Monday, December 6, 2010

Fun and games over 2023 bid

Local Asian Games medalists appeared at a Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday to make a collective plea for Hong Kong to bid for the 2023 event.The remark by gold-winning cyclist Wong Kam-po that he is saddened by the apathy shown by political parties on the matter was widely reported the following day.
Insiders said the pressure generated by Wong's lament was particularly felt by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, which has openly stated its opposition to any bid.
I've learned the DAB has invited "Ah Po" to participate in the party's sports day to discuss the matter face-to-face.
A DAB member of Legco told me it is understandable for athletes to want Hong Kong to host the Asiad, but the views of the general public must also be taken into account.
The DAB will therefore continue to lobby the government to construct more sports facilities meeting international standards, to promote sports in schools, and to nurture more local athletes.
The party is of the view that such endeavors should proceed regardless of whether Hong Kong ends up hosting the 2023 Games.
The member said a friend in the mainland has observed that Guangzhou has enjoyed many advantages in hosting the recent 2010 Asian Games.
Apart from the prestige factor, the city was also exempted from certain usual fiscal contributions to the central government, and was allowed to redeploy the money to build infrastructure.
On top of that, Beijing gave the G
uangdong capital 50 billion yuan (HK$58.3 billion) to help prepare for the Games. So for Guangzhou, hosting this year's Games has been a win-win proposition, but Hong Kong would not have the same advantages as a host city.
It is also inconceivable that we would garner a lot more gold medals than the eight we won this time just because of the "home turf" advantage.
Wong and other athletes believe that hosting the Asian Games will spur public support for sports, but the Legco member pointed out that Hong Kong will not win more gold medals unless more public resources are devoted to promoting sports.
Such diverse views on the issue have yet to be reconciled. Siu Sai-wo is chief editor of Sing Tao Daily

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