Bring Asian Games to Hong Kong in 2023, says top official
Hong Kong should bid for the 2023 Asian Games, a senior sports official said after the Olympic Council of Asia decided the host city for the 2019 Games yesterday.
The vice president of the Hong Kong Olympic Committee, Vivien Lau Chiang-chu, said: "We will have all sports infrastructure, including the Kai Tak sports hub, ready by 2023 and, timing-wise, it will just be perfect."
Lau, who represented Hong Kong at yesterday's 31st general assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia, said: "If we stage the 2023 Asian Games, we still have more than 10 years for preparations and there is ample time for nurturing athletes."
Apart from the multi-million-dollar project at Kai Tak, the HK$600 million velodrome in Tseung Kwan O will also be ready next year as well as the Victoria Park Swimming Pool complex redevelopment project, which cost HK$930 million and should be ready by 2014.
Hong Kong pulled out of a bid in 2011 when the Legco rejected the budget.
"The situation is different from before and we are now in a much better position for staging the Games," Lau said. "As representative of the sports community, we sincerely hope the government will reconsider the bid for the 2023 Games."
A senior mainland sports official also backed Hong Kong to bid for 2023.
Wei Jizhong, honorary life vice-president of the Olympic Council of Asia, who visited Hanoi last month to inspect Vietnam's preparations for its winning 2019 bid, said Hong Kong should not miss the opportunity. "Hong Kong can meet the requirements of staging the Asian Games," said Wei, who is also the president of the International Volleyball Federation and the former Chinese Olympic Committee secretary general.
"I have been in this business for over 50 years and have had adequate knowledge in evaluating which city can stage a major Games," Wei said.
"By 2023, Hong Kong will be well connected with nearby mainland cities, especially with completion of the Hong Kong Zhuhai Macau Bridge. The inland can provide strong support for Hong Kong in terms of venues and training facilities for hosting a major Games."