• World-class venues ready for 2017 SEA Games

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    Top view of the state-of-the-art Kuala Lumpur Sports City (top). The 87,000-seater Bukit Jalil Stadium (bottom photos ) serves as the venue of the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the athletics and football competitions. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

    KUALA LUM­PUR: It’s all systems go for the 2017 Southeast Asian Games to be held on August 19 to 30 in different venues in Malaysia, including the world-class Kuala Lumpur Sports City at the state-of-the-art Bukit Jalil Sports Complex.

    Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB), a leading urban property and infrastructure company, said the KL Sports City has the 87,000-seater Bukit Jalil National Stadium, the venue of the opening and closing ceremonies as well as athletics and football events; the Axiata Arena for badminton, the National Aquatic Center for swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming, and the National Hockey Stadium for field hockey.

    “Built almost 20 years ago, the rejuvenated facilities at KL Sports City have been elevated to world-class standards for sporting venues.

    Given that the facilities are now compliant with the latest international standards (IAAF, FIFA, FIH and FINA), Malaysia is now ready to play host to the next era of world-class sports competition as well as be a showcase for national and international non-sporting events,” said MRCB General Manager and KL Sports City Project Director Satgunalingam Nalgunalingam.

    In October 2015, MRCB was chosen by the Malaysian government to undertake the KL Sports City project.

    The Bukit Jalil National Stadium has been shortlisted for an award at the 2017 World Architecture Festival under the New and Old Completed Building category in Berlin, Germany.

    The project was designed by global mega-architecture firm Populous, the same group that planned the Philippine Arena, the largest multi-purpose indoor arena in the world.

    “Together, MRCB and Populous have taken an old set of facilities, and re-envisaged them to be modern, exceptional buildings that can attract and host international events,” said Populous’s KL Sports City project architect Brett Wightman.

    Populous said the Bukit Jalil National Stadium is the largest stadium in Southeast Asia. It has hosted major events including the 1998 Commonwealth Games, the 2007 Asian Cup (soccer) and exhibition matches with Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.

    The Axiata Arena (formally named Putra Stadium) has 11,000 permanent and 2,232 retractable seats, making it a flexible space for indoor sports and events. Among many others, the venues has hosted boxing, badminton, basketball, table tennis and judo with major events such as WWE, Disney Ice, the 2009 ASEAN Para Games and concerts from Taylor Swift, to Michael Bublé and Alicia Keys.

    The National Aquatic Center meanwhile has an Olympic standard swimming pool, warm-up areas and diving pool, while the Aquatics Center has a distinct shaded fabric roof, open to natural ventilation with views to the landscape beyond.

    The National Hockey Stadium, the home of the Malaysian national men and women’s field hockey teams, seats up to 12,000 people. It was the venue for the 2002 Men’s Hockey World Cup, 1999 Hockey Asia Cup, 2003 Hockey Asia Cup, 1982 Hockey Junior World Cup, 2000 Hockey Junior Asia Cup and 1998 Commonwealth Games. It has a new, world-class turf pitch and new sports lighting.

    More than some 10,000 athletes and officials will be participating in 39 sports during the SEA Games.

    A total of 405 gold medals are up for grabs in aquatics (diving, swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo), archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, billiards and snooker, bowling, boxing, cricket, cycling, equestrian, football, futsal, golf, gymnastics, hockey, ice skating, judo, karate, lawn bowls, muay, netball, pencak silat, petanque, rugby, sailing, sepak takraw, shooting, squash, table tennis, tae kwon do, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, waterskiing, weightlifting and wushu.

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