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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

(The Star) Axiata Arena set to become iconic venue in KL Sports City

KUALA LUMPUR: Goodbye, Putra Stadium. From now, it will be known as Axiata Arena.
Yesterday, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that Axiata Arena would be the iconic venue at the KL Sports City for the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in August – on par with the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, O2 Arena in London and Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai.
The KL Sports City is a redevelopment of the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex.
But more than a change of name, Khairy promised that the KL Sports City would be an international sporting destination made accessible to all walks of life in Malaysia.
The Axiata Arena and other venues at the KL Sports City are expected to be opened for use in July.
Khairy said he was thrilled to strike a RM55mil deal over 10 years with telecommunications conglomerate Axiata in a bid to create Malaysia’s own sports hub.
He added that more stadiums within the KL Sports City would be named after corporate firms.
“This is our first stadium partnership with a corporate name. I’ve always wanted an iconic and inspiring venue for Malaysians. Today, I’m proud. We could not have grabbed a better partner than Axiata,” enthused Khairy.
“Axiata Arena will be the crown jewel of the KL Sports City. It’ll be equipped with the latest technology with world class facilities. The users will enjoy a good experience.
“We built the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex for the 1998 Common­wealth Games. But let’s face it ... it didn’t measure up as a sporting destination. It was under-utilised. We’re changing all that.
“Sports followers can now go to the stadium without worrying about sub-standard facilities. The toilets will be clean.
“They can upload Instagram photos without having to deal with congestions. The venue will be supported with good transportation system. And they can even watch their athletes in training.
“From outside, the building may look the same but it’s different. It’s so much better.”
Khairy also said that the KL Sports City would eventually be a hype of activities for all.
There will be spaces for people to work out, to jog, to swim and to spend time in open spaces. There are also plans to build futsal and basketball courts and facilities for X-Games under the second phase of renovations after the SEA Games.
“All these things are missing. There are only huge spaces for car park and monuments. Sports fan only come here for major sporting events and concerts and they rush back home,” said Khairy.

“We’ll have all these facilities and it’ll be open 24/7. I’ve also asked Axiata to come out with events for the public like runs, cycling races ... ideally, this will be the home of Malaysian sports.”