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Old October 13th, 2010, 08:53 AM   #21
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Government committed to sports facilities provision and upgrade
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Government Press Release

In response to enquiries on a media report on the Government’s provision of sports facilities in the past decade, a spokesman for the Home Affairs Bureau today (September 30) said as follows:

The Government has been undertaking a number of sports facilities projects over the past 10 years, including nine sports centres in Stanley, Kwun Tong, Tai Kok Tsui, Tseung Kwan O, North District, Tai Po, Ma On Shan, Tin Shui Wai and Tung Chung. More recently, Phase II of Ma On Shan Sports Ground, Stanley Main Beach Water Sports Centre and Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground have been completed.

Back then (in 1999) when bidding for the right to host the 2006 Asian Games, the Government mentioned “projects under planning or consideration” since the venues had to meet the standards for the Asian Games should Hong Kong succeed in bidding the right. The task was to install temporary facilities or seats as far as practicable to meet demands so as to avoid wastage after the events were over.

Ma On Shan Sports Ground and Sports Centre

The sports ground was already in place when Hong Kong bid to host the 2006 Asian Games. The plan at that time was to build extra seats if Hong Kong succeeded in the bidding. As the bid turned out to be unsuccessful, it became natural that no extra seats would be required.

Besides, in the bid document, the proposed capacity for the Ma On Shan Sports Centre was 3 000 seats. The centre has now 1 000 fixed seats and 500 folded seats, and can expand the capacity for 4 000 spectators if needed. It allows flexibility to suit different circumstances.

Sai Tso Wan, Kwun Tong

The Government’s initial plan had been to build a baseball and softball pitch. Though the bid to host the 2006 Asian Games was unsuccessful, the Government constructed the Sai Tso Wan Recreation Ground as planned. Due to site and layout limitations of the venue, the most feasible option meeting demands was to build a multi-purpose grass pitch primarily for baseball use. We at the same time built more sports facilities there, including an 11-a-side football pitch, a jogging track, a children’s playground and leisure facilities. Sai Tso Wan’s usage rate has been saturated since opening and it has become a major venue for Hong Kong baseball activities. It is also the training base for the Hong Kong Baseball Team as well as venue for international tournaments.

As for softball training and competitions, they are held at Hong Kong Softball Association’s dedicated site in Tin Kwong Road. The sports ground at Shek Kip Mei Service Reservoir is open for softball and baseball use on Saturdays and Sundays.

Water sports facilities in Shing Mun River

As regards water sports activities in Shing Mun River, the Government has been supporting the Hong Kong, China Rowing Association, the Hong Kong Canoe Union and the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Association, via land provision and subsidies, to set up water sports centres on both sides of the river for matches and training.

Each year a number of local and international competitions were held there, including rowing events of the 2009 East Asian Games held recently. The organisers set up starting installation, buoy, distance markings, timers and other facilities only when competitions are held, which are removed when the events are over.

Hockey grounds, cycling tracks and venues for archery competitions

Hockey grounds in the Hong Kong Sports Institute and cycling tracks in the Kwai Chung Sports Ground, mentioned in the bid document for 2006 Asian Games, were not constructed as a result of Hong Kong not hosting the Games. However, with a view to supporting developments of hockey and cycling, the Government upgraded the facilities at the King’s Park hockey grounds in 2008, and will provide an indoor velodrome that meets international standard in Area 45 of Tseung Kwan O, which is expected to be completed in mid-2013. Venues for archery competitions in Tai Hang Tung Recreation Ground have all along been planned as temporary facilities for the Asian Games.

Castle Peak (i.e. Pillar Point) Shooting Range

The Hong Kong Shooting Association (HKSA) suggested to the Government in June 2006 for running a self-financing shooting range. The Government has been assisting HKSA to carry out the proposal, and issued a land licence of 25 years to HKSA in October 2008. In mid-2010, HKSA applied to the Sir David Trench Fund for Recreation for a grant to construct the first phase of the shooting range. The application is being processed.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 04:33 AM   #22
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Personally i feel that any Major Sporting events. HK seriously need political support and assistance from Beijing. Gd luck
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Old October 14th, 2010, 09:28 AM   #23
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Some of the existng sports facilities that Hong Kong has are Hong Kong Stadium, Asia World Exhbition Centre, Queen Elizabeth Gymnasium, and Hong Kong Coliseum.
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Old October 18th, 2010, 01:02 PM   #24
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HK$10b price tag put on Asian Games in HK
21 September 2010
SCMP

Hosting the 2023 Asian Games will cost HK$10 billion, the low end of the spending spectrum, with the government presenting the public consultation paper to the Legislative Council today.

The price tag was disclosed by a sports official close to the administration. At a special home affairs panel meeting, the government will brief lawmakers on the estimated cost of staging the Games, as well as the benefit to sports development and the community.

The government has tried to limit the cost in the hope of obtaining budgetary approval from the council's Finance Committee and winning the support of the public.

Speculation had put the cost as high as HK$50 billion for building facilities and improving infrastructure if Hong Kong wanted to stage a successful Asian Games.

But the HK$10 billion estimate will be made on the assumption that no new facilities will be built specifically for the Games. Existing facilities will be renovated instead.

The athletes' village, the home for an estimated 15,000 athletes and officials during the Games period, will become a joint venture with property developers, and will not be included in the budget.

"Many of the 2023 Games events can be held at the Kai Tak sports hub, which has been planned by the government for many years and is not [being] built because of the Asian Games bid. Its construction cost, therefore, will not be included as part of the 2023 Games bid," an official close to the government said.

"Some new sports facilities which will be opened soon - or are under planning for the next 10 years in various districts - may also be upgraded to meet the Asian Games standard, but since they are under the government's regular capital expenditure they will not be included in the bid budget." The government spent HK$1 billion on renovating sports facilities to host the East Asian Games last year. The Kowloon Park swimming pool, the Hong Kong Coliseum and Queen Elizabeth Stadium have all had facelifts. A new HK$600 million cycling velodrome will open in Tseung Kwan O in 2012.

The Kai Tak project, which features a 45,000-seat stadium and multi-purpose sports centre, would be the major venue for the 2023 Games.

The next Asian Games, in Guangzhou in less than two months, cost the mainland authorities an estimated 200 billion yuan (HK$230 billion).

But a senior official for the Guangzhou event said the core expenditure, which included construction of facilities and Games operations, would be less than 15 billion yuan.

The Hong Kong Olympic Committee has been given until January to submit a formal bid document to the Olympic Council of Asia but the committee needs to obtain financial backing from the government beforehand.

Democratic Party lawmaker Emily Lau Wai-hing said HK$10 billion was a huge amount and the government needed to show evidence of how the public would benefit from the games. Civic Party legislator Tanya Chan said of the HK$10 billion cost: "It's about half of that for the HK$21.6 billion West Kowloon Cultural District ... we will need to see how the HK$10 billion will be used."

Professor Chau Kwong-wing, chair professor at the University of Hong Kong's real estate and construction department, said the government should have a transparent, fair and competitive environment for developers to bid to build the athletes' village.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 11:31 AM   #25
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Most people anti-Games, DAB finds
The Standard
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A pro-administration political party yesterday poured more cold water on the government's determination to host the 2023 Asian Games, saying nearly two-thirds of the public is against the idea.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said 65 percent of the 839 people it interviewed last week gave the proposal the thumbs down while only 15 percent supported it.

When told the government may have to fork out an additional HK$30 billion for the construction of venues, the "no" vote rose to 71 percent while those in favor dropped to 14.5 percent. Moreover, 90 percent were in favor of the money being spent on improving people's livelihoods, with fewer than 5 percent in favor of the games.

The DAB said 25 percent of the "no" votes felt hosting the games would do little to improve the livelihoods of retired athletes.

On September 30, the government launched a six- week public consultation on whether Hong Kong should bid for the 2023 Games.

The direct cost was estimated to be between HK$13.7 and HK$14.5 billion, with indirect investment for the renewal and expansion of sports facilities amounting to HK$30 billion. DAB legislator Kam Nai- wai said the Asian Games would be a time and finance consuming venture.

"The government should improve education and social welfare rather than bid for the games," he said. Moreover, the increasing costs of construction materials will eventually add to the financial burden.

According to the Home Affairs Bureau, the 2023 Asian Games is expected to create more than 11,500 new jobs and will bring the city at least HK$700 million in terms of sponsorships, tickets, television rights and souvenirs.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 02:23 PM   #26
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District forum to gauge views on bid for Asian Games
Monday, October 25, 2010
Government Press Release

The Home Affairs Bureau organised a district forum today (October 25) at the Henry G Leong Yaumatei Community Centre to gauge views on whether Hong Kong should bid to host the 2023 Asian Games.

The Under Secretary for Home Affairs, Ms Florence Hui, attended the forum to have a candid exchange with members of the community. She said, "Bidding for the Asian Games will give the Government an opportunity to fulfil the long-term policy objectives for sports, and serve as an investment for the younger generation as well as Hong Kong's future. It will also help promote a healthy lifestyle and sports development, thus bringing intangible and concrete benefits in the long run.

"The Government has extended the consultation period to December 1. We hope that the community will be able to analyse different arguments and facts, and express their views during the consultation period. We will continue to gather and listen to views from various sectors," Ms Hui added.

The Home Affairs Bureau will organise the last district forum on whether Hong Kong should bid for the Asian Games on November 2 at the Lek Yuen Community Hall.
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Old October 31st, 2010, 06:50 PM   #27
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Opinion : Invest in sport, not the Asian Games
10 October 2010
SCMP

I could not agree more with Albert Cheng ("Better ways to develop sport than hosting Games", October 6) about Hong Kong's possible application to host the Asian Games in 2023. First, HK$44 billion is a huge sum. The government has not taken the inflation factor into consideration, as the Games are 13 years from now.

There are no obvious advantages for the city from hosting the Games, except for brushing up our brand name.

Second, to be honest, Hong Kong's athletes are not as strong as many others.

It would be a shame if the host city did not win more medals than other Asian countries.

As Mr Cheng said, why doesn't the government put more resources into training athletes?

It proposed investing more in sports almost 10 years ago, when it bid for the 2006 Asian Games.

But little progress has been made since then.

It would be more convincing if the government bid for the games years from now, after taking concrete steps to strengthen the abilities of our athletes.

W.H. Chan, Kwun Tong
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Old November 8th, 2010, 08:43 AM   #28
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Young more open to hosting Games
1 November 2010
The Standard

A Hong Kong bid for the 2023 Asian Games is supported by almost half of the younger generation, a survey has found.

Of 483 respondents aged between 18 and 45 polled by the Hong Kong Youth Association in mid-October, 48 percent are in favor of a bid while 38 percent oppose it. A majority (56 percent) also agree that it will be worth celebrating if the city hosts the Games, which, according to the government, will cost up to HK$40 billion.

Moreover, 64 percent believe hosting a top sports event will increase living standards. Almost half (48 percent) agree that one of the main factors should be the Games' long-term effect on sporting development, and not the deficits it will bring.

However, it also found 56 percent believe it will be a waste of manpower and money to spend HK$40 billion on the Games. Thirty-six percent disagreed.

Jacky Ng Wai-tat, vice chairman of the association, said there is no contradiction in the figures, as people may support the Games from a subjective point of view, but in practice are worried about the cost involved.

The association _ which is concerned that only 71 percent of respondents are aware of the reports related to the bid _ said there is no consensus on whether to host the Games.

People are evenly split on whether Hong Kong should use the Games as a means to improve its image and economic strength, with 46 percent agreeing and the same number not.

The survey's findings contradict an earlier poll by the Democratic Alliance for the Progress and Betterment of Hong Kong, which found 65 percent giving the proposal the thumbs down, with only 15 percent supporting it. The DAB polled 839 people last month.

The official website on whether Hong Kong should bid for the Games has been swamped with views opposing the plan.

A consultation exercise, originally set to end on Wednesday has been extended until December 1, in what is believed to be a last-ditch effort to drum up public support after lawmakers from leading political parties declared they are against it or at least have strong reservations.

The government has said the direct costs for hosting the event will be HK$13.7 billion to HK$14.5 billion, plus HK$30.17 billion for upgrading existing sports venues and other planned projects.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 10:05 AM   #29
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Option to reduce cost proposed for 2023 Asian Games
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Government Press Release

The Venue Sub-Committee of the Asian Games Provisional Bid Committee (AGPBC) today (November 9) offered an alternative option which could potentially reduce the direct cost of hosting the Asian Games from the original estimate of about $13.7 to 14.5 billion, to less than $6 billion.

At the Venue Sub-Committee meeting today, members examined in detail the Government's strategy for the provision of venues if Hong Kong bids to host the Asian Games. Taking account of public concern over the possible cost of hosting the games, members considered that it would be viable to scale back the original plan to upgrade three proposed indoor sports centres in Yuen Long, Tai Po and Sha Tin.

"The alternative option would reduce the direct cost involved and still enable Hong Kong to provide competition venues up to the necessary international standards, without reducing the attractiveness of our bid," the Chairman of the Venue Sub-Committee, Mr Timothy Fok, said.

"This option would require the preliminary rounds of up to three events to be distributed among different venues. Although the spectator capacity of the three indoor sports centres would be reduced, it would be possible to provide temporary seating during the Games for about 1,000 to 1,200 people in each of the venues that would host the preliminary heats. The venues for holding the semi-finals and the finals of these three events would not be affected," Mr Fok added.

Members proposed that in addition to the three indoor sports centres, the preliminary heats for basketball, handball and volleyball could also take place at the Public Library and Indoor Recreation Centre in Yuen Long, at the Sports Centre in Fanling/Sheung Shui now under construction and at the existing Ma On Shan indoor sports centre. As a result of the proposed changes in the use of venues, wrestling and weightlifting would be relocated to the Tseung Kwan O Complex now under construction.

"The Government is keenly aware of the community's concern at the potential costs involved in hosting the Asian Games. We therefore welcome the option suggested by the Venue Sub-Committee that would reduce by more than half the direct cost of hosting the Games," Mr Tsang Tak-sing, the Secretary for Home Affairs, said.

Mr Tsang stressed that there would be no change to the Government's original plan to provide the three indoor sports centres and related facilities in Yuen Long, Tai Po and Sha Tin, regardless of whether or not they were upgraded.

The Government has extended the public consultation period for commenting on the possibility of Hong Kong bidding to host the 2023 Asian Games, and the deadline for the submission of views is now December 1, 2010.

"The option put forward by the Venue Sub-committee gives the public an opportunity to consider from a fresh perspective whether Hong Kong should bid to host the 2023 Games in the light of the potential reduced direct capital cost, the benefits that hosting the games could bring to Hong Kong and the opportunity for building up a strong sporting culture for our community and investing in our next generation," Mr Tsang said.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 03:31 PM   #30
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Bid to meet public halfway on Asiad
10 November 2010
The Standard

An alternative plan that may halve the cost of hosting the 2023 Asian Games to HK$6 billion has been put forward by an Asian Games committee.

The government estimated the direct cost of holding the event would be about HK$13.7 billion to HK$14.5 billion, sparking public opposition to the plan to bid for it. A consultation exercise is ongoing.

The venue subcommittee proposes scaling back the plan of upgrading three planned indoor sports centers in Yuen Long, Tai Po and Sha Tin.

``The alternative option would reduce the direct cost ... and still enable Hong Kong to provide competition venues up to the necessary international standards, without reducing the attractiveness of our bid,'' subcommittee chairman Timothy Fok Tsun-ting said.

The Architectural Services Department provided the cost reduction estimate.

Under the plan, capacity at the three indoor sports centers would be cut. ``It would be possible to provide temporary seating during the Games for about 1,000 to 1,200 people in each of the venues that would host the preliminary heats,'' Fok said. Plans for semifinal and the final venues would not be affected.

Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak- sing welcomed the proposed option and said the government will not change its mind on usage of the three indoor sports centers, whether or not they are upgraded.

``The government is keenly aware of the community's concern at the potential costs involved in hosting the Asian Games. The proposal is just related to the upgrading issues of the three sports centers.''

Total costs to host the Games are estimated at about HK$44.5 billion, including HK$30 billion already pledged for the long-term development of other sport facilities.

Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong chairman Tam Yiu-chung said the party still opposes hosting the event. ``I don't understand why the cost can be so flexible. Our stance will not change for the moment. We will first examine details of the proposal and consult the public.''
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Old November 20th, 2010, 05:14 PM   #31
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Taking a sporting chance
17 November 2010
China Daily - Hong Kong Edition

There are tangible benefits to staging events like the Asian Games, but Hong Kong may never see those benefits, as the local bid meets stiff resistance arising from long festering quality-of-life issues. Ming Yeung reports.

Hong Kong reputedly is not a city of sport-enthusiasts but it made the best of home advantage, winning 26 golds during the week-long 2009 East Asian Games. The SAR government is raising its sights to the next challenge - to stage a larger and more Olympic-like Asian Games in 2023. Still, the proposal has failed to generate much enthusiasm among the public.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), a pro-government political party, said 65 percent of the 839 people it interviewed during October were cold to the government's moves aimed at hosting the Games.

The opposition intensifies, with 71 percent against the idea if the cost meets the government's original budget estimate of about HK$44.5 billion. Government projections broke down those costs to HK$30 billion for construction of competition venues and HK$13.7-14.5 billion for hosting the Games. Many people who have voiced opposition to hosting the Asian Games in Hong Kong have stated they believe the money would be better spent on improving the living standards for the people of Hong Kong.

With Hong Kong's ample fiscal reserves, few have any doubt that the government has the funds to stage the event. However, use of taxpayer funds on public works has become particularly sensitive at a time when social issues such as the widening wealth gap and out of reach property prices are creating widespread discontent and even animosity.

The Venue Sub-committee of the Asian Games Provisional Bid Committee came up with a last-minute alternative on November 9 which it hoped would appease games opponents. The proposal would potentially reduce more than half the direct cost of hosting the Games to less than HK$6 billion.

The proposal did little to sway the DAB and the Civic Party, both of which remained skeptical. DAB chairman Tam Yiu-chung questioned the huge difference between the new proposal and the original and said his party would not lower its opposition to the Games, without a satisfactory explanation of the rationale behind the reduced budget.

The Home Affairs Bureau continues to consult the public about whether the city should bid for the Games. The consultation period, originally set to end on November 3 has been extended to the end of December.

The government estimated that the Games would generate HK$700 million from sponsorship, ticket sales, broadcasting rights and souvenir sales. It would also provide employment for more than 11,500 people.

"Sports development should move forward hand-in-hand with other social-improvement initiatives implemented by the government. They should be supplementary but not contradictory," says associate professor Lobo H.T. Louie at the physical education department at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Louie believes people are likely to be influenced by their own habits on the question of hosting the Games or not hosting them. "People who do not exercise regularly are more likely to say no but those who do are inclined to support the idea," Louie says.

The Hong Kong government has made efforts to create a sports-minded culture in Hong Kong as a means of improving the health and wellbeing of the people.

It has been medically demonstrated that regular exercise prevents or delays the onset of chronic diseases and disorders and deters progression of existing ones. A substantial proportion of today's medical expenses are attributable to health issues in which physical inactivity plays a significant role.

People who actively participate in sports save 2.5 percent on medical expenses on average in the US, 2.4 percent in Canada and 3 percent in the UK.

If Hong Kong people exercised more regularly and eventually saved 2.5 percent on their medical expenses following the Games, the currently HK$60 billion public health care expenditure would decrease by HK$150 million annually, Louie estimates.

"Sports contribute a lot to psychological and social development of young people. Being actively involved in sports helps them study better. It also prevents them from going astray," notes Dr Trisha Leahy, chief executive of Hong Kong Sports Institute.

"At the community level, sport is an excellent tool to unite communities and brings a sense of social harmony," she says. "Hosting the Games can add value to these benefits. Countries competitively bid to host these Games and one of the reasons is that even though there is an investment, the investment will pay off in the long term."

Facilities for staging the games in 2023 will cost HK$30 billion. These include the multi-purpose stadium complex at Kai Tak, two new sports centers and a new sports ground. These facilities however are in the long term plans whether Hong Kong hosts the Asian Games or not.

One official source said Hong Kong is short by 19 sporting facilities that need to be built sooner or later.

There is also the question of whether Hong Kong has the space to pull it off. Neither Doha, Qatar nor Guangzhou face the enormous land constraints that make Hong Kong properties among the world's most expensive real estate.

Beside the huge price tag, Louie thinks the public has mistaken "playing sports" for "being athletes". "People do not support the bid to host the Games because they think it has little to do with laymen and there are limited numbers of elite athletes in Hong Kong," he supposes.

Physical Education is "an education of the physical" and "an education through education". "It is an armchair strategy to teach teamwork in classroom lessons. But kids learn to be cooperative through ballgames," he says.

It is well-recognised that sport mirrors society. Sporting success brings social and financial advantages that are a strong and irresistible attraction to some.

"The more advanced sports system a country has, the more happy its people would be. And these countries are not the biggest medal-winners," Louie adds.

Apart from financial and education issues, hosting mega sports event has become a new element in which Asian countries constantly compete for status. Hong Kong's longtime competitor Singapore has just successfully hosted the Youth Olympics and is aggressively generating more and more events like that.

In view of the tremendous pressure put on children academically, a successful elite sports system that closely connects with the community opens parents to the idea of their kids becoming full-time athletes.

The government, in the last three years, has offered athletes additional money for their education while in training. More funding is also provided to retired athletes to continue education or to help them change careers.

"In 13 years, some of them (Hong Kong's junior athletes) will be senior athletes and they will be very excited to have the opportunity to compete in front of their home supporters," Leahy says.

Simon Leung, captain of the men's rugby team at the Guangzhou Asian Games, believes that having the Games in Hong Kong would allow the city to present a bigger delegation of athletes than at other events. He is confident that hosting the Games would show the world that Hong Kong has excellent athletes, not just scholars.

Competing in a familiar environment will definitely boost athletes' performances, Leahy stresses. "Previously, before the 2009 East Asian Games, the most medals we ever won was 13. When we did it in Hong Kong, we won 110." Ninety-five percent of athletes think that the good results can be attributed to home advantage.

Leung hopes the government will invest more to allow athletes maintain and upgrade their standards. "If the government wants the athletes to compete, not just in the region but in the world, more money will have to be spent as Hong Kong at present isn't a sport powerhouse," Leung suggests.

"For local athletes, it (hosting the Games) will be an amazing opportunity to showcase our talent in the hometown," Leung says.

"The government says they want to improve community level sports, to improve elite level sports as well as to promote Hong Kong as a venue for major events, hosting Asian Games fits all those aspects of sports development policy," Leahy says.

"We can't tie everything down to how many dollars it costs because we can't count certain benefits in dollars. It is about people's quality of life, happiness and a sense to the community. It is priceless."
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 06:03 AM   #32
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Lee puts wind in Games bid
The Standard
Monday, November 22, 2010

Olympic windsurfing gold medalist Lee Lai-shan has thrown her support behind Hong Kong's bid for the 2023 Asian Games, saying it would encourage the young to become involved in sports.

She is among more than 300 former and current athletes from the Hong Kong Elite Athletes Association who have voiced their support for the SAR to bid for the sporting event.

"The young will learn the spirit of independence and teamwork, how to handle difficulties, and how to control emotions when they actively participate in sports," Lee said. "They will be no longer labeled as princes or princesses."

Popularly known as San San, Lee, 40, won the city's first gold in windsurfing at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.

"I was an athlete and I'm now a mother of two. I hope my children can have better health, and build up good personalities through training in sports," she said.

A survey by the association showed 75 percent of athletes believe hosting the 2023 Games can raise the sporting standards.

Of the respondents, about 77 percent of secondary school students feel hosting the Games can promote the development of sports in the SAR.

The survey canvassed 284 people last month, of whom 15 percent were athletes and the rest students.

Association chairwoman Malina Ngai Man-lin said the Games will provide a great opportunity for young athletes to experience top-class competition in a major event.

It will also benefit public health through the promotion of sports and an active lifestyle, she said.

Another survey by the Hong Kong Youth Association found about 60 percent of 508 respondents said they support the SAR's bid for the Games.

The poll was conducted in the first week of the Guangzhou Asian Games. The results were 12 percent higher than a poll conducted in mid-October.

Association chairman Jacky Ng Wai- tat said the increased support is largely due to the SAR team's achievements in Guangzhou, and the government's reduction of the 2023 Games budget from HK$14 billion to HK$6 billion.
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Old November 26th, 2010, 04:53 PM   #33
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Study supports bid for Asiad
25 November 2010
China Daily - Hong Kong Edition

The advantages of hosting major multi-sport events in Hong Kong are too significant and wide-ranging to judge solely on the basis of whether the events will "break even", an athletic expert contends.

Releasing her findings of overseas athletes' perceptions and their resultant economic benefits during last year's East Asian Games (EAG), Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) professor of physical education Cheung Siu-yin said the public should be mindful that major sports events have far reaching effects on a city's economy.

Cheung said the real benefits of hosting major events were in ripple effects. She cited findings showing 77 percent of some 170 overseas East Asian Games athletes took home a positive image of Hong Kong. About 71 percent said the city was a good value-for-money destination. Almost as many of the athletes, 70 percent, said they would recommend visiting Hong Kong to their families and friends.

"There are wide ranging benefits, such as temporary and full time job creation, tourist spending and the marketing of native brands," she said.

The HK$240-million East Asian Games were criticized as a white elephant that suffered poor attendance and half-full venues during some of the less-popular events.

Even if the forecast 10,000 vistors had shown up for the East Asian Games and spent the average of HK$5,770 for overnight visitors, their combined HK$57 million did not come close to covering the expenses. Neither are broadcast rights, merchandising and local ticket sales likely to make up the shortfall.

As the government prepares the city for a January bid for the 2023 Asian Games, similar concerns have surfaced over the costs, initially estimated at HK$14 billion but downgraded to HK$6 billion after a flurry of criticism from lawmakers.

Echoing sentiments expressed by Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing that the games would bring about long-term benefits to society such as an expansion of nine new sports venues for the general public, she also noted that staging the games would raise the city's international profile.

Cheung said it would also foster the development of elite local athletes and improve the overall physical condition of the public.

The galvanizing effect of the Hong Kong soccer team's gold medal win over a heavily favored Japanese team at the EAG was felt throughout the city. But the head of the HKBU physical education department professor Chung Pak-kwong said a better way to improve public health would be setting standard work hours, introducing incentives for people to exercise, while improving school facilities and boosting the hours of physical education in curriculums from just over an hour a week to one hour everyday.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 08:48 AM   #34
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Champs face uphill race on bid
The Standard
Monday, November 29, 2010

Three political parties said their stance opposing a Hong Kong bid for the 2023 Asian Games will not be swayed - even if top athletes express their support at today's Legislative Council hearing.

Ten elite athletes, including champion cyclists Wong Kam-po and Jamie Wong Wan-yiu and squash player Chiu Wing-ying, are expected to attend the special meeting of the home affairs panel in support of an SAR bid to host the Games.

"There is still no public consensus at the moment. The government needs to prepare a clearer budget to convince the people why we should host this mega sporting event," said Tam Yiu- chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

The League of Social Democrats and the Democratic Party also refused to budge from their opposition.

Rather than spending HK$6 billion on the event, the latter suggests allocating funds directly to sports training by setting up an "elite athletes fund," in which an expected 5 percent annual return of HK$300 million could be used to cover their costs.

But Hong Kong Elite Athletes Association vice chairwoman Amy Chan Nim-chee said athletes are expected to lobby hard for the bid.

"A successful international sporting event is about far more than short-term glamour. The HK$6 billion expenditure should be viewed in a 13-year context, as its benefits on sports development extend far beyond the duration of several weeks of the Games," said Chan, a retired badminton player.

This year, Hong Kong athletes achieved their best results at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, capturing a total of 40 medals, comprising eight golds, 15 silvers and 17 bronzes.

On the eve of today's panel meeting, a survey conducted by Hong Kong Baptist University's department of physical education showed three quarters of primary and secondary school students support a bid.

Of the about 5,000 students polled this month, older respondents tended to oppose the initiative, while younger students were far more supportive.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 08:12 AM   #35
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HK to bid for 2023 Asian Games, but ... hurdles ahead
The Standard
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hong Kong will go ahead with its controversial bid to host the Asian Games in 2023 even though key political parties insist they will vote in the Legislative Council against funding it.

The bid is also likely to meet strong competition from other cities before next years February 15 deadline.

Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing said yesterday the government will press ahead with the venture.

It will provide an opportunity for local athletes to compete at home and lead to a better lifestyle and benefit our next generation, Tsang said.

Hong Kong suffered an embarrassing defeat to Doha in 2000 for the 2006 Games despite a vigorously promoted campaign with its Hong Kong For Sure slogan.

Politically, the 2023 bid remains an uphill battle as the government needs to get HK$6 billion funding from Legcos Finance Committee.

There are more people, especially after the Guangzhou Asian Games, who are supporting it, Tsang said, adding he is confident of getting the money. I believe lawmakers will respect the public consensus.

When the vote comes, the government needs to win the supporting votes of more than half of the legislators present at the meeting.

So far, it has received the support of only the Federation of Trade Unions, which has several votes in the 60-seat chamber.

Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong chairman Tam Yiu-chung said yesterday his party remains opposed to the bid as Hong Kong is not ready.

Tam said the priority is for Hong Kong to put more resources into building sports facilities and training professional athletes.

The Democratic Partys Kam Nai- wai said those opposing the bid are still in the majority. He accused the government of distorting public opinion.

At least 30 legislators are opposed to the bid eight each from the DAB and the Democratic Party, five from the Civic Party, three from the League of Social Democrats and six other pan- democrats.

The DAB will play a pivotal role if the bid is to be approved.

The Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China the sporting organization which will put forward the formal bid welcomed the governments position.

But committee president Timothy Fok Tsun-ting agreed that, even if Hong Kong gets its funding, it will face keen competition from other cities.

The decision has also won support from athletes, including Olympic champion Lee Lai-shan, former cycling champion Hung Chung-yam and Guangzhou Asian Games gold medalist Wong Kam-po.

During a public consultation, which ended earlier this month, the government drastically scaled down the cost of the two-week games from about HK$14 billion to HK$6 billion.

It also pledged to spend a further HK$30 billion to improve sports facilities and implement long-term sports development in Hong Kong.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 03:23 PM   #36
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LCQ3: Soliciting public support for bidding to host the 2023 Asian Game
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Cheng Kar-foo and a reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, in the Legislative Council today (December 15):

Question :

The Hong Kong SAR Government earlier set up a booth in the waiting area of Hall 3 of AsiaWorld-Expo, where the Animated Version of the Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival was exhibited. A conspicuous heading of "Support Hong Kong Athletes with Your Smiles" appeared on the backdrop of the booth, and members of the public might express support for Hong Kong athletes by taking photographs of their own smiling faces, and the photographs were printed for them free of charge. Yet, a line that read: "Support Hong Kong's Bid to Host the 2023 Asian Games" was added to the printout. I have received complaints from some members of the public that they were totally unaware of the line "Support Hong Kong's Bid to Host the 2023 Asian Games" before taking the photographs. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the total number of photographs collected during the aforesaid activity, and whether these photographs will be used as proof of public support for bidding to host the Asian Games;

(b) whether it has reviewed if the addition of the line "Support Hong Kong's Bid to Host the 2023 Asian Games" to the aforesaid photographs had misled the public into thinking that supporting Hong Kong athletes was the same as supporting the bid to host the Asian Games; and

(c) focusing on the aforesaid complaints from the public, how the Government ensures that genuine consultation which is fair, just, transparent and impartial will be conducted when obtaining public views in the future?

Reply:

President,

The HKSAR Government has been working hard to promote sports through various modes. Taking the opportunity of the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, we launched an electronic platform "Show Your Smile" (including website and mobile phone applications) on November 10 for the public to take photos of their smiling faces. "Show Your Smile" was also part of the roving exhibitions at the Airport AsiaWorld-Expo, Times Square in Causeway, Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui and the International Finance Centre in Central, providing free photography for the public.

The above activities aimed to enhance the sporting atmosphere by encouraging public support for Hong Kong athletes in a relaxed manner during the Guangzhou Asian Games. To encourage public participation, a great variety of designs and statements were available so that people could choose among them as their favourite backdrops. We also instructed staff at the "Show Your Smile" booth to explain to those who took part in the photography that they could choose from a variety of frames with different designs and statements. Aiming to promote a sporting culture in a relaxed manner, the above activities were not related to the consultation exercise on the bid to host the 2023 Asian Games. Even if members of the public chose a backdrop with statements related to the bid, such figures would not form part of the statistics for the consultation on the bid.

My reply to the three parts of the Hon Andrew Cheng Kar-foo's question is as follows:

(a) As at December 9, about 3,600 smiling photographs had been taken in the above activities. As explained earlier, the activities were unrelated to the consultation exercise on the bid to host the 2023 Asian Games. These photographs would definitely not form part of the statistics for the consultation on the bid. As a matter of fact, they were not included in the paper on the outcome of the public consultation on the bid for hosting the 2023 Asian Games released last week.

(b) Since "Show Your Smile" Campaign was not related to the consultation exercise on the bid for hosting the Asian Games, there was no such case as to whether people were misled to show support to the bid.

(c) In conducting its consultation and in gauging public opinion, the Home Affairs Bureau will continue to maintain a pragmatic attitude, uphold the principles of objectivity and fairness, and adhere to transparency and impartiality.

Thank you.
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Old December 16th, 2010, 04:27 AM   #37
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Inflation may hit Asiad budget
The Standard
Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hosting the the 2023 Asian Games may involve budget blowouts due to inflation, but revenue from sponsors and other sources can cover the shortfall, home affairs officials believe.

They are also confident of being able to persuade legislators to approve the HK$6 billion in funding.

"We will draw reference and experience from the East Asian Games in 2009 and we believe we can host a successful Asian Games in 2023," home affairs undersecretary Florence Hui Hiu-fai told a radio program yesterday.

Asian Games Bid Team chief Eddy Chan Yuk-tak told RTHK that inflation may hike the cost of hosting the 2023 Games by as much as HK$2 billion over the HK$6 billion the government is seeking from the Legislative Council.

"Most of the money will be used for manpower and other preparations during the final two to three years," he said.

Chan believes more legislators will support the bid as public support for it grows. "There is room to improve the current sports policies. We will keep up communication with various parties and organizations over the next 13 years."

But one listener called in to accuse the government of failing to keep its promise to improve sporting facilities when it lobbied for the Asian Games in 2000, and said he doubts it will do so this time around.

Meanwhile, Asian Games gold medalist Wong Kam-po urged Hongkongers to support the bid. "I hope we can discuss the issue as it concerns further sports development in Hong Kong," the champion cyclist said.

He was speaking on the fringes of a ceremony to reward the 82 local medalists of the Guangzhou Asian Games.

At the same venue, sports czar Timothy Fok Tsun-ting pledged to do his best to win over lawmakers, and said the outstanding performances by local athletes at Guangzhou will help boost public support for the bid.
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Old December 18th, 2010, 07:35 PM   #38
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2023 Asian Games will bring long-term benefits to HK
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Government Press Release

The HKSAR Government has decided to support the submission of a formal bid by the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong and China (SF&OC) to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to host the 2023 Asian Games in Hong Kong.

A spokesman for the Home Affairs Bureau said today (December 14) that having carefully considered the results of the consultation exercise and the arguments for and against hosting the Games, the Government believed that it would be in the overall long-term interest of Hong Kong to proceed with the bid. The decision has been endorsed by the Executive Council.

"We believe the hosting of the Games would give a strong boost to sports development by providing improved facilities for the public, raising athletes' levels of performance and building a strong sports culture for our next generation. It would also enhance social cohesion," the spokesman said.

"Upon completion of the related sports venues, Hong Kong is likely to become an even more popular destination for holding major international sports events, which in turn would bring additional direct and indirect economic benefits."

As borne out by Hong Kong's recent experience in hosting the East Asian Games, the "home turf" advantage has had a significant effect on the performance of our athletes and this view was also echoed by the sports community when its representatives appeared before a recent public hearing conducted by the Legislative Council (LegCo)'s Home Affairs Panel.

"Moreover, as a sophisticated economy and a responsible member of the OCA, Hong Kong should no longer be content to be a participant only and it is our obligation to host the Asian Games as and when we have the necessary conditions and the capability to do so. This will also demonstrate our commitment to Olympism, and Hong Kong is not just concerned our own economic well-being," he added.

He said that it was widely accepted by different governments that hosting international sports events could provide long-term benefits to the host. Cities in different stages of development were keen to bid for international sport events.

On the views gathered in the public consultation, he said at the beginning public views were divided with slightly more people expressing reservations on the bid. However, there was a noticeable swing of public opinion in favour of Hong Kong hosting the Games during the latter part of the consultation period, largely due to the good results scored by Hong Kong athletes in the Asian Games in Guangzhou and the impassioned pleas from our athletes.

"We have also a good track record in hosting international events such as the Sixth World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference held in 2005, Olympic Equestrian Event in 2008 and the East Asian Games in 2009. We should be capable of hosting the Asian Games in 2023 given that we will have more than 12 years to prepare for the Games," he added.

The HKSAR Government would proceed to seek the approval-in-principle by the LegCo Finance Committee of the financial implications of the bid.
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Old December 24th, 2010, 08:47 AM   #39
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Endgame call as athletes back 2023 bid
The Standard
Friday, December 24, 2010

Asian Games windsurfing gold medalist Chan King-yin said he hopes the government will strengthen measures to ease worries of athletes about life after sport.

Chan's remarks came as he and five other athletes yesterday voiced support for the SAR to lodge a bid for the 2023 Asian Games.

"It's difficult for someone like me to get a job after spending most of my time training," the 28-year-old said. "Most companies do respect athletes for their achievements, but also recognize the fact we have little or no work experience.

"Most firms regard such experience as a crucial consideration in recruiting staff. They don't take into consideration the years of training and experience on the road that athletes have accumulated."

Chan said a 2023 Asian Games bid can serve as a starting point toward enhancing Hong Kong's sport facilities, while squash player Chiu Wing- yin said it will help promote a sporting culture.

Champion cyclist Wong Kam-po voiced his support last month, saying the Asian Games brings benefits that far outweigh the costs.

Hong Kong Sports Institute chairman Eric Li Ka-cheung said those who object to the bid should consider the issue from a wider and more long- term perspective.

"We really need to set a clear target, a blueprint and a schedule. Something like the Asian Games can help the entire community and the government focus on a particular time frame," Li said.

"There is nothing our elites can be more proud of than to be able to perform on home turf."

The deadline to submit a formal bid to the Olympic Council of Asia is February 15.

Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing announced last Tuesday the government will support the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee's bid for the 2023 Asian Games.

Tsang said the government will work to convince the Legislative Council's Finance Committee to inject HK$6 billion for the direct cost of hosting the games.

The Federation of Trade Unions said it will support the bid, while the Liberal Party has not confirmed its stance.

The Democratic Party, Civic Party, and Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong are all opposed.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 02:33 PM   #40
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DAB at odds with HK, Beijing on Games bid
22 December 2010
South China Morning Post

Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, facing blanket rejection of the government's proposed bid for the 2023 Asian Games from the main political parties, including his presumed allies, has won an assurance of support from the central government.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi pledged the ministry's full backing if Hong Kong made a formal bid, a spokesman for the chief executive's office said after Tsang met Yang in a closed-door meeting on the second day of his duty visit to the capital.

That left the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the main pro-government and pro-Beijing party, apparently at odds with both the Hong Kong and central governments.

The DAB yesterday remained opposed to the plan, meaning the government had yet to secure enough votes for the bid to take place.

"What the Beijing government said merely meant it would support Hong Kong hosting the Games when we really decided to go ahead," chairman Tam Yiu-chung said. "But so far, only the administration wants to host the Games."

Tsang visited Yang to discuss Hong Kong's external affairs and during the meeting briefed the minister on the progress of the plan to bid for the Games, his office said. Among major political groups in the Legislative Council, only Economic Synergy and the Federation of Trade Unions, each with four seats, have indicated support for the plan.

This is far from the majority support the government needs from the Legco Finance Committee, which has 58 voting members, for the approval of the HK$6 billion budgeted for hosting the Games.

Tam has said on a number of occasions his party would vote for or against the bid funding based on public opinion.

"We have been consulting the public and until now, I do not see that we will change our stand," he said yesterday.

A government official with knowledge of yesterday's meeting said it did not focus on the Asian Games. The two sides only had a brief talk on the matter and did not go into details as to what the ministry could do to support Hong Kong's bid.

The Games bid also arose in an earlier meeting between Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen and Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office director Wang Guangya in Beijing during which Wang expressed concern about the progress of the proposal.

Political academic Professor Ma Ngok, of Chinese University, said he did not see Yang's remarks as pressure for the DAB to endorse the government proposal. "If Beijing really wants the DAB to support something, it will tell the party through its own channels. It does not have to speak through newspaper reports," he said.

At the meeting, Yang praised Tsang and the Hong Kong government for the city's achievements in external exchanges in the past year, particularly on boosting trade with other countries. He also congratulated local athletes for obtaining outstanding results in the Asian Games.

Tsang thanked the ministry for its aid in the Manila hostage crisis and for advancing the city's international arbitration services overseas.
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