Asian Games

Young people are in the dark over East Asian Games

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 March, 2009, 12:00am

Sports officials have been urged to do more to stoke up enthusiasm ahead of the East Asian Games, after a survey shows most young people know nothing about the Games - the first major international, multisport event to be hosted by Hong Kong.

Some 63 per cent of respondents could not say when the Games will start, according to the Hong Kong Youth Association poll. And nearly three-quarters, or 73 per cent, of respondents did not know this year's event would be the fifth Games.

The survey, conducted between March 3 and March 23, asked 530 people, aged between 18 and 45, questions about the East Asian Games, which will be held in the city between December 5 and 13.

'They are less than nine months away, but many of the young people surveyed still do not know about this event. The government and its organising units are to blame for this,' the association said.

Only 27 per cent of respondents knew that the Games would open and close in the newly built Tseung Kwan O Stadium.

About 65 per cent did not know the names of the two Hong Kong mascots for the Games. Dony and Ami are a pair of white, flame-haired cartoon lion figures. 'Don' and 'A' in Cantonese are pronounced the same as the characters for 'East Asia'.

Seventy-five per cent of respondents said there had not been enough publicity about the event. But some 63 per cent remained 'confident' or 'very confident' that the Games would be a success.

The association is urging the government to do more to raise awareness of the event and generate public interest and excitement.

It also wants the government to recruit more young people to be volunteers during the Games.

'This will not only help with the organisation of the Games, but will also nurture young people's sense of belonging,' the association said.

The Youth Association survey echoes a poll by the Civic Party in January, which found some 35 per cent of people did not know Hong Kong would host the fifth East Asian Games.

The city has won a total of 36 medals since the first Games in 1993, including seven golds. The 2009 Games will see athletes compete in 1,700 events.

The East Asian Games is a multi-sport event held every four years and brings together athletes from nine East Asian countries and regions: the mainland, Guam, Hong Kong, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Macau, Mongolia and Taiwan.