2009 games secures $300m track complex
'With such a facility, we can bid for more regional events,' says HKAAA chief
The $300 million sports ground for track and field events planned for Tseung Kwan O has become a reality as Hong Kong prepares to host its first-ever major games. It will be one of the two new facilities specially built for the 2009 East Asian Games, with a windsurfing centre due to open in Stanley this year.
The athletics complex has been approved by the Legislative Council and tender details are in the final stages of preparation.
The complex, expected to be open in December 2008, will comprise a main sports ground with track and field facilities conforming to International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) standards and a separate warm-up facility.
The main sports ground will have a seating capacity of 3,500, with space for the provision of a temporary removable spectator stand for another 1,500 seats.
The main stadium will include an eight-lane, 400m all-weather, synthetic running track, a javelin-throw circle, high-jump take-off runways and pits, long-jump and triple-jump runways and pits, pole-vault runway and landing area, steeplechase pit, a hammer and discus cage, and a shotput throwing area.
The secondary ground attached to the main sports ground - a first for Hong Kong - will have warm-up track and field facilities. These facilities include a 300m loop of running track together with a 120m straight track and amenities for field events up to IAAF standards.
Chairman of Hong Kong Athletic Amateur Association (HKAAA) William Ko was delighted with the government's decision to give the project the green light. 'With such a facility, we can bid for more regional events to provide more international exposure for our athletes,' said Ko yesterday. 'The secondary sports ground is important because it is required for us to host major regional championships. We now have a chance to host Asian Junior Championships and even the Asian Championships, each of which attracts participants from more than 40 countries. It will definitely be a significant step forward for the promotion of athletics in Hong Kong.'
Although the secondary ground comprises only a 300m running track, Ko was not disappointed. 'We understand there were some practical problems as the site is not big enough to accommodate two full 400m tracks. But just having a secondary ground is already big progress.'
Apart from serving as a venue for large-scale international competitions, the new sports ground, Ko said, would also enable the HKAAA to organise sports clinics on athletics on a regular basis with a view to raising the sports standard of athletics in Hong Kong. It will become the regular training base for track and field events in Hong Kong.
The government has already obtained the approval from the Legislative Council for the financial support for the facility.
It is understood the project was originally planned as a district sports ground for the use of the local community and schools with a cost of $230 million. The project scope was subsequently upgraded to meet the standards required for holding major international athletic events, including the track and field events of the 2009 East Asian Games and Legco had no objection to providing additional funding of $70 million.
Construction is due to start in December. The selected contractor will be responsible for both design and construction.
'We anticipate that by tapping the private sector's expertise and ideas, this mode of development will help inject more innovation and diversity into the work project,' explained a government official.