Should the Wan Chai Sports Ground stay or go? Athletics officials to conduct a study

The Amateur Athletic Association will conduct a thorough study on whether they should keep the popular athletics ground or do away with it

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 March, 2017, 8:22pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 March, 2017, 12:17am

The Amateur Athletic Association will conduct a thorough study on the provision of track and field facilities in Hong Kong before deciding whether to keep the Wan Chai Sports Ground or do away with it.

“We will submit the report to the government and if we find out there are sufficient facilities for the development of the sport at elite, club and school levels in Hong Kong, we wouldn’t mind the government replacing the Wan Chai Sports Ground with another facility,” said Simon Yeung Sai-mo, senior vice chairman of the association. “But if we find out there is still a great demand of track and field facilities in Hong Kong and the need of our sport is far from being taken care of, we will object to the government’s proposal to demolish the facility.”

In January, chief executive Leung Chun-ying proposed in his last Policy Address that the Wan Chai Sports Ground be used for comprehensive redevelopment in 2019 at the earliest.

The track and field community was up and arms over the proposal because the Wan Chai ground, opened 38 years ago, remains the most popular training and competition venue in Hong Kong. If the facility is demolished, it would present a big blow to the development of the sport.

Sprinter Tsui Chi-ho, who set the Hong Kong men’s 100 metres record of 10.28 seconds at the Wan Chai ground six years ago, still preferred the facility.

“We need to produce results in domestic competitions before catching the selectors’ eyes to represent Hong Kong overseas,” said Tsui, who won the 100 metres at the 2017 Hong Kong Series II in Wan Chai on Saturday. “This venue is still favoured by many Hong Kong sportsmen as we can get the wind assistance out there to achieve better performances, while we always need to race against the wind at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground owing to the environment and this has been very frustrating.”

Racing in his first race in almost 10 months after recovering from a hamstring problem, Tsui clocked 10.67 seconds under a 1.0 metre/second favourable wind.

“Since this is the first race of the season, I am confident of improving my time as the season continues,” said Tsui.

In the women’s high jump, record holder Yeung Wai-man, talked herself out of attempting to break the Hong Kong record at 1.84 metres, one centimetre better than her mark set in Taiwan last year. Instead, Yeung attempted 1.82 metres, failing on all three attempts. She won the competition at 1.80 metres.

“My coach told me to try to get more competition opportunities as I am using a new set of steps and there is no rush trying to break the record,” said Yeung. “I will take part in many competitions this year and have set sights on a new height 1.86 metres which I am quite confident of clearing.”