Date
24 November 2017
Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah (inset) says the government will build and redevelop 26 sports stadiums and recreational facilities within five years. Photo: Wpcpey via Wikimedia Commons/HKEJ
Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah (inset) says the government will build and redevelop 26 sports stadiums and recreational facilities within five years. Photo: Wpcpey via Wikimedia Commons/HKEJ

Govt eyes second sports park in Sha Tin after Kai Tak

The government is planning to build another sports park even as construction work on the one in Kai Tak is expected to start next year.

Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah told a radio program on Wednesday that the government will build and redevelop 26 sports stadiums and recreational facilities within five years.

Also, it is planning 15 projects, including a sports park in Whitehead, Ma On Shan in Sha Tin, to improve the environment and provide facilities for sports as well as to meet public demand.

He said the Whitehead sports park will accommodate sports including baseball, cricket and ice skating, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

A plan was submitted to the Legislative Council by the Home Affairs Bureau earlier this year.

Sources said the authorities are studying the technical feasibility of the second sports park but the goal is to build grounds for the three types of sports. Whether there will be facilities for other sports remains unclear.

The planned site for the Whitehead sports park is near the MTR Wu Kai Sha Station in Ma On Shan and covers about 23.56 hectares, smaller than the 28 hectares occupied by its Kai Tak counterpart.

Meanwhile, some sports experts questioned the purpose of the Whitehead sports park.

Professor Chung Pak-kwong, who heads the Hong Kong Baptist University’s department of physical education, wondered why the government wants to make baseball, cricket and ice sports the main focus of the Whitehead sports park when none of them are popular in Hong Kong unlike, for example, basketball, and the results of their international competitions are not outstanding.

The government should explain to the public the reason behind the decision, Chung said.

Nicky To, senior sports manager of the Hong Kong Baseball Association, said the ground designed for baseball at Whitehead will not be able to handle world-class games based on the current plan. To urged the government to come up with supplementary measures.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said in her first policy address last week that more resources are required to organize training in order to enhance the chances of achieving good results in major international competitions.

She promised to earmark HK$130 million for of a five-year development program to promote the development of team ball games.

The Kai Tak Sports Park project, which will provide modern and multi purpose facilities for world-class sports events, has completed the prequalification process.

Qualified applicants will be invited to submit tenders within the year. Construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2018 and be completed between 2022 and 2023.

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