Thanks for the Memories
Thanks for the Memories
After 34 years of serving the nation, the Grand Old Dame of Kallang closed her doors yesterday evening. But not without going out with a bang, literally.
Since April 2007, the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) together with its partners have been rolling out a series of commemorative events to celebrate the life of the National Stadium, and it all culminated yesterday’s final send-off called “Field of Dreams - A Tribute to the National Stadium”.
Sports, culture and entertainment combined to thrill and enthrall the capacity crowd, as the likes of Quah Kim Song, V Sundramoorthy, Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell, C Kunalan, Rahimah Rahim and Kit Chan shared the spotlight in a night to remember.
Kicking off the festivities was a pre-show performance by Magnum, Singapore’s top cheerleading ensemble, and emcees Daniel Ong and Jean Danker to rouse the crowd.
At 5.30 pm, the exhibition football match between the Singapore veterans and Malaysian veterans commenced. Turning out for Singapore were household names Samad Allapitchay, Quah Kim Song and V Sundramoorthy who were decked out in specially-designed Blue Heritage jerseys provided by Nike, whilst representing Malaysia were Soh Chin Aun, Zainal Abidin and Dollah Salleh.
During the break, the Tanjong Katong Secondary School (TKSS) band took to the field to entertain spectators, and at the end of the match, Zainudin Nordin, Deputy President, of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and Mayor of Central Singapore District, and Alex Chan, Chairman of SSC presented prizes to the participating teams before they made their lap of honour.
Shortly thereafter, the cauldron lighting ceremony took place. A select group of past and present Team Singapore athletes entered the stadium via Gate 3, circling the track as one in a V-formation with Asian Games silver-medalist C Kunalan at the helm. He was flanked by 50m freestyle world-record holder Ang Peng Siong, Asian Games multiple-gold bowler Remy Ong, Paralympian world-record holder Theresa Goh, table tennis star Jin Jun Hong, SEA Games gold medallist James Wong and two-time world silat champion Sheik Alau’ddin.
C Kunalan holds the distinction as the first person to light the stadium’s cauldron when Singapore hosted the 1973 South East Asia Peninsular Games, and yesterday he once again raced up the gallery steps to light the cauldron for the last time.
Once the cauldron was lit, the attention turned to the field again, where the national teams of Singapore and Australia took centre stage for one of the evening’s main highlights. Performing the national anthem for Australia was professional singer and emcee Donna Daniels, while over in the red corner, the legendary Rahimah Rahim sang ‘Majulah Singapura’.
After the anthems, Guest of Honour for the evening, His Excellency President S R Nathan entered the pitch to meet the teams. Representing the Singapore Lions were captain Aide Iskandar, goalkeeper Lionel Lewis, forwards Indra Sahdan and Khairul Amry as well as Singapore’s youngest player to receive a call-up, sixteen-year-old midfielder Hariss Harun.
Meanwhile, the Qantas Socceroos team featured many of their European-based soccer stars including Liverpool’s Harry Kewell, Newcastle’s Mark Viduka, Everton’s Tim Cahill, Middlesbrough’s Mark Schwarzer and West Ham’s Lucas Neill.
After the game, President S R Nathan presented the teams with tokens of appreciation before a lap of honour by the players, marking the end of the stadium’s long-standing friendship with football and the start of the closing ceremony.
Hosted by Brian and Mark Richmond - whom many remember for their ‘live’ football commentary - the father and son team took the audience down memory lane with a video presentation capturing memorable stadium moments. Kit Chan also performed ‘Live Your Dreams’ during a march-past by Team Singapore athletes, followed by the official dousing of the flame by President Nathan through a launch pad, which also signalled the start of the fireworks and light show.
And once the lights were out, revellers took to the pitch for LightsOut - The National Stadium Closing Party. Krueger, featuring John Molina performed ‘live’ for a 30-min set. Following that were sets by Phuture’s Flava with Andrew Chow and Zouk’s resident Mambo Jambo DJs who spun into the night, right up till 3.00 am.
Said Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, “It was fantastic to be part of the Kallang Roar and Kallang Wave at this occasion. This was a fitting finale to celebrate the stadium’s life, which over the years has seen many great moments in the fields of sports, culture and entertainment. Whilst we are sad to see her go, we look forward to a new chapter in Sporting Singapore when the Sports Hub is ready.”
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About Singapore Sports Council
The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) is Singapore’s lead agency tasked with developing sports in Singapore. Our vision is to create a Sporting Singapore where Sports is a way of life. SSC aims to develop sports champions and create enjoyable sporting experiences for Singapore through the three strategic thrusts of cultivating a sporting culture, achieving sports excellence and creating a vibrant sports industry. Formed on 1 October 1973, SSC is a statutory board under the purview of the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. SSC’s address on the world wide web: www.sportsingapore.gov.sg.