April’s Singapore Sevens the 'next big thing', says SRU chief Low
Low promises excitement on and off the pitch at next April's Singapore Sevens
The HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens next April promises to be the "next big thing" on the Republic's list of world-class sporting events.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) president Low Teo Ping said: "Yes (it will be as exciting as the WTA Finals) and I would say it's even comparable to our Formula 1 race.
"It's an experience you won't get anywhere else.
"The rugby will take care of itself, it'll be fast and furious.
"But there'll also be a beer fest, food fair, interactive fan zones and music and entertainment for everyone."
Last year's WTA Finals, which featured the top eight women tennis players in the world led by Serena Williams, attracted 93,000 fans to matches over seven days at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and Low hopes 25,000 will turn out for each day of the inaugural Singapore Sevens, scheduled for April 16 and 17.
Yesterday, Rugby Singapore Pte Ltd (RSPL), the events and commercial arm of the SRU, announced that tickets will go on sale next month and it will start an eight month-long campaign counting down to kick-off at the National Stadium at the Sports Hub.
While he did not reveal details, Low said tickets would be "very reasonably" priced.
Among the projects that will take place in the build-up to the 2016 Sevens are school-outreach and development programmes.
The school-outreach programme, called "Tag 7s", aims to reach 14,000 students in 140 schools, teaching them basic rugby skills and values of teamwork, respect and sportsmanship.
A development programme called "Heroes in the Making" will also see selected Under-16 players attend training clinics conducted by local and international coaches and players.
These players will also go through a selection process and two youngsters will earn an all-expenses paid trip to attend elite training programmes at leading regional rugby unions.
Low said these community-based programmes were "key", as the Singapore Sevens looks to build a legacy.
He believes the event will also boost the local sports ecosystem.
"You look at what the SEA Games achieved in terms of getting people interested in sports," said the 70-year-old.
"We never thought that many people would be that keen to come out and watch sports here.
"The (Singapore Sevens) event is definitely a move in the right direction since Singapore wants to be a global sports city."
Stephanie Wong, general manager of RSPL, said: "Fans can expect a festival of sports and entertainment and the Singapore Sevens will not only provide wholesome 'fan and family fun', but also be a great opportunity for business networking.
"We aim to create a signature event, unique with local elements and international entertainment, that will establish Singapore as a fan and team favourite on the global Sevens Series circuit."
Next year's event will be the first time in a decade that Singapore will host the prestigious Sevens' Series, which features the world's top 16 national teams playing the smaller, faster version of rugby union.
Last held in Singapore in 2006, it did not feature here until now partly due to the unavailability of a suitable venue following the closure of the old National Stadium in 2007.