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Marathon eyes Sports Hub stop

The New Paper | Lim Say Heng | Thursday, Apr 24, 2014

The Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore is the biggest mass participation sports event here, attracting a high of 65,000 runners in 2011.

But the possibility of the Singapore Sports Hub featuring in the race on Dec 7 this year may be affected by the nation's most popular sport - football.

Singapore and Vietnam will co-host the AFF Suzuki Cup this year from Nov 22 to Dec 20, with each country hosting one of the two group stages.

"We would very much like to bring it (the marathon) to the Sports Hub, we are looking very carefully on de-conflicting some of the bookings over the Hub," said Sport Singapore chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin, at the sponsorship renewal announcement yesterday at Standard Chartered Bank's Marina Bay offices.

"The Suzuki Cup is going to be held during that period and that would mean that the National Stadium would be affected. That's a decision that's still being debated right now."

But Chris Robb, managing director of event organisers Spectrum Worldwide, said he and his staff have been visiting the hub's work site to visualise the possibility of incorporating the $1.33 billion facility into the run this year.

He said: "It is very hard to look at maps, diagrams and plans at this stage and say it's going to be fine to run there. Once the roads are properly laid down, it's going to give us some sense of what we can and can't do there."

Lim acknowledged yesterday that the organisers had made some mistakes with previous editions of the event and issues like choke points in the running routes are being looked at ahead of this year's marathon, which will have a capacity of 55,000.

SAFETY

Safety and the well-being of participants are crucial, after it came into the spotlight recently with the death of national serviceman Chia Wee Kiak at the OCBC Cycle Singapore earlier this month.

Said Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin, who was the guest of honour at yesterday's announcement: "It's something that we need to pay attention to on several fronts. From the organisation perspective, clearly there are always things that you can do better, but there's also the individual part... individuals need to understand the (safety) requirements and to know yourself."

"A lot of it is pushing yourself but not beyond limits," added Tan, who is also a council member on the Singapore National Olympic Council.

Standard Chartered renewed their sponsorship of the marathon yesterday for a further three years, after being the run's title sponsors for the past 12 years.

The bank's new deal is worth $10.5 million.

"We aim to develop the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore into one of Asia's best," said Neeraj Swaroop, the bank's Singapore chief executive officer.

"The marathon has been an excellent platform for the bank to engage with all our stakeholders, and it is an event that the bank and our staff are immensely proud of."

This article was published on April 22 in The New Paper.

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