Singapore Badminton Hall
The Singapore Badminton Hall (Abbreviation: SBH; Chinese: 新加坡羽毛球馆; pinyin: xīnjiāpō yǔmáoqiúguǎn) is an indoor sports hall for badminton located on Guillemard Road in Geylang, Singapore. It is currently the headquarters of the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA).
The Singapore Badminton Hall was built in 1952 for the Thomas Cup Tournament. The first tournament was held in the United Kingdom in 1949, and the Malayan team won the championship. As a result, Malaya also won the right to host the next Thomas Cup, that was scheduled for 1952. As there was no suitable indoor sports hall in Malaya then, the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) decided to build one in Singapore. A fund to build the Singapore Badminton Hall was launched, after a ceremony welcoming the victorious Thomas Cup team at the Victoria Memorial Hall.
In February 1951, SBA requested from the Singapore Government for a plot of land on No 1 Lorong 23 Geylang Singapore 388352 (Formerly on Guillemard Road) to build the badminton stadium. SBA was granted a 99-year lease on the land, effectively from 1 July the same year, and proceeded to construct the sports hall.
The estimated construction cost for the hall was S$200,000 to S$250,000 but the eventual cost rose to S$800,000. Donations then totalled only S$32,000. Aw Boon Haw, who was a patron of the SBA, gave a loan of S$250,000. Despite this, funds were still short by over S$400,000. Nevertheless, the Badminton Hall Management Committee, headed by Tan Ark Sye, pressed ahead with the construction of the hall. The main contractor, C H Tong, generously assisted by commencing work.
The Singapore Badminton Hall was completed in May 1952. However, the SBA did not have sufficient funds to cover the total construction cost. Eventually, the hall was relinquished to the Singapore Sports Council which took over its management in 1978.
Although it was completed in May 1952, the Singapore Badminton Hall was not ready for the 2nd Thomas Cup Tournament that was scheduled on 27–28 May that year. The tournament was held at the Happy World Stadium, where the Malayan Team, which included Wong Peng Soon, Ong Poh Lim and Ismail Marjan, successfully defended their title.
In 1955, the 3rd Thomas Cup Tournament was held at the Singapore Badminton Hall for the first time. The Malayan Team won its 3rd consecutive title. The 4th Thomas Cup Tournament was also held at the badminton hall in June 1958 but the Indonesian team won this time.
In June 1959, a crowd of nearly 7,000 workers from 63 trade unions gathered at the Singapore Badminton Hall to celebrate the advent of the new government after the general election, which was won by the People's Action Party.
On 1 September 1962, the Singapore Badminton Hall was the vote counting station for a referendum to Tunku Abdul Rahman's suggestion to merge Singapore, Brunei, Sarawak, Sabah and the Federation of Malaya to form Malaysia. About 71% of the electorate voted for the merger proposal. At 11.15am on Sept 3, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew speaks of 'the clear and decisive verdict' of the people of Singapore for merger with Malaysia, and 'the awful moment of truth' for the Communists. This speech came immediately after the announcement of the Government's victory over the Barisan Socialis-led call to cast blank votes in the referendum. (See: Singaporean national referendum, 1962)
Southeast Asian Games
On 1 February 1978, the Singapore Sports Council took over the management of the Singapore Badminton Hall after acquiring a 30-year lease from the Lands Office (now the Singapore Land Authority). The hall was then renovated and served as the venue for badminton in the 12th and 17th Southeast Asian Games, hosted by Singapore in 1983 and 1993 respectively.
On 1 September 1999, the Singapore Badminton Hall was marked by the National Heritage Board as a historical site. This was in recognition of the two significant historical events that happened at the hall — it held two Thomas Cup tournaments and was the vote counting station for the landmark 1962 referendum. The ceremony was officiated by Abdullah Tarmugi, Minister for Community Development and Sports.
In July 2007, the Singapore Badminton Association announced plans to close the Singapore Badminton Hall, after the 30-year lease between the Singapore Sports Council and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) ceases on 31 January 2008. The SBA's lease is for the badminton hall and its adjacent building, which houses the association's office and practice courts. Its current annual lease of under S$100,000 would be increased to S$1.164 million if the SBA were to renew it, but the association has no plans to do so. The SBA cited possible sites for its new temporary headquarters at the Singapore Sports School and Anglo-Chinese School (Independent). The SBA will eventually be relocated to the Singapore Sports Hub in Kallang, due for completion in 2011.
- Jeanette Wang (29 July 2007). "End of an era for Singapore Badminton Hall: Start saying goodbye". The Sunday Times.
- Jeanette Wang (28 July 2007). "Singapore Badminton Hall likely to close in Jan". The Straits Times.
- "Singapore Sports Council Sports Museum: Singapore Badminton Hall". Singapore Sports Council. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-28.
- "The Singapore Badminton Hall marked as a historical site". Singapore Sports Council. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-28.
- "The Singapore Badminton Association: History". Singapore Badminton Association. Archived from the original on 20 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-28.