Tseung Kwan O Water Sports Centre

Chief Executive, Leung Chun-ying, in his final policy address in January, referred to the
Government’s allocation of resources to promote sport in the community. This included backing for elite sports and maintaining Hong Kong as a centre for major international events.

He went on to say that he had decided to significantly increase the provision of facilities to a total of 54 and a summary was provided of projects to be launched in the next five years.

This all sounds good, but a review of existing and proposed facilities, and the manner in which these are provided and managed, are negatively affecting sport in the community! Likewise, elite sport is not getting what it deserves and Hong Kong’s ability to host major international events is, at best, questionable.

These deficiencies are mainly in the areas of facility provision and management and result from the lack of an integrated plan for sports development.

The result is that community sport is underdeveloped, which in turn results in the Hong Kong Sports Institute being deprived of a supply of talented athletes. As for holding major international events, of the tier ‘A’ elite sports at the Institute, Hong Kong has no facilities for holding world championships in track and field athletics, badminton, gymnastics, rowing, swimming, table tennis and tennis.

A number of other sports could hold world championships from temporary facilities, but these would do nothing for community sports development.

For the government to support elite sports at the Institute, but fails to provide the facilities and support needed to develop these sports at the community level, and fails to provide facilities for holding major international events, reveals the lack of an integrated development plan. It is disingenuous for our chief executive to claim that Hong Kong is a centre for major international events when the high profile sports mentioned above lack facilities for such events.

Among the potential new facilities mentioned in the policy address is a water sports centre at Tseung Kwan O. Several years ago, the Hong Kong Water Sports Council had identified this site as suitable for sailing, canoeing, rowing and dragon boating and applied to be granted the site. The council is now conducting a feasibility study, together with seven water sports NSAs, and will make a proposal to government on its design together with an activities programme to optimise the future utilisation of the centre. The council will also propose that the centre be managed by the council . . . rather than come under government management.

Under the council, the site would be used to develop community sport, in addition to being a potential elite training base for windsurfing, or dinghy sailing. The council believes that if it is allowed to manage the centre and organise activities through its member associations, it can maximise utilisation at all levels of the sports involved, from basic to serious competitive activity.

It is critical to the success of the centre that it be involved in the mainstream of sports activity, without undue restrictions on operating hours and with a clear and active ambition to develop competitive sport. Only then can such a centre work in close support of the government’s claimed objectives of developing community and elite sport.

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