SINGAPORE (VNS) — Singapore on Tuesday pledged to take tough action against fraud in sports.
This follows the arrest of four people over alleged match-fixing charges three days ago, ahead of the opening of the 28th SEA Games today.
Sports SG CEO and Chairman of the 28th SEA Games organising committee Lim Teck Yin told international journalists on Tuesday that Singapore would put in place a surveillance system that has real intelligence and keeps track of people participating in the upcoming event.
On May 29, Singapore police arrested a local man and three others of different nationalities for suspected match-fixing in football.
"Match-fixing and corruption destroy sports. There is no great joy having this right at the start of the games," Lim said.
He said he was determined about Singapore's efforts to deal with fraud, but said it was hard combating it.
"With so much money involved and because of the ubiquitous spread of the internet, which has created multiple and new ways of betting, match-fixing and corruption in sports are not going away soon," he said.
Lim, a former SEA Games water polo champion, said it was important for all countries to educate athletes that the very thing they stand for can be destroyed immediately with such fraudulent activities.
On handling cheating in sports, he said Singapore would not hesitate to take action, and would do it decisively, without worrying about the impact such cases would have.
Meanwhile, preparatory work for the Games has been mostly completed to welcome some 7,000 athletes and sport officials from 11 countries, together with an estimated 40,000-strong crowd.
The three-hour opening ceremony spectacle tomorrow will showcase the world's largest projection system used for sporting events, so that viewers can enjoy flying performers and props, including a 20m-long dragon that will fly below the venue's roof.
Unlike previous Games, when players lived together in a sports village, Singapore has decided to let the participating sportspersons stay in more than 20 hotels in the downtown area.
Organisers said the arrangement would give international sportsmen more opportunities to interact with the local community and experience the country, while live in good accommodations to recover quickly after numerous competitions.
Singapore has spent S$324.5 million (US$227 million) to fund the Games and is trying to keep the event's cost within the planned budget.
It has not built any new facilities exclusively for the Games, unlike some other countries. The Singapore Sport Hub was designed and built as a sport and lifestyle entertainment complex right in the heart of the city to attract people all year round.
The regional event has also attracted S$80million ($56million) from sponsors.
Some 17,000 volunteers, half of whom are youths and students, have signed up to work for the Games.
A small country with a limited pool of talent, Singapore has set an ambitious target of winning at least 50 medals, to coincide with its 50th year of independence celebrations this year. — VNS