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Wade Ormsby hits from the fairway during the Hong Kong Open on January 11, 2020. Ormsby went on to win the tournament, the city’s oldest professional sports event. Photo: Dickson Lee

LettersWhen telling Hong Kong’s story to the world, play up the huge variety of sports on offer

  • Readers highlight the ready availability of outdoor recreation in Hong Kong, and what the Sevens could mean for the mask mandate
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International consultancy Kearney defines “global cities” as places that “attract, retain and generate global flows of capital, people, and ideas”. Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu wants to tell “good stories” about Hong Kong to attract more “top talent”.

Hong Kong’s financial and trading prowess, its commitment to emerging technologies, its internationally recognised universities, its access to the vast markets of mainland China all contribute to its global reputation.

Importantly, the city offers many opportunities for hardworking professionals to relax at the end of a long day in the office. It has a vibrant cultural and artistic scene, some of the world’s greatest museums, and fine restaurants and clubs.

However, other global cities can match such opportunities. It is through the ready availability of outdoor recreation that Hong Kong can tell a better story than its rivals.

No other global city offers hiking trails with stunning views within 15 minutes of the city centre. Few other global cities offer world-class sailing on their doorstep.

Moreover, an unusual variety of sports are catered for here. This past weekend saw the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament. Cricket, a game almost unknown in continental Europe and the Americas, has a home here. Hong Kong holds an annual squash tournament to which Egypt is sending its internationally starred team.
There are great facilities for swimming, while tennis and badminton are widely played. Horse racing has always been a major local interest, but there are polo matches and show jumping competitions. The Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association has an active membership. I recently learned that Hong Kong now has its own Pickleball Association.

When fellow Egyptians ask me about sports in Hong Kong, however, it is often about golf and the famous Hong Kong Open. Likewise, when Hongkongers ask about Egypt, they often want to know about its 23 splendid golf courses, some near the great monuments of the pharaohs. As a keen golfer myself, I enjoy advising on golfing tours of Egypt.

Golf is played in all the world’s great cities because it is the sport of business and professional people, at all stages of their careers. Unlike in other active sports, golfers can share views and discuss ideas while they play.

Hong Kong has several golf clubs conveniently near the city’s business districts. Unlike many of the world’s golf courses, Hong Kong’s courses remain committed to the sport and not to its commercial exploitation. They are an important feature of Hong Kong’s appeal.

Hong Kong can honestly claim to be a great place for both work and play.

Amr El Henawy, consul general of Egypt in Hong Kong and Macau

Sevens’ aftermath a test of the need for a mask mandate

No meat pies at the Rugby Sevens this year? Well, I’m eating my humble pie right here at home. Yes, I admit it, I made fun of the Sevens restrictions (“Hong Kong must stop ‘lying flat’ on shaking off Covid-19 restrictions”, ( October 31). I predicted it would not be much fun. I was wrong.
It looks like it was a lot of fun, and – bonus for me – the Aussies won! Well done to all concerned. By the by, I noticed that the crowd largely ignored the mask mandate that required people to wear a mask when not eating or drinking. Good.

If the mask zealots are correct, we should expect a blip in infections next week. If not, can we please cancel mask mandates forthwith, at least for outdoors?

Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay