Sports

ONE’s return could provide blueprint for staging events in Singapore

A "bubble" within the hotel, regular tests for Covid-19, stringent security and separate zones for staff at the event site, with each zone not exceeding 50 people.

These are some of the protocols that are in place as ONE Championship stages its closed-door Reign of Dynasties event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, marking the return of live sports in Singapore amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Five out of the 12 fighters flew in from overseas - Australia, China and Malaysia - and will be tested four times: Before their flights to Singapore, upon arrival, and before and after their bouts. The remaining fighters, who are based locally, are tested twice.

In a conference call yesterday, ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong outlined the protocols that enabled the mixed martial arts (MMA) event to go ahead.

"Everything from obviously pre-flight tests before they embark for their destination country, tests when they arrive, tests throughout the week," he said.

"We created a bubble with the hotel and transportation from the airport. We have security on every floor, so that protocols maintain and that athletes remain in their rooms at all times.

"There are very strict protocols we have implemented, and then, obviously post-event as well, there will be more testing done before athletes are sent back home."

Training will have to be done at designated areas in the hotel.

Since ONE Championship's last event in Singapore in February, a host of marquee sporting events, including Formula One's Singapore Grand Prix, have been cancelled due to coronavirus control measures.

Chatri added that he is grateful for the Singapore Government's support in making Friday's event the first production of any kind allowed to bring in foreigners, with the MMA promotion working closelywith government agencies.

"If we are successful, then we'll have the blueprint for other music and entertainment events to start... in terms of international events in Singapore," he said.

Singapore Tourism Board's director for sports, Ong Ling Lee, said: "Together, we will test-bed appropriate safe management measures in this important production pilot that could pave the way for sports events to take place in the future."

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