The 55,000-seater National Stadium is a place where happy tears are shed, goals reached and dreams fulfilled. From elite athletes who train on the pitch to multi-generational families attending festivals and community activities on its grounds, the iconic landmark holds many memories for the millions who have passed through its gates since it officially opened in 2015.
The sprawling 35ha site houses the National Stadium, Singapore Indoor Stadium, OCBC Aquatic Centre, OCBC Arena, Water Sports Centre, Splash-N-Surf, Singapore Sports Museum, Kallang Wave Mall, Shimano Cycling World, Sports Hub Library and various community facilities and spaces.
In the first year, the first-of-its-kind multi-purpose, multi-venue sports complex was marked with milestone events such as the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and 8th ASEAN Para Games, the Barclays Asia Trophy, the International Premier Tennis League, the One Direction On The Road Again Tour and the Madonna Rebel Heart Tour.
Over the next five years, the Singapore Sports Hub also played host to the 2016 National Day Parade, International Champions Cup, HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens, BTS Love Yourself World Tour, U2 The Joshua Tree Tour and many more memorable events.
Samantha Wong, Assistant Director of Customer Care, who was part of the pioneering Singapore Sports Hub team, remembers how her heart swelled with pride during the National Day Parade in 2016. “Because the National Stadium can accommodate up to 55,000 people, the cheers and claps from the audiences created an electrifying atmosphere,” she says.
Besides transforming Singapore's skyline, the Singapore Sports Hub also contributed to the nation’s journey towards a sporting nation.
Many may be familiar with its open house events, where the public can participate in sports try-outs and mass sport participation events such as yoga and zumba. Organising other activities such as live screenings and festival markets are also ways that the Singapore Sports Hub aims to bring the community together.
The Singapore Sports Hub is also home to seven national sports associations, including badminton, basketball, fencing, netball, taekwondo, volleyball and silat. Since it opened, many Team SG athletes have trained there.
Their training has been disrupted with the closure of sports facilities since April to contain the spread of the coronavirus. However, the sporting spirit remains strong at the Singapore Sports Hub. The Singapore Sports Hub has even converted the OCBC Arena, National Stadium and the 100PLUS Promenade into temporary dormitories for migrant workers to support the nation in its battle against Covid-19.
These venues remain closed to the public, but the OCBC Aquatic Centre, Water Sports Centre, Singapore Sports Museum and Sports Hub Library are welcoming visitors again — with safe distancing measures — in tandem with Phase 2 of Singapore’s reopening.
In accordance with the recommended measures announced by the government on public spaces and the reopening of sport and recreational facilities, the Singapore Sports Hub is implementing across all its venues these measures: limiting all group activities to five persons or fewer, regulating capacity within the facilities to allow social distancing as well as channelling visitors at selected facilities to a single-entry point for thermal scanning.
It urges members of the public visiting the Singapore Sports Hub to practise social responsibility and safe distancing, support contact tracing by checking in and out of venues/facilities via SafeEntry and always wear a mask.
Singapore's national swimmers and divers, too, have returned to train at the 6,000-seat aquatic centre.
Reigning Paralympic swimming champion Yip Pin Xiu, who has returned to the pool, says in a Straits Times interview last month: “We're taking a lot of precautions and I think it's absolutely necessary.
"I'm very grateful for the opportunity to resume training and I think it's a good start to be able to continue again to Tokyo next year."
Featuring a 50m competition pool, a 50m training pool and a 5m-deep diving pool, the aquatic centre was where national swimmer Joseph Schooling set nine Games records at the 28th SEA Games.
Even when it was still on the drawing board, the Singapore Sports Hub had been designed to be a destination meant for Singaporeans from all walks of life. Its spacious promenade, water sports equipment, running tracks and other facilities cater to not only elite athletes, but also members of the public.
Over the years, the Singapore Sports Hub has also seen several regulars come through its doors for its community programmes.
Among them is Jean Ng, a Singapore Sports Hub Experience Sports Ambassador Leader who volunteers at Sports Hub Community Play Day sessions held on weekends.
Except when she is out of town, the 58-year-old retiree has attended almost every Sports Hub Community Play Day since the inaugural edition was launched in 2016.
“The Sports Hub Community Play Day puts together sports and games for all to enjoy with their families and friends,” she says.
“The theme of each Play Day becomes more creative each time, ranging from sports to cultural to charitable attractions. So, how can I miss such fun?” she adds.
Her favourite spot is the OCBC Square just next to the Stadium MRT station. She loves how the vast open space comes alive during community events like outdoor live screenings of the National Day Parade and the FIFA World Cup.
Calvin Palyama, Director of the OCBC Aquatic Centre and Water Sports Centre, also misses the buzz of the many venues and spaces at the Singapore Sports Hub.
He oversees the operations of all the Singapore Sports Hub aquatic facilities and had even organised community water event OCBC WaterFest in 2015. He fondly recalls how the various promenade spaces came alive with activities such as dragon boating, beach volleyball, surfing, a music concert and free public trials on all equipment.
“I hope the Singapore Sports Hub will always be people's choice destination for both local and international events,” he says.
The Singapore Sports Hub has stepped up cleaning and sanitising its premises, offices and open spaces as it strives to continue to host patrons in a safe environment.
As the Singapore Sports Hub — together with the rest of the country — slowly comes back to life, concert-goers are eagerly looking forward to upcoming gigs.
Student Nivani Elangovan, 22, has fond memories of the Singapore Indoor Stadium and can’t wait to return.
“My cousin and I queued for nearly 12 hours for Harry Styles’ second solo Singapore concert in 2018 because we wanted to be as close to the stage as possible. We were right at the front and had fantastic views,” she says. “I’m excited to return for the next event.”
One upcoming live show many fans are looking forward to is by Taiwanese band Mayday, who were meant to perform on Aug 30 this year. They will rock the stadium on Feb 27 next year instead, when the worst of the pandemic is hopefully over.
As we move forward in these uncertain times, one thing is for sure — the Singapore Sports Hub will be there with all Singaporeans as we journey together in the new normal.
Join Singapore Sports Hub's fifth birthday celebration by sharing your best memory of an event held at the hub. Post the photo or video on your public Instagram account and tag @sgsportshub or #SportsHubTurns5 between now and Aug 31 to stand a chance to win a $55 GrabFood voucher. Limited to five winners only.
Share This Story