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Victory wave

NTU’s new eco-friendly sports hall, aptly named The Wave for its eye-catching curved roof, opens its doors this month. Chrystal Chan and Tan Yo-Hinn discover why this new landmark on NTU’s sports-loving campus will thrill both competitive sportsmen and casual athletes


World of sports

Coming hot on the heels of the opening of the biggest gym on campus at the Banyan, Binjai and Tanjong residences, this sports complex – which is slightly larger than a football pitch – is the latest feather in NTU’s sporting cap.

NTU has made a name in the sports arena, with Singapore’s only sports degree programme that has drawn many serious athletes each year. NTU was also the designated games village of the world’s first Youth Olympic Games in 2010 and last year’s ASEAN University Games.

Many key members of Singapore’s sporting fraternity like sprinter Dipna Lim-Prasad and Calvin Kang, swimmer Amanda Lim and silat exponent Nur Shafiqa Sheik Alauddin have been nurtured here. The university has supported their sporting ambitions with a flexible curriculum for national athletes that lets them reschedule examinations and assignment deadlines if these clash with training and competition schedules.

With The Wave adding to NTU’s already comprehensive suite of sports facilities, both for the serious and recreational player, NTU looks set to be a sports hub of the West.

Gone with the wind

Badminton players will relish playing in a draft-free hall like this one, because the flight of a shuttlecock won’t be disturbed. The bad news is: You can no longer blame a bad shot on the wind!

“We are trained to take into account drafts when we play. But the gold standard is a draft-free hall that won’t spoil your game. Our jump shots will now be easier to time!” says shuttler Ngo Yi Chye, a third-year sports science and management student who represented Singapore in the 2011 Southeast Asia Games.

Don’t sweat it

Athletes using the new sports complex may feel the heat from the competition, but not from lack of air-conditioning. The entire hall is quickly cooled by more than 20 air-conditioning vents located near the floor rather than up overhead in traditional sports halls.

I like how the cool air here feels natural. The air-conditioning is very silent, so it’s like I’m in another country with a temperate climate.
– Yi Chye (above)

Gold standards

What strikes most of the athletes as they enter the new sports hall is its cavernous interior. The curved roof extends the height of the sports complex, with tall glass windows adding to the feeling of spaciousness since there is plenty of natural light even when the court divider nets are lowered for different games.

“Training here will be a great experience as this is a competition-sized hall that is very close to the international standard of training venues. It’s good mental preparation for actual competitions,” says Shermaine See (above, in black), a national basketballer from the Nanyang Business School, who represented Singapore in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games.

Adrenaline pumping

Now you see it, now you don’t. At the flick of a button, the retractable seats – about 1,000 of them – can be neatly tucked away or pushed to the middle court for that all-important match.

“The fact that the seats can come right to the edge of the court is a huge plus. Having the spectators cheering loudly nearby will definitely spur us on to play better,” says final-year art, design and media student Hazmi Bin Hasan, who represented Singapore in floorball at the World University Games in 2014.

“In the old sports hall, the spectators are seated higher up on hard benches above the athletes. Here, you’re much closer to the action. If we compete here, we’ll immediately feel the presence of the audience and will be all pumped up to perform. I like that these comfortable chairs have backrests too,” says final-year physical and mathematical sciences student Fion Bay (far right), who is in the university cheerleading team, NTU ACES.

Olympic ground

Go ahead to execute those fancy moves like your favourite sports star. The multi-layered, non-slip floor acts like a cushion and shock-absorber, and is the same type of flooring that was used at the 2016 Olympic Games.

“The floor here is comparable to the competition flooring used in international floorball matches. There’s a lot less friction and resistance compared with the parquet floors that we typically train on. Since the ball bounces less, its behaviour is also easier to predict,” says Hazmi (above, in yellow).

The opening of The Wave follows the unveiling of the enormous gym at Binjai Hall on 3 January, complete with 16 cardio machines including six treadmills, three cross trainers, five bicycles, two rowing machines, as well as 13 weight machines, two weight training machines and a functional training cage.

NTU’s new sports hall: The Wave

Get a drone’s eye view of the sports complex, including never-seen-before footage of its making.

All our students are encouraged to take up sports and exercise as part of team-building and a healthy lifestyle. Our students will certainly enjoy using the new sports hall, whether for competitive sports or recreation. With competition-standard facilities, it also makes a great venue for sports events such as inter-university games. We look forward to hosting more elite sporting teams and international competitions, which will add vibrancy and excitement to the sports scene here.
– Prof Kwok Kian Woon, Associate Provost (Student Life)

Green game-changer

  • The 70m-long curved roof was built using an innovative engineered wood system that provides five times better insulation against the heat.
  • First large-scale building in this region using engineered wood from sustainable forests.
  • Accelerated assembly time to merely a few weeks instead of months common in conventional construction.
  • Uses motion sensor lighting for higher energy savings.
  • Designed for natural cooling, with good wind flow from all directions when windows are open.

Scoresheet For The Wave

Green light from NTU’s sporting fraternity

“I would definitely have liked to use this sports hall when I was still a student in NTU. I like that it has more space for spectators to cheer on the players from the sidelines. This will be a much better training ground as the bigger court space also resembles actual competition settings.”
– National floorballer
Glendon Phua, Class of 2015
  “This complex has excellent facilities for my juniors to play the sports they love. I am considering coming back to NTU sometime just to test out this new sports hall.”
– Professional basketballer
Wong Wei Long, Class of 2015
  “It's really great that NTU has a new sports facility like this. As I am quite involved in table tennis training for my NTU colleagues, I am looking forward to organising our games in this sports hall.”
– National para-athlete Assoc Prof Mu Yuguang, who represents Singapore in table tennis