Games' windsurfing fans left out in the cold

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 November, 2009, 12:00am

Fans of windsurfing - the sport that won Lee Lai-shan Hong Kong's only Olympic gold medal - are facing a challenge themselves if they want to see the competitions at the East Asian Games.

The sport, along with 10 others including bowling, cycling and squash, will not be shown live on TV. There will only be highlights. On top of that, windsurfing fans will also find it difficult to catch the action at the venue.

RTHK, TVB and ATV have secured broadcast rights for diving, swimming, table tennis, badminton, athletics, football and rugby sevens. The three pay TV stations get basketball, volleyball, tennis and cue sports.

'It's quite a pity that there will be no live broadcasts for windsurfing ... we miss a chance to promote the sport,' Dennis Chan Wai-keung, Windsurfing Association of Hong Kong director of administration, said yesterday.

While it is not possible for couch potatoes to watch the competition on television, it could be equally hard for enthusiasts to watch at the venue.

There are no tickets available for windsurfing races and no audience boats will be provided by the organiser, Chan explained. Anyone who wants to catch the events will have to make their own arrangements.

If people could afford it, they could rent a yacht or a speedboat for HK$2,000 to HK$4,000 and sail to the venue at Tai Tam Bay, he said. A vessel could transport between 20 and 40 people.

Otherwise, they could walk to a section of Tai Tam Road in Stanley. The residential area of Red Hill Peninsula would be a good spot to have an overview.

'They should take binoculars. Jackets should be taken, too, as it's quite windy up there,' Chan suggested.

Audience boats were available during the 2006 Doha Asian Games.

Meanwhile, the Observatory has set up a weather buoy in the bay for making observations.

The route of a race is only determined after the organisers get details of wind speed and currents from the Observatory's dedicated website for the Games. If wind speed is below six knots or above 30 knots, a race will be called off.

The Observatory will brief the organisers and athletes on weather conditions before each contest starts.

Regional weather updates for seven other outdoor events will also be provided by the Observatory.


Dark days loom for any couch potato sports fans at the East Asian Games

The number of sport that will not be shown live on television: 11