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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Hong Kong eyes turning park section into sports facility to grow sector: Paul Chan

Hong Kong eyes turning park section into sports facility to grow sector: Paul Chan

City’s finance chief says having ‘complete hardware is indispensable’ when promoting development of sports in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong will develop its sports sector by making improvements to existing facilities, including turning a section of a park in Kowloon into a centre for indoor and outdoor pursuits, the city’s finance chief has revealed.

Authorities were looking to redevelop a basketball court at Jordan’s George V Memorial Park into a new sports facility, with a feasibility study to be finished within the year and the public to be consulted, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po on Sunday said in his weekly blog.

“When promoting the development of sports, having the complete hardware is indispensable,” he said.

During last month’s unveiling of the annual budget, the minister said the government would consider converting some underutilised floors at Jordan’s Kwun Chung Municipal Services Building into a venue for activities such as sports climbing and skateboarding.

Chan on Sunday also said 3x3 basketball, five-a-side football, freestyle BMX, skateboarding and sports climbing had been officially included as competitive categories for the Olympic and Youth Olympic Games.

“Emerging sports create a new dimension of physical exercise, self-challenge and individuality. They also allow residents to have a closer connection with their neighbours and communities and repair the ‘alienation’ between people with busy lives,” he said.

“We also plan to optimise the existing venue facilities and provide bouldering walls and skateboarding facilities to promote related urban sports projects.”

The city’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department manages 14 indoor and outdoor sports climbing facilities, eight skateboarding zones, five skateparks for activities such as freestyle BMX and scootering, as well as more than 120 five-a-side football pitches.

Chan added that the city was set to host a number of sports events following its widespread rollback of Covid-19 curbs in recent months, including the Rugby Sevens tournament later this month and the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races in June.

“The Hong Kong Tourism Board has earmarked more than HK$250 million [US$31.8 million] this year to continue organising and assisting in the promotion of a number of large-scale tourism events including sports competitions,” he said.

“It is certain that more joyful and vibrant events will return to Hong Kong again this year.”

The finance chief also revealed he tried skateboarding last week at Kwun Tong Promenade under the tutelage of professional athlete Luk Chun-yin, who represented the city at the 2010 and 2013 Asian Games.

Three fellow skaters also taught Chan, who turned 68 on Saturday, how to change direction while keeping both feet on the board.

Asked by Chan how they felt about his performance, one of the young skaters said: “I think at your age, you were able to learn it in maybe 30 minutes. I think you are super invincible.”

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