About 7,000 athletes from the 11 members of ASEAN are expected to compete in the games that will run until June 16 and coincide with Singapore’s 2015 celebrations of its 50th year as an independent city state.
“It is our turn to host the SEA Games after 22 years and it will happen during Singapore’s Golden Jubilee. The occasion calls for a fitting celebration; one that will bring communities together and invoke a sense of pride and ownership in Singaporeans,” said Mr Lim Teck Yin, chair of the games organising committee in a statement released on January 15.
The organisers have raised expectations with promise of an audience interaction system, to make “the audience truly a part of the show,” and “an extensive aerial system which will enable performers and props to ‘fly’ in a stadium for the very first time in Singapore.”
Creative director of the show Ms Beatrice Chia-Richmond said, “This region is full of extraordinary people and this inspired us in our quest to celebrate the spirit of the Games…we hope that it will pave the way for everyone to celebrate triumph of the human spirit - be it in sport or daily life.”
Tickets will for the opening ceremony went on sale on January 22, priced SG$12 to SG$60 (US9.60 to $48) and tickets for the closing ceremony on June 16 are priced SG$12 to SG$40 ($32). Concessions and group buy discounts are also available.
Singapore’s 55,000 seater National stadium sits at the centre of a US$ 1 billion sports complex, but has been the site of controversy over a poor surface that saw a Maori All Blacks rugby match scrapped and a reducing of the number of games it originally planned to host for November’s ASEAN Football Championship.
Problems continue to persist and the SEA Games organising committee is yet to make a decision on whether the field events in the Athletics competition will even be held in the stadium, or next door at the practice track.
Those who are lucky enough to secure tickets for the athletics sprint events have been promised fast times after Singapore Sports Hub chief executive officer Mr Philippe Delavaud announced the laying of a new fast ‘Mondo’ brand track.
In recent weeks Myanmar’s national teams have upped their preparations for the Games.
On January 13, the nation’s archers held a friendly contest with targetmen from the Gawando archery team of South Korea; a country that dominates the sport. Deputy Minister for Sport U Zaw Win told the Global New Light of Myanmar that the Myanmar archers must make the most of their opportunity to learn from the best.
On January 16, the Hockey Federation announced their plans for the country’s stickmen to venture overseas on an eight game tour of Malaysian club sides. When Myanmar hosted the Games in 2013, while on route to an eventual bronze medal, Malaysia dominated them with an 11-0 drubbing. The Malaysians went on to win the final with a 5-0 victory over Singapore.
The Myanmar Olympic Committee has yet to lay down their expectations for the games; though however strong the preparations they will struggle to match their 88 gold and 233 medals overall won in 2013.