The Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong (SF&OC) has signaled its aim to launch a bid for hosting the second World Beach Games in 2021, but experts warn that the city has much work to do before it can swing a deal in its favor.
SF&OC president Timothy Fok Tsun-ting told the media on Tuesday that he plans to inform the International Olympic Committee at a meeting in Tokyo next month that Hong Kong is interested in making a bid to host the bi-yearly sports event after the inaugural one is held next year in San Diego, California.
Fok, who revealed that he has asked the government to support the bid and co-organize the tournament, added that the SF&OC sees the Repulse Bay Beach as a suitable venue for international athletes to compete there, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
If Hong Kong can pull off the bid, the event will be the first large-scale international games hosted in the city since the 2009 East Asian Games.
Hong Kong may not be able to host Olympic Games but it surely has the capacity to host the World Beach Games, given the large number of great beaches it has, Fok suggested.
Arguing that the event would offer a good opportunity to show off Hong Kong’s beautiful beaches, Fok said the SF&OC is checking how much it would cost to host the Games, and that it would be looking for sponsors, RTHK reported.
SF&OC vice-president Pui Kwan-kay said a detailed plan will be submitted by October next year after its application is accepted.
According to Pui, the cost of hosting the event can be lower than HK$300 million since it does not have too many competition categories and will only see a total of some 2,000 participants, including athletes and their entourages.
Asked about the government’s attitude toward the planned bid, Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah did not give any reply.
Veteran beach volleyball coach Cheng King-leung said if the Repulse Bay Beach is used to hold the event, the government should make sure the sand quality is improved prior to the Games.
As of now, the beach is covered with coarse sand, which will make competitors feel quite uncomfortable, Chang noted.
Lobo Louie Hung-tak, an associate professor of the Department of Physical Education at the Hong Kong Baptist University, pointed out that athletes participating in the World Beach Games will come from nearly 200 countries and regions.
If athletes from countries such as the United States and Iran participate at the same time, security requirements will be very high, he pointed out.
Louie suggested that a special committee led by a principal government official, who is at the level of secretaries of departments, should be set up to coordinate interdepartmental efforts in relation to event, rather than let the Home Affairs Bureau and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department be the only two authorities that will share full responsibility.
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