BMX venue 'to break even in three years'
The Hong Kong Cycling Association (HKCA) believes it will need at least three years before it can break even in running its new BMX Park.
The Gin Drinker's Bay venue, which staged last weekend's first Asian Championships in Hong Kong and will hold next month's East Asian Games, was built with a grant of HK$20 million from The Hong Kong Jockey Club.
However, the association has to meet the running costs of the venue, with its staff of five, estimated to be more than HK$1 million a year.
'Most of the public venues are run by the government, but this one is an exception as we have to run it on our own. We will have to bear the loss if we fail to secure sufficient income,' Herman Hu Shao-ming, HKCA president's said.
'Suffering a financial loss could affect our development of the sport and, to this end, we have decided to set up a separate committee to run the facility with a separate budget.'
Hu said the association had launched fund-raising activities and was closing in on its target of HK$2 million as an initial operating budget. 'In the long run, we have to rely on income from running classes and other cycling activities at the venue to offset costs, but we know it will be difficult in the early years as BMX is still not a popular event in the community.
'We hope with the staging of the Asian Championships and the EAG, coupled with the outstanding results of riders Steven Wong and Alex Hunter, more people will be attracted to join our classes, helping us to break even after about three years.'
BMX is considered a good foundation for all cycling disciplines as it can train young riders of various skill levels before they take up events on the track or road.
Hu said: 'Our target is to develop more promising cyclists through BMX and that's why we put up a proper venue even if we have to run it at our own expense.'
He said the association also planned to open a mountain-bike course in the Kwai Chung Park where the BMX venue is situated.
'We will speak to the government after the EAG about the plan as there is a strong need to help our mountain bikers,' Hu said.
Chan Chun-hing qualified in mountain biking for last year's Beijing Olympics and won a silver medal at the recent National Games, but the 28-year-old spends most of his training on the mainland as there is a lack of proper venues in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, Wong came third in the HSBC Hong Kong Open yesterday. The men's race was won by former world junior champion Yvan Lapraz, of Switzerland, while world number nine Falla Buchely, of Ecuador, was second.
Hunter, who crashed in the Asian Championships semi-finals on Saturday, finished fourth. Five-time world champion Samantha Cools, of Canada, won the women's race.