Government Application of Funding to Bid for the 2023 Asian Games

Speech of the Hon KP Chan on Application of Funding to Bid for the 2023 Asian Games at the Legislative Council Finance Committee on 14 January 2011 (Synopsis)

  • The Government’s proposal to bid for the 2023 Asian Games provides the community an opportunity to review the prevailing sports development policy.
  • No matter how you read various opinion polls, many of those around me are against the proposal. In recent years, actual expenses of many infrastructural projects have increased many folds over their original estimates. Therefore, when the original budget of submitting a bid for the Asian Games is significantly varied, the public as well Legislative Councilors are confused. We are skeptical that the bid would turn out to be another political show of over-commitments.
  • The Government is lacking long term and comprehensive strategies in sports development, from policy in popularity of sports to financing of professionalism in sports. In particular, supports for career athletes are grossly inadequate. In consequence, the public is losing faith in the Government’s policy in sports.
  • If the Government intends to raise our sporting standard through hosting the Asian Games, it is putting the cart before the horse. It is hard to convince the public to support spending a large sum out of the public purse to submit a bid before having a policy in basic sports development. On the contrary, if sports were popular, we would have many more elite athletes and the public would be the one to call for bidding for the Asian Games instead.
  • In my view, the Government should provide more financial support to our athletes so that they might become career sportsmen. The implementation of policy in sports should be bottom up, from primary schools to secondary schools and eventually to popularity.
  • In fact, governments all over the world are encouraging sports participation of people through multi-prone policies. In the French educational reform, for instance, the broad direction is also encouraging student participation in sports and curricula in sports are substantially increased. As a result, students are showing more aggressive learning attitude and better performance.
  • I still remember that my first Motion in the Legislative Council was on promotion of universal medical examination and encouragement of popularity of sports. In fact, I was then looking forward to a policy that begins with sports for all, starting from cultivation of the practice of sporting for health among the general public, especially children. Meanwhile, we shall identify talented athletes for training as professionals who would take up sports as a career. With the bottom up approach, sports development in Hong Kong would be more effective.
  • The Government should realize that the public is not against hosting major sporting events. We are only asking the Government to start from the basics. When Hong Kong becomes the capital of sports through a long term, comprehensive and bottom up sports policy, I bet most people would fully support the Government to bid for Asian Games.

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