Sport Singapore CEO apologised to the public in his letter to ST Forum today (‘Forum: Lessons from StanChart marathon will be incorporated into future races‘, 6 Dec).
His apology came following public complaints over the massive traffic jams built-up in the city area during the marathon race last Saturday evening (30 Nov). The annual Singapore Marathon was sponsored by a number of companies including StanChart. It was held in the evening for the first time.
Sport Singapore, formerly Singapore Sports Council, is a statutory board which comes under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth helmed by Minister Grace Fu. It is tasked by the government to develop a holistic sports culture for Singapore.
The CEO of Sport Singapore, Lim Teck Yin, is a retired Brigadier-General from the SAF. Lim was an SAF Scholar who holds a Master of Science in Management degree from the London Business School. He was awarded 3 public service medals by the President of Singapore:
In his letter, BG Lim said that the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) is a “celebration of active living with family and friends, and an exhortation for Singaporeans to give back through sport”.
Following the government’s call for building an “inclusive” society, BG Lim added, “From able runners to those with special needs, from seasoned competitors to first-timers, all come for their own reasons. Collectively, they embody the Singapore spirit of inclusiveness and resilience.”
He explained that the shift from early morning to an evening run was made to let more Singaporeans join in this event.
“More than 100,000 people came out this year to cheer the runners and enjoy the atmosphere at various spectator zones,” he said. “In the years to come, the meaningfulness of the event will grow as Singaporeans embrace SCSM.”
But he acknowledged that holding an evening race of “this scale” in densely populated Singapore is an ambitious endeavour.
“Since the end of last year, we have engaged stakeholders and conducted detailed traffic studies to mitigate the impact of road closures as much as possible. Information about the road closures and alternative routes and modes of transport were shared with affected businesses in early January,” he explained.
“We announced six months in advance, on May 28, that the race would be held in the evening for the first time. We intensified publicity on traffic advisories on road closures last month.”
And added, “Members of the public were strongly encouraged to take public transport. On race day, we deployed auxiliary police officers to help direct traffic to alternative routes. We will incorporate this year’s lessons for subsequent races.”
He ended his letter with an apology, “We apologise to those caught off guard and inconvenienced by the traffic impasse. The SCSM will, like the marathons in the six Majors cities and other events in Singapore with extensive road closures, take time for the general public to become familiar with.”
That is to say, he opined that the Singapore marathon like those held in other major cities in the world, would take time for the public to get familiar with the inconveniences it can cause.
“It is our sincere aspiration that this celebration of human endeavour will inspire more Singaporeans, and we look forward to working together with you on this journey,” he said.