Singaporeans are not well known for their athletic prowess: one could easily argue that the two favourite national sports remain shopping and eating. But things may be changing - slightly. According to a recent survey by the Singapore Sports Council, 48 per cent participate in some form of sports activity or exercise at least once a week, a fairly significant increase from the 38 per cent in 2001. That said, almost as many - 47 per cent (myself included, I lamely admit) - still lead sedentary lifestyles, not having exercised in the three months before the survey. At the same time, sports is big business: consider the astronomical TV-rights deals for coverage of the Olympics, football matches and Formula One racing. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, the Asia-Pacific sports industry will grow from an estimated US$12.7 billion in 2004 to $17 billion in 2009. And Singapore intends to get its share of the pie. Last year, the government pledged to inject another S$300 million ($1.44 billion) into the Sporting Singapore Fund for use until 2010. The country is currently building a sports hub in Kallang, on the east coast, which could ultimately cost as much as S$1 billion. The 35-hectare facility, to be completed by 2011, will house the 55,000-capacity national stadium with a retractable roof, an indoor aquatic centre and a 3,000-capacity multi-purpose arena. Meanwhile, in the hope that it will encourage people to become more active, the government is bidding for all sorts of sports activities to take place in Singapore. The Lion City recently won the right to host a leg of the Swimming World Cup series, for three years starting next year. It will be the only Asian stop in the International Federation for Swimming's World Cup series. In January, the country was one of the stopovers for the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Will this make people want to jog, swim or walk -the three favourite sports here, according to the Sports Council survey - more? Or will an army of sports coaches develop? No one knows, but recent events have reassured Singaporeans that they will at least be able to watch international games on television. The local broadcaster, MediaCorp TV, recently announced that it would not broadcast this year's Commonwealth Games, saying there was 'little commercial interest from advertisers to defray the cost'. But that decision didn't sit well with the authorities, given the current push to embrace sport. A few days before the Games began in Melbourne, Australia - and after the Singapore Sports Council and the Media Development Authority came in with increased funding - MediaCorp had an about-face and announced that there would, after all, be coverage.