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Olympic-size ice-skating rink ready by mid-May for SEA Games


PETALING JAYA: The Mammoth Empire group is targeting to have its ice-skating rink ready by the middle of next month in preparation for the 29th SEA Games.

The skating rink is among a series of some 15 venues, divided into three clusters, for the 400-odd competitions from about 40 sporting events.

Mammoth Empire Holdings Sdn Bhd (MEH) group executive director Datuk Danny J.Y. Cheah said the Olympic-size rink, an investment of about RM30mil, will “be ready as early as next month” for what may be a series of pre-SEA Games events before it hosts the actual SEA Games winter events between Aug 20 and Aug 30.

“The pre-Games events are part and parcel of their training, to ensure things run smoothly when the actual event takes place, and to test the rink and other systems,” said Cheah.

The skating rink, to sit 500 spectators, will be located inside the Empire City mall, which is still work-in-progress, but members of the public will be able to view the events, he said.

Cheah said basement two of Empire City mall has about 2,000 car parking bays which have been ready since last year.

“Stakeholders, residents and officials who have any business to be there are parking there now,” Cheah said.

As for the Empire City mall, which had its opening postponed a couple of times, Cheah said this too will be ready by November or December this year.

He told StarBiz the mall is 75% tenanted and will be opened in stages.

“It will not be fully tenanted but we are getting there,” he said, adding that a press conference will be held to unveil the rink and the developments there. The development will also have a virtual reality theme park which is expected to open in the first quarter of next year.

The successful hosting of two out of some 40 sports under the SEA Games will offer some degree of redeeming grace to the MEH group as it has not been short of negative publicity. The mall was delayed a couple of times and there were some issues with regards to some of the commercial developments there.

The pre-SEA Games events in July, about a month before the actual Games between Aug 19 and 30, will be a sort of curtain-raiser for the MEH group and the 28-acre mixed integrated project.

This will be the first time winter events comprising figure skating, short track speed skating and ice hockey are being introduced in the SEA Games.

A SEA Games secretariat official said the training for figure skating, short track speed skating and ice-hockey events have been confirmed beginning Aug 20. Each of the three events will have different or overlapping training dates.

The SEA Games secretariat official said there have been “constant visits and constant progress” so far.

“The pre-Games event will help us to practise the whole system, that is, the displays, how things flow and the officials involved and other logistics issues. The objective is to make the pre-Games events as similar to the actual event as possible,” he said.

“Although it is a semi-construction site, it will be accessible to the public,” the official said.

According to the MEH website, the 28-acre Empire City mixed integrated project which fronts Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong, will have a mall with a net nettable area of 2.5 million sq ft over four levels.

For comparison, Bandar Utama’s 1Utama new retail wing has a net lettable area of 1.2 million sq ft.

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