1st Hong Kong Games open
The 1st Hong Kong Games were officially opened by the Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, at Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground tonight (April 21), marking a major step forward in the development of community sports in Hong Kong. .
Hong Kong's first territory-wide multi-sport games are also one of the major programmes to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The 18 District Councils, the participating units of the Games, are fielding 1,287 athletes to compete in four sports - athletics (445), badminton (230), basketball (372) and table tennis (240).
The athletes marched into Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground tonight, led by a Hong Kong Games flag held by local elite athletes, including Wong Kam Po, Yip Pui Yin, Angie Tsang, Sze Hang Yu, Tang Yik Chun, Lui Chor Wai, Chiu Chung Hei and Lee Ho Ching.
Joining the march were the cheering teams from the districts, all trying to outshine each other with their colourful outfits and choreographed movements.
Addressing the audience and athletes, the Secretary for Home Affairs, Dr Patrick Ho, said the biennial territory-wide games would be an excellent vehicle for promoting local sports culture.
ˇ§Not only will the Games offer more opportunities for participation in sports at the community level, they will also help identify athletes with high potential.
ˇ§Closer partnership will be forged between the sports organisations involved and cohesion within each district strengthened,ˇ¨ Dr Ho said.
After Mr Tsang declared the 1st Hong Kong Games open, the national flag, Hong Kong SAR flag and Hong Kong Games flag were raised as the Hong Kong Police Band played the national anthem.
Other officiating guests included the Honorary President of the Organising Committee of the 1st Hong Kong Games, Mr Timothy Fok; the Chairman of the Organising Committee, Mr Chau How-chen; the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs Carrie Lam; the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Thomas Chow and the chairmen and representatives of the 18 District Councils.
The ceremony reached its climax as Chinese Olympic gold medallists Xu Haifeng and Deng Yaping accompanied Hong Kong's Asian Games medallist Wong Kam-po and a Hong Kong Games participant as they lighted the torch of the Games with a shooting flame.
There followed an hour-long celebration in songs and dances featuring local pop stars like Eason Chan, Joey Yung, Leo Ku and Justin Lo, mainland musical ensemble Orchids 18 and lion and dragon dance troupes.
The 1st Hong Kong Games are organised by the Sports Commission and co-ordinated by its Community Sports Committee with support from the 18 District Councils, the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, relevant National Sports Associations and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
Preliminary competitions started in early April and finals will be held from tomorrow (April 22) to May 5 at various sports venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
The grand prize presentation and closing ceremony of the Games will be held on May 6 at Hong Kong Park Sports Centre.
Ends/Saturday, April 21, 2007