Amenities keep fitness fans on the right track
An oft-heard gripe in Hong Kong is that the city lacks sports facilities. But ask anyone eager for a chance to play and the feedback couldn't be more different.
Simply arm yourself with a street map to find track and field stadiums, basketball courts and football pitches, and anything from swimming pools to bowling greens in almost every district.
Facilities such as athletics tracks abound and are open to the public at weekends or when not booked by teams. But during school hours it's a different story. 'The facilities in Hong Kong are fantastic, but they take block bookings,' says Kellet School secondary sports director Julie Doughty, referring to the stadiums and pools run by the government's Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD).
'Sports are encouraged here, but the LCSD venues are always booked, sometimes a year in advance as so many schools do not have their own facilities for sports day.' By 2013, the booking headaches are likely to ease substantially for Doughty as Kellet opens a new facility in Kowloon Bay.
The International Baccalaureate's promotion of the awareness of health and personal development is being welcomed by sports teachers.
Tim Ross, director of sport at Renaissance College, says that in the five years the Ma On Shan school has been running, its teams have made impressive headway in volleyball, football, swimming, badminton and athletics, with the senior football team having won the English Schools Foundation tournament, while Kellet has hosted the Federation of British Schools in Southeast Asia for primary and under-13s events.