SINGAPORE: The Olympic Games could soon make its way to South-East Asia, particularly with senior sports officials raising the possibility of Singapore and Malaysia making a joint bid for the multi-sport event in the future.
Under the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) new 2020 agenda, which was unanimously approved in December last year, hosting duties for future Games can now be shared between two countries.
This has opened up the option of a dual-city bid for the Games between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, said Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar, president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).
In an interview with Malaysian daily Malay Mail, Tunku Imran said: “I do see a joint bid between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in the future. Doing it all on our own may be beyond us but under the new Olympic reform agenda, the IOC allows twin bids.”
He said that he has already spoken to the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and “a few people in the government”. While it is too late to enter the bid for the 2024 Olympics, both countries could consider bidding for the Games in 2028 or 2032, he added.
Mr Ng Ser Miang, who is chairman of the IOC’s finance commission, confirmed that the idea of a joint-bid between the two countries had been suggested, but claims that no one has “given any serious thought” to it yet.
While he said the idea was “conceptually possible”, there were many challenges to overcome. “You take a look at the co-hosting of the World Cup (2002) between Japan and South Korea and you can see the sort of challenges that could occur,” said Mr Ng. “For example, simple issues like who will be doing the opening and closing ceremonies, and which country will host which sports is something that needs to be discussed in-depth.
“The development of sport in Singapore has been strategic so far, and we’ve been building a stronger sporting culture in the country over the years. But if this (Olympic co-hosting) were to happen, it will definitely help to promote sport further in Singapore, not just in terms of participation, but awareness and support as well.”
However, Sport Singapore said in a statement that there are no plans currently for a joint bid. “We note the IOC is now open to joint bids, and it is theoretically possible for two countries to host the Olympic Games. Singapore has no plans to do a joint bid at this juncture and has not received any formal proposal from Malaysia to look into this further.”
On Tuesday, SNOC said a joint bid is an “interesting concept”, as it would not be possible for Singapore to host the Olympics on its own due to the “demands and magnitude of the requirements”.
“We have to tread carefully as hosting the Olympic Games is a massive undertaking, which will need the full support of the government.”