A winning pitch for Tin Shui Wai

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 September, 2011, 12:00am


Rugby officials want to turn Tin Shui Wai from 'the city of sadness' into a field of dreams. The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union wants to teach more young people and children in the northernmost district about a sport whose fan base mostly consists of professionals and expatriates. It is a bold experiment in crossing the barriers of wealth, culture and geography. We wish it every success.

The new rugby pitch will be a first in the New Territories. Building the artificial-turf field, measuring 92.5 metres by 60 metres, will cost HK$10 million. The government has provided the land and HK$3 million in seed money. The union does not expect difficulty in raising the rest.

There are 350 registered players in the area who will guarantee the ground is well used by a core team. But the union hopes more children and young people will be attracted to the game.

The field can also be used for other sports, such as soccer. For a district notorious for its lack of public sport and recreational facilities, the initiative is much welcomed.

As a satellite town, Tin Shui Wai has been plagued by social and economic problems. Besides a lack of public facilities, unemployment is high and youth problems are widespread. Many residents are immigrants, often from the mainland, who face discrimination, social isolation and lack of opportunities. A spate of murders and suicides involving whole families in the past decade turned the district into a byword for domestic violence.

But the town appears to have turned a corner. More public and education facilities are being built. Social services have expanded as the government earmarks more subsidies.

The rugby pitch is tangible evidence there's a new game in town.