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Singapore GP made impact
2008 was a great year for Singapore sports. From the Formula One trackside to the Olympic arena, it was a year of historic achievements.

The Olympics silver medal won by the women's table tennis trio of Li Jiawei, Wang Yue Gu and Feng Tianwei brought huge celebrations. Their victory also broke a 48-year Olympic medal drought for Singapore.

The country also won the bid to host the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010, beating off competition from sports powerhouse Russia in the final round. Work has started to deliver a memorable event, the largest multi-sport games Singapore will host.

The format for the 26 sports has been confirmed and upgrading of infrastructure has begun.

Mr Teo Ser Luck, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Community Development, Youth and Sports, said: "In fact for most of the venues we intend to speed up, the earlier that they are completed the better, so that we can do dry run on those venues. There will be some invitational events at the international level because we need to do dry run of some of the sports that we have never organised before."

Hosting the inaugural Asian Youth Games next year, though on a smaller scale, will also help fine-tune preparations for the Youth Olympic Games.

But the highlight of the local sporting calendar is the Formula One race. The world's first night race was caught by close to a hundred thousand spectators at trackside, while millions around the world caught it on their TV sets.

So it comes as no surprise that in the first year, the Singapore GP won three international awards, mainly for the lighting and designing the track to integrate into the city.

And organisers are already looking at making the race even more exciting in 2009.

Mr Teo added: "Turns 1, 2, 3, the chicane area, could be modified to open up a little bit more. Perhaps Stamford corner could be extended so that there is a little bit more access for overtaking."

Two more areas could see a wider run-off, at St Andrews Road outside the former Supreme Court and Turn 22, just before the pit building.

More world class events can also be expected once the Sports Hub is ready by 2012.

In January this year, the Singapore Sports Hub Consortium was chosen to build a dome-shaped stadium with a retractable roof to replace the National Stadium.

The integrated complex will also have an aquatic centre, multi-purpose arena and retail space.

All this can only be good news as Singapore continues to get into higher gear on the world sporting stage. Channelnewsasia.com
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