Asian Games can help citizens get involved in sport as a lifelong hobby

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 January, 2011, 12:00am

Since the government pledged its full support for a proposal to bid to host the Asian Games in 2023, many people have expressed their opinions during the debate, with views given in favour and against the plan.

The administration agreed to amend its original proposal. Its revisions are comprehensive and I would like to add some positive comments in support of those who want the event to be held in the city. However, I would like to look at it from a somewhat different angle.

I can see a case for hosting the Games in conjunction with having a sports curriculum as a mandatory pass/fail subject for all secondary and university students.

As anyone who is familiar with the education system knows, sports classes are undertaken in a rather amateur fashion. Of course there are exceptions in certain institutions where students set their sights on achieving glory in inter-school sports competitions.

Most students emerge from our education system without acquiring a lifelong interest in a particular sport. Those who do get involved in a sport can enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

The facilities which will be built for the Asian Games need not become white elephants after the event ends if more citizens of all ages are actively involved in different sports.

With more Hongkongers exercising, job opportunities would arise in training and support services in the sports and hobby fields.

Statistics show us that a healthier lifestyle can lead to lower medical costs for people as they grow older.

Given that we have an ageing population our public health care system faces a huge financial burden. In this regard the cost of hosting the Asian Games may be a very worthwhile investment and a small price to pay for taxpayers if it encourages people to exercise more and remain involved in sport throughout their lives.

I hope our legislators will consider this additional factor when deciding how to vote on the 2023 bid.

Arthur K. H. Lee, vice-president, Hong Kong Young Industrialists Council