KUCHING: A cherished dream shared by both the rugby and cricket fraternities came ever closer to realisation following a kick-off meeting for the Proposed Cricket & Rugby Ground by the Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) at the Sarawak Stadium on Monday.
Sarawak Cricket Association (SCA) president Awang Mahyan Awang Mohamad and Sarawak Rugby Union president Richard Song Swee Jin shared their delight and appreciation for the latest development.
“I am very happy that the Cricket Oval will be built soon to help in the development of cricket in the state.
“With the Oval, we are able to not only use it for training of our state cricketers but also use it to host national and international competitions,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.
According to Mahyan who is also president of the Sarawak Lawn Bowls Association, the Cricket Oval & Rugby ground will be built on the 12.7-acre land at the Sarawak Sports Complex which used to house the lawn bowls stadium.
Meanwhile, Song delivered a big “Thank You” to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, former state secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani and SSC chief executive officer Dr Ong Kong Swee for a training pitch and an international competition field to be completed by end of next year.
“By that time, we can proudly say that Sarawak Rugby has got a permanent home in Kuching,” he said.
He added that the chief minister has also approved to fully redevelop the iconic Song Kheng Hai Rugby Field with modern facilities and to the size of international standard and specifications to allow for international rugby competitions.
“It is my wish that the government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports can build more rugby pitches in major towns like Sibu, Miri, Bintulu and Samarahan as well as other divisions in the near future,” Song said.
At last year’s Kuching Rugby Football Club’s (KRFC) 60th Anniversary Fund-raising Dinner, Abdul Karim had announced that the state government was going to build a Rugby Ground at the Sarawak Sports Complex.
The RM5.9 million dual usage ground project will be built according to international standard and specifications.
Once completed, it will be used to host international events.
SSC is looking to complete the tender exercise by end of this year and for construction work to start in 2021.
The lead consultant for the project David Wong of PDC Design Group is confident that the project will commence as scheduled.
According to Dr Ong, this will be the first international cricket and rugby ground in the state.
He hoped both SCA and the SRU will fully utilise the ground for grassroots development for both sports. Ong also challenged them to revitalise the Borneo Cup and Borneo Games where Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah used to compete annually against each other.
Monday’s meeting was also attended by Richard Song and SCA secretary Gordon Chung.