Water sports

Hong Kong Olympic committee plans bid to host 2021 World Beach Games

  • Panel estimates event will draw more than 10,000 visitors to the city, including athletes and tourists
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2018, 7:33am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2018, 10:51pm

Hong Kong’s Olympic committee is planning to bid to host the second World Beach Games in 2021, according to the committee’s senior management.

It estimates that the event will draw more than 10,000 visitors to the city, including athletes and tourists.

“Beach games do not require a lot of space and there are not many categories, which is good”, Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, president of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, told media on Tuesday, adding that the event could show off Hong Kong’s prosperity and beautiful beaches.

Fok said the event was still in its initial stages as the first World Beach Games would be held in San Diego in 2019.

He said he would mention Hong Kong’s interest in the bid at a meeting held by the International Olympic Committee in Tokyo at the end of the month. He also mentioned that the Hong Kong committee had contacted the government for support.

Pui Kwan Kay, vice-president of the committee, said the panel first became interested in the bid two years ago after the city’s two failed attempts to host the Asia Games.

“This event fits Hong Kong’s conditions,” he said. “Hosting big events costs a lot of human resources and money, which is not easy.”

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He said he had learned that the budget for the San Diego event was about HK$300 million to HK$400 million.

“I think Hong Kong should be able to handle this budget with government resources, urban funding and sponsors from business circles,” he said.

Regarding where to hold the event, Pui said while Repulse Bay was a possibility, it was not the only site. He gave Stanley, Southern district, Lantau Island and Big Wave Bay as other possible locations.

Speaking on a radio programme on Wednesday, Pui said: “I believe it will not be too difficult to gather HK$300 million through advertising sponsorship and the support of commercial organisations.”

He added that he believed the government would support the initiative.

Veteran volleyball coach Cheng King-leung said on the same programme: “The characteristics of a global city are not just its economy, and innovation and technology, but also culture and sports.”

He said the beach games would include not only sports like beach volleyball and beach football but also water sports such as windsurfing and sailing.

Handball Association of Hong Kong coach Hui Man-pong said there were currently only two training facilities for beach handball, and that athletes sometimes had to share the facilities with beach volleyball players.

He believed that having Hong Kong host the games would draw more people to beach handball, which would in turn help athletes get more training facilities. This, he said, would be beneficial for the development of the sport.

The Association of National Olympic Committees approved San Diego as the host city of the first World Beach Games, which was scheduled to take place in 2017 but postponed to 2019. The seven-day event will be held in October next year, with 17 disciplines including six beach sports and six water sports.