Although the Hong Kong government has been putting substantial effort into nurturing local elite athletes and hosting international sports events over the years, government officials overseeing sports development seem to lack innovation when it comes to promoting sports among the general public.
In addition to the lack of innovation, there is a prevailing mindset among our government officials that sports promotion is nothing more than a single and isolated policy initiative.
However, in my opinion, when it comes to sparking citizens’ interest in sports, the “soft” approach such as promoting sports through pop culture has proven far more effective than rigid government propaganda.
For instance, I remember back in the day when I was a primary school student, a lot of children my age were inspired to take up sports by a popular Japanese sports drama series which took young local TV viewers by storm.
Apart from promoting sports through popular culture, holding major and large-scale sports events that are open to public participation has also proven a viable and powerful means to ignite public passion for sports and exercises.
One of the examples is the Cross Harbour Race swimming competition, which has been held seven times since its revival in 2011.
The Cross Harbour Race has become an annual festival that has not only helped promote sports among the public but has also helped enhance cohesion in our society.
However, the success of the Cross Harbor Race would not have been possible without the participation and support of the local business sector.
The partnership and sponsorship of the business sector have proven instrumental in allowing our city to successfully hold major international sports events such as the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races, the Hong Kong Sevens and the Hong Kong Marathon, all of which are eagerly anticipated by local and overseas athletes.
Apart from diverting more public resources into sports development, perhaps the government should also explore new ways to further facilitate participation of the business sector in large-scale events.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct. 23
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
– Contact us at [email protected]