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|Velodrome project still rolling, illustration photo|
KP Singh, CEO of Vietnam Sports Platform (VSP), the consortium between South Korean and Japanese investors behind the $200 million velodrome project, told VIR that he was expecting to start the project development process within this year, given permission from the local authorities.
“We are in regular follow-ups with the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Investment. Our team is ready with all the resources to start the process as soon as we have approval from the local authorities,” he said, adding that he targeted to break ground before Tet and complete the project within 26 months.
Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong said that the city had decided to withdraw from hosting the 31st Southeast Asian Games and the 11th ASEAN Para Games in 2021, due to the delay of key projects in the $1.5 billion Rach Chiec Sports Complex in the city’s District 2.
“One of the main issues highlighted was delayed land compensation, which requires a bidding process in line with new regulations,” Singh told VIR. “The issues raised by the city are correct and we are one of the most affected investors of this complex. But for the velodrome project investment, we are committed to proceeding and are in frequent communication with the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee on a daily basis.”
“We hope that with the support of the local authorities, our project will proceed soon. Our project structure is based on a self-sustaining commercial model and such facilities will be needed by Vietnam for years to come,” he added.
Phong said that infrastructure projects in the city are unlikely to be completed ahead of the games, adding that Phan Dinh Phung Sports Centre and Phu Tho Indoor Sports Stadium currently do not meet the required standards.
The key project, construction of Rach Chiec Sports Complex, has stalled at the concept stage. According to Phong, the city could have called for private funding to complete the sporting projects, but the capital mobilisation must be conducted through bidding and in line with current regulations, which will take a longer period of time. Previously, the plan to host the 31st Southeast Asian Games in the city had received the approval of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
Following this, Ho Chi Minh City authorities permitted VSP to develop the velodrome on a 10-hectare plot at Rach Chiec Sports Complex.
According to Singh, all the basics, from design and financial sourcing to technical solutions, are ready. VSP is now waiting for final approval from the local authorities so they can start the project.
Singh said that three popular velodromes, similar to the one planned in Vietnam, have been operating in South Korea for more than 20 years. Meanwhile, VSP’s Japanese partners are running more than 20 velodromes in Tokyo and Osaka.
Apart from being a centre for cycling, the project will also be used for other indoor sports including badminton, dancing, roller sports, volleyball, boxing, fencing, table tennis, wrestling, and martial arts.
Once the velodrome in Ho Chi Minh City is finished, VSP plans a further two in Hanoi and Danang.