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OCBC Aquatic Centre is good to go

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OCBC Aquatic Centre

The OCBC Aquatic Centre is the first Sports Hub facility to be completed. (Photo by VoxSports)

The OCBC Aquatic Centre has become the first Sports Hub facility to be completed and it was showcased to specially invited guests and the media on 19 May.

Among those present were Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Mr Lawrence Wong, OCBC Bank chairman Dr. Cheong Choong Kong and Mr Jeffrey Leow, president of the Singapore Swimming Association. 

 OCBC Aquatic Centre media preview
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Mr Lawrence Wong (foreground, right), OCBC Bank chairman Dr. Cheong Choong Kong (foreground, left) at the showcase of the OCBC Aquatic Centre. (Photo by VoxSports)

SportsHub Pte Ltd Chief Executive Officer, Mr Philippe Collin Delavaud, was excited about the facility’s completion, having waited for this moment eagerly since construction began in 2011. 

Sports Hub Chief Executive Officer Mr Philippe Collin Delavaud

SportsHub Pte Ltd Chief Executive Officer Mr Philippe Collin Delavaud. (Photo by VoxSports)

“It has been a long and exciting road leading up to this point. Our vision for the Singapore Sports Hub, for it to be a place for everyone – from athletes to everyday Singaporeans – is finally coming to life,” Mr Delavaud said.

“We can expect not just great swim meets but also an avenue for Singapore to get involved in the sports and fringe activities that will be built around them.”

Dr Cheong also echoed Mr Delavaude’s sentiments and added: “There’s a clear understanding between us and the Sports Hub that our sponsorship money will go largely towards funding events and activities that members of the community can participate in – not just the professional and the accomplished, but anyone.” 

OCBC Bank chairman Dr. Cheong Choong Kong

OCBC Bank chairman Dr. Cheong Choong Kong. (Photo by VoxSports)

“The OCBC Aquatic centre and OCBC Arena will be a place for families and communities to come together – to play and compete, or just watch and cheer.”

It was also announced that Singapore Swimming Association will be making the Aquatic Centre its new home, with Mr Leow saying ’we now have a brand new world-class facility to call our home’.

“We can demonstrate to our Southeast Asia neighbours that now we can match the pool that they have because it is a bit embarrassing for the last ten years to go to Laos, to go to Myanmar and see their swimming facilities,” he added.

“We are also looking to bring in more world-class events to Singapore beginning with the Southeast Asian swimming Championship in June, Swim Stars in September, the FINA World Cup in November this year and FINA World Juniors next year sometime in late August.”

Water sports athletes declared their excitement at the prospect of using the indoor pool to train, especially since the water’s temperature was regulated and ensured that training would be done in the comfort of lukewarm waters.

“When there is lightning, it is something that doesn’t disrupt our training which is good, and you don’t get so burn all the time too. It is definitely better training indoors,” added Paul Tan of the water polo team. 

Paul Tan of the water polo team

Paul Tan of the national water polo team. (Photo by VoxSports)

However, while there is much buzz about the completion of the Sports Hub, Mr Lawrence Wong has reiterated that the next step is just as important as construction was.

“We are entering the most critical phase of the project now, it’s not just about the completion of the project but it is the transition from construction to commissioning and operations,” Mr Wong said.

“Getting ready, getting people to come, so in the coming weeks we are going to run a series of test events.”

In order to run operation at optimal level, Mr Wong said ’test events’ will be held to in order to assess the operationability of the complex, with one of them being the Sports Hub Open House on 27 and 28 June.

“We are planning a community Open House for the Sports Hub,” Mr Wong went on.

“The 27th of June will be a Friday evening, we are looking at the one year countdown for the SEA Games. 28th of June is a Saturday where we will open up for the community to come to the Sports Hub and try out different spots and different facilities.”

The OCBC Aquatic Centre will hold its first ever international event from 14 to 26 June with the hosting of the second edition of the TYR Southeast Asian Swimming Championship 2014.