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Rugby World Club 10s will go ahead as planned, says SportsHub CEO

The first big event at the new National Stadium -- the inaugural Rugby World Club 10s -- will go ahead as planned. Reports earlier claimed delays in the facility's completion had put the event under threat.

SINGAPORE: The first big event at the new National Stadium -- the inaugural Rugby World Club 10s -- will go ahead as planned. Reports earlier claimed delays in the facility's completion had put the event under threat.

Meanwhile, the OCBC Aquatic Centre has been completed, but its opening is delayed till next month.

This was revealed on the sidelines of the Singapore Sports Hub's sponsorship signing ceremony with insurance company Great Eastern on Wednesday.

There were reports that the new National Stadium's hybrid turfing had run into problems, and that the facility's opening act -- the Rugby World Club 10s on June 21-22 -- could be cancelled. But that uncertainty has been put to rest.

Philippe Collin Delavaud, CEO of SportsHub Pte Ltd, said: "The grass is seeded and growing, we have to stitch the grass with artificial grass, which will be done in the coming week... (The stadium) will be available, yes."

The immediate priority is to iron out administrative kinks, such as getting a Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) for the SportsHub. Until then, national sports associations (NSAs) who will call the Sports Hub home will have to wait.

The OCBC Aquatic Centre is also awaiting its TOP before the Singapore Swimming Association can move in. The centre's soft opening had been slated for mid-April.

Calling the Sports Hub a "complex" project, the management said that while there are difficulties everyday, solutions will be found.

Mr Delavaud said: "We do not need any incentive. We want to be ready, we want to open and we are doing everything that is feasible."

For now, the Sports Hub is beefing up its commercial links.

On the back of its tie-up with OCBC Bank, it has welcomed another partner -- insurance firm Great Eastern. Sports Hub and Great Eastern have refused to reveal the sponsorship details, except that it is a "long-term" partnership of "significant" value.

As part of the deal, Great Eastern will have an entrance and corporate lounge named after it. It will also enjoy publicity on digital signboards in the facility.

Dr Khoo Kah Siang, CEO (singapore) of Great Eastern, said: "Through our sponsorship and through the activities carried out at the SportsHub, we are able to engage our existing customers as well as ensuring that we are able to provide value propositions and solutions to them."

Both SportsHub and Great Eastern agree that the sponsorship can help bring sports closer to the masses. One of the ways is through the Experience Sports programme, where the public and GE customers can come and learn different sports -- ranging from tennis to chapteh -- every weekend from June.

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