ASIA will host the next Summer and Winter Olympics – as well as the Rugby World Cup and a number of other major global sports events – in state-of-the-art stadiums.
But the continent is already home to some of the world’s most amazing, scenic and interesting sports stadiums – arenas that are the envy of the world for many reasons.
Whether it is the world’s highest stadium, a floating football pitch or a solar-powered national stadium, Asia takes some beating when it comes to amazing sports stadiums.
We look at 11 unique stadiums from across Asia, listed in no particular order.
The Float at Marina Bay, Singapore
One of the most unusual stadiums in the world, The Float at Marina Bay was due to host the 2008 Singapore Cup final – but a problem relating to the stadium’s metal beams casting a shadow on the pitch saw the game moved elsewhere.
The stadium is still used for Singapore’s National Day parade.
Sapporo Dome, Japan
The Sapporo Dome is the epitome of a modern-day multi-purpose stadium, shifting seamlessly between baseball (Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters) and football (Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo) thanks to its state-of-the-art retractable pitch.
The stadium hosted three games at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, including England’s 1-0 win over Argentina, in which David Beckham scored the winning goal with a penalty.
Beijing National Aquatics Center, China
Known colloquially as the Water Cube, the National Aquatics Center was built alongside the Beijing National Stadium – or Bird’s Nest – as a centrepiece of the 2008 Olympic Games.
The iconic building remains in use, with half of its interior space used as a water park, and will host the curling at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Beijing National Stadium, China
Sitting next to the Water Cube is the Bird’s Nest – which is likely to be remembered as one of the most interesting Olympic stadiums in history.
The stadium remains in use – and will host major e-sports event, the League of Legends World Championship Final, later this year.
National Stadium, Taiwan
Previously known as the World Games Stadium, after hosting the tournament in 2009, the largest stadium in Taiwan stands out for its curved, dragon-shaped design and use of solar energy.
It has since hosted football matches for the Chinese Taipei national team and concerts – many featuring popular Taiwanese band Mayday.
Singapore National Stadium, Singapore
The state-of-the-art National Stadium opened in 2014, replacing the former National Stadium, which had been in operation on the same site until 2007 and was demolished in 2010.
The stadium has a retractable domed roof and was custom-designed to host football, rugby, cricket and athletics – the only stadium in the world to be built with all four sports in mind.
Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Malaysia
Malaysia’s national stadium, which played a central role in the recent 29th SEA Games, will be upgraded to add a retractable roof and other new facilities following this month’s ASEAN Para Games.
But it is already one of Southeast Asia’s most impressive sports stadiums, with a capacity of 87,000.
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, India
HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala is one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world. Located in the hometown of the Dalai Lama, the ground is situated 1,457 metres above the sea level and has the snow-capped Himalayas in the background.
It staged its first Test match earlier this year, when India took on Australia.
Chail Cricket Ground, India
The world’s highest cricket ground, Chail in Himachal Pradesh is 2,444 meters above sea level and has been in operation since 1893. The ground is used on non-matchdays as the school playground for the Chail Military School.
Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, North Korea
North Korea is obviously not best known for its sporting infrastructure but the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in Pyongyang is one of the world’s biggest sports stadiums.
The stadium has hosted many non-sporting events, and, is thought to have been the venue in the late 1990s for the execution of generals who attempted to assassinate Kim Jong-il.
Haixinsha Island Asian Games Stadium, China
The opening ceremony of the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou was not staged at the 80,000-capacity Guangdong Olympic Centre Stadium but the Asian Games Stadium on Haixinsha Island.
Located to the south of the city’s central business district, it made for some dramatic backdrops during the Games.