When in Kota Kinabalu, one of the modern landmarks that should catch your attention is the Likas Sports Complex, considered by many to be the best sporting venue in East Malaysia. The complex houses an Olympic-size swimming pool, badminton court, tennis court, land hockey field, golf driving range, gymnasium, Youth Challenge Park that includes a skate park and indoor climbing center, and the huge Likas Stadium that could seat 20,000 people but could easily accommodate more than its seating capacity. At one time during the Merdeka Day national celebrations, the stadium was jam packed with 40,000 people. Likas Stadium is the home of Sabah Rhinos, the Sabah Football Association football team, which is the state’s representative to the Malaysian Premier League.
Kota Kinabalu or KK is the capital city of Sabah in Borneo. Sabah is one of Malaysia’s 13 member-states. KK is a wonderful city that perfectly blends Mother Nature with modern industrialization. It is home to top-class white-sand beaches, exotic islands and intriguing dive sites, as it is also the most industrialized city with upscale shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and infrastructures. The city used to be called Jesselton, and is probably still known to many Europeans by that name, since Sabah used to be a British territory. It was renamed Kota Kinabalu after the world-famous Mount Kinabalu.
KK has been host to several important national sporting events, which include the 1994 Karate World Championships, 2002 Sukma Games, 2008 BWF Super Series Masters Finals (badminton), Borneo Safari 4×4 Challenge, and F2 Powerboat UIM World Cup Series. Golf is also big in KK. The city has four major golf courses: Kinabalu Golf Club in Tanjung Aru, Sabah Golf and Country Club in Bukit Padang, Sutera Harbour Golf and Country Club, and Karambunai Golf and Country Club.
In a city of people that love sports and big sporting events, Likas Sports Complex is well loved. Between sporting spectacles, people regularly come here for a morning or afternoon jog. Leisurely strolling around the lengthy running track is also quite an experience since it circles a man-made lake. Gate entrance is free. The complex also has three lawn bowling courts, outdoor volleyball court, facilities for taekwondo, yoga, aerobics and fencing, and four swimming pools, which include a kiddy pool, recreation pool, and top-level Olympic-standard pool. Entrance fee to all four pools is only RM5. There are also food places nearby.
The Likas Stadium within the sports complex was constructed in 2001 and its first major event was the Sukma Games in 2002. Sukma Games are the biennial Malaysian Games, Malaysia’s version of the Olympics and well-loved by most Malaysians. The stadium also has a small grandstand that could hold 200 people; it also hosts the annual Chinese New Year celebrations, Ramadan open houses, and the Borneo International Marathon, as the marathon’s start and end point.
The nationally popular and most widely comprehensive Likas Sports Complex is located on Jalan Komplex Sukan, just 10 minutes from KK’s city center. People are regularly seen to just walk or jog to the complex. There are also a number of upscale and budget hotels surrounding the site.