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Guangdong to co-host top games with SARs

William Xu/Chen Shuman
Updated: Aug 28,2021 08:51    China Daily

Officials and sports insiders from the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions welcomed the central government's decision to approve the SARs co-hosting the 2025 National Games with Guangdong province.

They expressed confidence that jointly hosting the nation's highest-level sports competition will further accelerate sports development of the two SARs and deepen sports cooperation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Earlier on Aug 26, the State Council announced that the three places will co-hold the national event. It is the first time for Hong Kong and Macao to host the National Games, and the first time the event will be co-hosted by multiple regions. The news came after Hong Kong finished its most successful Olympics in Tokyo, bagging one gold medal, two silver and three bronze.

Shortly after the State Council announcement, Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she believes it will be a significant move to promote Hong Kong's sports development.

She added that the foundation is in place for Hong Kong to take part in the hosting of the Games, citing various sports facilities such as the Hong Kong Velodrome, and Kai Tak Sports Park, which is expected to be the city's largest sports facility after being commissioned in 2023.

The Hong Kong government will work closely with Guangdong, Macao and related central government departments to present a "simple, safe and wonderful" Games, Lam said.

Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, president of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, said that by jointly holding the nation's premier sports competition with cities in the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong will further integrate into the region, which is vital for its sports development.

Such integration will deepen Hong Kong athletes' interactions with mainland counterparts and benefit Hong Kong's commercialization of sports events, accelerating its development of the sports industry, Fok said.

Lam Tai-fai, chairman of the Hong Kong Sports Institute, said the move will further inspire Hong Kong communities' enthusiasm for sports, enhance athletes' skills, and lay the foundation for the city to hold more international sports events.

He hopes the city can hold National Games events in which Hong Kong athletes have strengths, like fencing, cycling and badminton.

Gary Wong Chi-him, founder of InspiringHK Sports Foundation, believes that co-hosting the Games will greatly fuel the city's sports development, and create new momentum for economic growth.

Considering the advantageous status of Hong Kong as a global metropolis, Wong suggested the city run some competitions that enjoy worldwide popularity, while games requiring a large space can be hosted in cities of Guangdong.

Kevin Ho King-lun, a member of Macao government's sports advisory body, believes co-hosting the Games could inspire Macao's sports sector, and better utilize local sports venues and facilities. He added that the city has experience in staging international sports contests like the East Asian Games and Macao Grand Prix, an annual motorsports road race.

He suggested local government should consider building more sports venues to accommodate audiences, and also mull how to take advantage of the national event to further boost the city's tourism industry.

Andy Wu Keng-kuong, president of the Travel Industry Council of Macao, envisioned that the event will bring a huge boost to the local tourism industry and stimulate consumption. He noted that during the period of large-scale sports events, such as the Macao Grand Prix, Macao often witnessed a remarkable increase in hotel occupancy and number of visitors.

The National Games is held every four years. Shaanxi province will stage the 14th edition from Sept 15 to 27, in which a Hong Kong delegation of 171 competitors will contest 18 events.