Low-key start for Singapore's glittering new stadium
A general view of the under construction National Stadium in Singapore on February 27, 2014 - by Roslan Rahman
The 55,000-seat stadium, with a domed, retractable roof and innovative cooling system, will get off to a low-key start with an international rugby 10s tournament from June 21-22.
The venue, which lies alongside an existing 13,000-capacity indoor stadium plus a new aquatics centre, sports hall and water sports facility, will also host a Singapore v Malaysia football friendly on August 8.
And the stadium will be a venue for the group stages of football's AFF Suzuki Cup as Singapore defend their Southeast Asian title in November and December.
Officials also announced a number of music attractions, including America's Taylor Swift and Taiwanese singer Jay Chou, as they unveiled a varied but limited line-up for the site's opening months.
They said the list of events was a work in progress, with negotiations continuing in a number of areas including the Sevens World Series, Super rugby and football's youth World Cup.
Tennis's end-of-season WTA Championships has already been confirmed for the indoor stadium this year, while Formula One motor-racing has become a fixture in the wealthy city-state.
"We are inking (agreements) and we will ink a lot more during the next weeks or months," Sports Hub CEO Philippe Collin Delavaud told a press conference at the riverside site on the outskirts of the central business district.
"Our strategy is not to create a stadium for specific events, it's really to create a portfolio of events."
Singapore rugby chief Low Teo Ping said talks were continuing to create a team, provisionally named the Asia-Pacific Dragons, as part of the successful Southern Hemisphere Super series.
He said no details were available about the rugby 10s tournament, which will inaugurate the stadium, as the teams and players are subject to approval from the International Rugby Board.
Low said the teams would be from top North and South Hemisphere clubs -- although he admitted it would be a "tall order" for the 10s tournament to fill the cavernous venue.
But football association president Zainudin Nordin said the Sports Hub, whose opening was set back for two months to June because of construction delays, was "momentous" for Singapore.
"We are here to witness something really tremendous and momentous for our country," he said. "We have something special here."
International badminton, netball and swimming events are also on the schedule for the Sports Hub, which also has community facilities and a retail mall.
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