Thursday, December 24, 2009

HK wants to host 2019 Asian Games

Hong Kong is keen to stage the Asian Games in 10 years’ time, a top official said recently, after the city hosted its first international multi-sports event this month.

“Personally, I am very confident that Hong Kong has the ability to host the Asian Games in 2019,” secretary for home affairs Tsang Tak-sing said.

“You can see the benefits that it will bring to Hong Kong, but we have to listen to the people and we would have to devote a substantial amount of resources to it.”

His remarks came after the East Asian Games ended in Hong Kong on last Sunday after 12 days of competition.

Tsang said the East Asian Games, which featured nine countries, had been “a success in promoting the sporting culture in Hong Kong.”

Before the Games opened, there had been concern that they had failed to ignite the interest of the Hong Kong public, and preliminary events played out to half-full crowds.

However, major competitions such as athletics and swimming were sold out, albeit in small arenas, and nearly 40,000 people packed into Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday to see the host surprisingly take the football gold medal.

The win on penalties over Japan’s under-20 team, which had been among the favorites to win in football, was “like having a dream,” Hong Kong captain Au Yeung Yiu-chung said.

“The team still can’t believe that we’ve won the gold medal,” he added.

China finished with a gold medal haul of 113, followed by Japan with 62 and South Korea’s 39.

Hong Kong made the best of home advantage, winning 26 golds, its highest tally at the Games, which take place next in the Chinese city of Tianjin in 2013.

The next Asian Games will be held from Nov. 12-27 next year in Guangzhou, China, and in 2014 in the South Korean port city of Incheon. However, it was decided to change the date of the following Games to be one year ahead of the 2020 Olympics.

Manila, Dubai and Taipei are reportedly among other potential bidders for the 2019 event.

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