Skateboarding, BMX and inline skating are among the activities being used to show the link between culture and sport at Hong Kong Polytechnic University's (PolyU) annual Arts Festival this month.
'Culture in Sport, Sport in Culture' is the theme of the third, month-long festival, organised by PolyU's Culture Promotion Committee.
During the past two years, the event focused on different aspects of Chinese culture (2004) and creativity (2005), but this time the organisers want to highlight how sport has become an integral part of every-day life.
A three-day carnival on campus last week gave students a chance to try out 15 different sports, with experts from many disciplines offering tips and demonstrations.
'Sport and culture are closely related, and we have aimed to show this in our carnival by choosing new sports like skateboarding, as well as the traditional ones,' said PolyU vice-president, Leung Tin-pui.
More than 300 students gathered at the main square to watch a demonstration of extreme sports during the festival's opening ceremony last Wednesday.
'I chose the sports theme this year because I wanted to focus on the interests of young people,' said Professor Leung.
'You saw how many people stopped to watch the demonstration today. Extreme sports are very popular. This was the biggest crowd we ever had for one of our festival events.'
C. K. Ling, project director of X-skate which performed the demonstrations, said the festival gave people the chance to see that extreme sports are not only about street culture, but also about being the best you can. 'People may think extreme sports are not real sports, but a show like this gives us the chance to show it's more than just a street activity,' said Ling. 'It's very meaningful.'
The festival also includes an exhibition - From Athens to Hong Kong: The Story of Sport - which is being held at PolyU's Jockey Club auditorium until Sunday.
The first part of the display shows how sports have developed over hundreds of years.
The second part focuses on the development of equestrianism in Hong Kong, and the build-up to the hosting of the 2008 Olympic equestrian events.
Karen Mak Kar-yan, who hopes to compete at the 2008 Olympic show-jumping competition, said the exhibition would raise awareness of a unique opportunity.
'We are lucky that we will participate in a historical sporting moment in 2008,' said the Year One property management student at PolyU.
PolyU will host all the activities related to the festival.
Upcoming events include public talks by experts. Tonight, design specialist Alex Fung will speak about the cultural and social elements in sports posters. Tomorrow night, a group of elite athletes will share the stories of their struggle for success.
A competition will challenge students to design a T-shirt representing the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong, and a video and photography contest will invite them to capture dramatic sporting moments.
A film series will include screenings of Ping Pong, a Japanese production about student table-tennis champions (February 17), and the inspiring Australian movie Swimming Upstream (February 24).
For more details of the festival programme, visit www.cpc.polyu.edu.hk