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Donald Tsang

Guangzhou success changing minds on HK host bid

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 November, 2010, 12:00am

The bravery and outstanding performances of Hong Kong's athletes, as well as Guangzhou's success in hosting the Asian Games, had prompted a positive change among Hongkongers for the city to host the 2023 Asian Games, the home affairs chief said.

Tsang Tak-sing said the government had found an increasing number of people now wanted to see Hong Kong host the event, following the opening of the Asian Games in Guangzhou last week.

The 10-week public consultation for a Hong Kong bid to host the Games ends on December 1.

Hong Kong's athletes had performed exceptionally well and had attracted public support for a possible Hong Kong bid, Tsang said.

But it wasn't just the medals that swayed the public. The bravery shown by cyclist Wong Wan-yiu, who climbed back on her bike after sustaining a broken rib in a horrific pile-up and carried on to win a silver medal, had won the hearts of millions, he said.

Public sentiment for a Games bid was unanimously negative in September when the government officially mentioned the idea of hosting the 2023 event, with many saying it would bring a huge financial loss.

On November 9 the government announced it had slashed its proposed budget for the bid to host the Games from the original estimate of HK$13.7 billion to HK$14.5 billion, to less than HK$6 billion.

Tsang said yesterday that the government had received increasing support from people, indicating that they would like to see the Games held in Hong Kong, due to the changes seen in Guangzhou as a result of the city playing host.

'People now see positive factors, rather than just the money that needs to be spent,' he said. 'They see the city getting a facelift, infrastructure being upgraded and even an improvement in public manners.'

Tsang said Hong Kong had the ability to host the event with its present facilities and the expansion of road and rail networks with the mainland before 2023.

'Although Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan city, we still need to keep working hard. We cannot stand still. We have to host events to stimulate commercial activities and attract tourists,' he said.