By Tan Yo-Hinn
The Republic will have its first Olympic-sized ice-skating rink by the end of next year and the Singapore Ice Skating Association (SISA) could well obtain full membership with the International Skating Union (ISU) after that.
The rink will be built at the Jurong Entertainment Centre as part of the $138.2 million asset enhancement work announced yesterday by CapitaMall Trust Management Limited.
When completed by end-2009, the rink — measuring 30 metres by 60 metres — will also feature food and beverage outlets.
Said SISA president Sonja Chong: ”We’re obviously delighted that, after four years of lobbying, we’re finally getting an Olympic-sized rink.
”The immediate task now is to prepare a file for submission to the ISU secretariat for a two-year provisional membership, which would become permanent once the rink is completed.”
With provisional membership, Singapore’s skaters can take part in ISU-sanctioned events like the Grand Prix circuit and the Olympics, but SISA cannot vote at ISU meetings.
The rink is estimated to cost between $2 million to $3 million and Chong is confident it will help grow the talent base here.
”Becoming ISU members will allow us to receive grants from the ISU, but we’ve to focus on growing the mass participation to build the talent base first,” she said.
”Presently, there are between 500 to 600 ice skaters here. We hope to double that by end-2010 with the rink.”