Asian Games bid will provide boost for commitment to sport

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 December, 2010, 12:00am

I agree with Alan Lo's comment that we should build more indoor games halls, soccer pitches and other courts throughout the city's 18 districts ('Build more neighbourhood venues and scrap Games bid', December 14). I do not, however, believe that we should therefore abandon our bid for the 2023 Asian Games.

In fact, we need to host the Games. It will provide the impetus needed to establish a commitment to sports.

Building more facilities will no doubt alleviate the shortage problem and benefit those who are already keen to play sports. However, it does not per se lead to greater participation among those of our youngsters who would otherwise be sitting at home in front of a computer.

They would not get involved in sport just because there were more facilities.

They have to be interested in sport itself and this is why there is a need to develop a sports culture.

Although the Hong Kong Stadium at So Kon Po is used sparingly and there could be better utilisation, it is the venue for the world-famous Hong Kong Sevens. This event has been a major force in the rapid development of rugby in Hong Kong.

If properly managed and promoted, I cannot see why the new Kai Tak sports stadium, which gives us the ability to host other large-scale major international sports events on a regular basis, cannot play a similar role for other sports before and after the Games.

Mr Lo also advocated the hiring of more coaches to expand our sports community programmes, but the more fundamental question is what can we do to get people to be coaches and remain in their jobs?

A higher salary will of course be an important factor, but that does not mean we simply increase all our coaches' salaries by, say, 20 per cent and we will be guaranteed long-term results.

We need a more systematic approach. We must first generate more interest in sports so that there can be more willing investment through commercial sponsorship and other financial support.

Over the past few months, there has been a great deal of discussion about whether Hong Kong should bid for and host the 2023 Games. This is a positive step, and if we are to bid and then eventually host the Games, sport will receive the attention it deserves and needs for at least the next 13 years.

Coupled with the recent sterling performances from our athletes in the Guangzhou Asian Games, we now have the right momentum to build a beneficial and sustainable sports culture.

I therefore urge lawmakers to support the bid for the 2023 Games and give sports in Hong Kong an opportunity for healthy development. We must not throw away what we have already achieved.

Alexander Leung, Chung Hom Kok