Hong Kong to co-host China sporting showcase


Hong Kong and Macau to co-host China games Image: Xinhua

Hong Kong has been named as one of the co-hosts of the 2025 National Games of China (the 15th edition) along with the Macau and Guangdong provinces.

The ‘South China Morning Post’ stated that the 2025 games will be the first time the two former colonies host a major national sporting event.

The National Games of the People’s Republic of China, sometimes known as the All China Games, is the premier sports event in China at the national level. It is usually held once every four years, most recently in August 2017, when the 13th National Games of China took place in Tianjin (China).

The ‘South China Morning Post’ further stated that the announcement on the State Council’s website said the Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong Governments would shoulder most of the cost, although the Central Government will provide a certain amount of sponsorship.

“[The Governments] … should make use of existing sports facilities and exercise strict budget controls and reduce the cost of hosting the games,” a statement sent out in this regard said.

The statement added, “They should have strict control over the scale, take every precaution against COVID-19 and work together to organize the 15th National Games.”

The games are held every four years, usually the year after the Olympics, and are seen as a platform to identify new sporting talent.

Guangdong has previously hosted the games, as have Beijing and Shanghai, while more recent editions have been held in the Chinese provinces of Jiangsu, Shandong, Liaoning, and in the Chinese municipality – Tianjin – a major port City.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor welcomed the announcement, saying the Kai Tak Sports Park, which will be completed in 2023, and the City’s Velodrome would be among the facilities to host events.

Hong Kong recently celebrated its most successful Olympics, taking its second-ever gold medal, two silvers and three bronzes in Tokyo.

The announcement comes as Beijing is trying to tighten its control over Hong Kong after the months-long anti-Government protests in 2019 and the authorities are trying to instill a greater sense of national identity.

Tian Feilong, an Associate Professor at Beihang University’s Law School in Beijing, said sport could be a platform to foster integration between Hong Kong and the mainland.

Observed Feilong, “Sports are well received by the public and do not have strong political connotations. It is easier to use sports to cultivate a sense of identification with the country.”

The choice of three hosts will also help in the integration of the Greater Bay Area, he further observed.

Xie Maosong, a Senior Researcher at the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, maintained, “Sport is a good arena for shared emotions. As part of China, Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong can fully integrate hearts and minds through sports.”

Kenneth Fok Kai-kong, Vice-President, Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, said the games would help promote closer communications between sports bodies in the three hosts and help integrate transport systems and customs arrangements.

The Hong Kong Sports Institute Chairman Lam Tai-fai said the three hosts would need to discuss how to divide the events between them, but Hong Kong would want to host sports such as badminton, cycling and fencing which are popular with the Hong Kong public.

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