The Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground was officially opened today (May 19) and the 200-day countdown to the opening of the Hong Kong 2009 East Asian Games (EAG) was also celebrated. The sports ground, with facilities complying with international standards, marks a milestone in the sports development of Hong Kong.
Speaking at the Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground opening ceremony and 200-day countdown to the Hong Kong 2009, the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, said the facilities of the Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground complied with the standards for holding international athletics events.
He said, "Today is the 200-day countdown to the HK 2009 EAG, while the East Asian Games Association (EAGA) meeting is also held in Hong Kong to make the final preparation for the games to be staged at the end of the year."
"The EAGA representatives officiated at the foundation laying ceremony of the Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground in 2006. It is a great pleasure that they are here today to witness the opening of the sports ground and to celebrate the 200-day countdown to the EAG."
Mr Tsang said that in the coming few months, the 18 District Councils would organise a series of activities bearing the theme of "Green, Cultural and Energetic EAG" to enlist public support for the games.
"A torch relay for the EAG will be held on August 29 while school torch relays will be staged from September to November. We will widely publicise the EAG message and bring the sports enthusiasm to every corner of society."
Other officiating guests at today’s ceremony included the Chairman of the 5th EAG Planning Committee, Mr Timothy Fok; the Chairman of the Sai Kung District Council, Mr Ng Sze-fuk; the Chairman of the Sai Kung District Facilities Management Committee, Mr Wan Yuet-cheung；the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Thomas Chow; and the Director of Architectural Services, Mr Yue Chi-hang. Also present were the three vice-presidents of the East Asian Games Association (EAGA) and representatives from the nine member places.
During the ceremony, six government departments - Hong Kong Police Force, Immigration Department, Correctional Services Department, Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Fire Services Department, Customs & Excise Department - as well as the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Sai Kung District Sports Association took part in a 4 x 100 metres relay race with Hong Kong Police Force emerging as winner. There was also a dance performance, a dragon and lion dance and a tree-planting ceremony. An exhibition on EAG at the venue was attended by about 3,500 primary and secondary students from different districts.
The newly-completed Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground, at 109 Po Hong Road with an area of about six hectares, is a significant public works project of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. Construction works began in April 2006 and were completed in March this year at a cost of about $400 million. The sports ground will not only serve as the venue for the track and field events of the EAG but will also be a base for athletics training, marking a major advance in the promotion of sports in Hong Kong.
The Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground is designed to replicate the shape of the five Olympic rings to symbolise and enhance its image as an international-standard athletics competition venue. Its crescent-shaped skylights in the spectators stand symbolise the nine participating regions/countries of the EAG, manifesting Hong Kong’s EAG characteristics. Its facilities and design are environmentally friendly and up to the relevant standards.
The venue comprises a main sports ground, a warm-up secondary sports ground and other facilities for large-scale international competitions. Facilities in the main sports ground include an eight-lane 400-metre all-weather synthetic running track, javelin-throw circle, high jump take-off runways, long jump and triple jump runways and pits, pole-vault runway and landing area, steeple chase facilities, hammer and discus cage, a shot-put throwing area, an 11-a-side natural football pitch up to the standards of the Federation Internationale de Football Association, a covered spectator stand with a seating capacity of about 3,500 and spaces for a temporary spectator stand with 1,500 seats.
The secondary sports ground, the first of its kind in Hong Kong, includes warm-up track and field facilities and a seven-a-side natural turf football pitch. Other ancillary facilities include doping control rooms, physiotherapy rooms, control rooms, media facilities, and facilities for organising events, conferences and training.
The 2009 East Asian Games is the first large-scale multi-sport international event to be held in Hong Kong from December 5-13. More than 3,000 athletes from nine East Asian countries/regions will vie for 281 gold medals in 23 sports. Both the numbers of participants and sports events are the most in East Asian Games history.
Ends/Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Hong Kong Dance Federation performing a dance bearing the theme of the Hong Kong 2009 EAG to greet the 200-day countdown to the Games.
Officiating guests dot the eyes of dragon and lion dance troupes.
Officiating guests take part in a tree-planting activity after the opening ceremony.