federation that it would be ideal for Singapore to host the 2015 SEA Games instead of 2013. He informed me that there are several other countries that are keen to host the 2013 Games,” he said.

Singapore’s decision to pull out of hosting the biennial regional games follows repeated delays to the 1.87 billion Singapore dollar ($1.34 billion) Sports Hub, originally scheduled to be completed this year.

The facility, including a 55,000-seater stadium with a retractable roof, would have staged major sports such as swimming, athletics and football. It could also potentially host top-level rugby after Japan included matches in Singapore and Hong Kong in its successful bid for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Balakrishnan said the project’s delays were due to high construction costs and the global economic downturn.

Laos hosted the 2009 SEA Games in December and Indonesia is set to host the 2011 edition. -JG.

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