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Sports Development in Hong Kong - A Critical Review
 
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The graduation ceremony of the Advanced Course on Community Sports Club Management Development Programme 2011-2012 was held successfully on 4 March 2012. In addition to having students share their experiences on the day, we also invited Professor Frank FU of the co-organizer, Hong Kong Baptist University, to give a speech on ˇ§Sports Development in Hong Kong - A Critical Reviewˇ¨. The following is an extract of Professor FUˇ¦s speech for our readers.
 
 
Sports Development in Hong Kong - A Critical Review

In recent years, athletes of Hong Kong have achieved sustained outstanding performances in many international competitions. According to Professor FU, to further enhance Hong Kong's sports position in the international arena, we must first understand the strengths and weaknesses of the local sports community. Using a SWOT analysis, the professor analyzed the Sports Development in Hong Kong from its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
 
 
Strengths and weaknesses

Exercise and health are closely related. Sport has now become a daily activity due to the large number of Hong Kong people who are concerned about their own health, and these people have helped to promote sports in Hong Kong. In addition to this, Hong Kong sports development has been helped by a number of local strengths, such as the influence of western sports culture, the mature development of the local sports culture and the full support of the government which keep the local sports community bustling with progress and development. A representative of various sports organizations in Hong Kong, the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, has been a National Olympic Committee for 60 years now, and its presence has enhanced the international status of our local sports community. At the end of the day, the international status that Hong Kong enjoys is partially due to the achievements and glory our athletes have brought home from competitions around the world.

However, the development of sports in Hong Kong also has a number of weaknesses. The first problem is resources. Since some popular team sports lack commercial sponsorships, and because most National Sports Associations do not have realistic business plans to support operations, financial problems have become the major obstacle to their development. The other problem is the insufficient seating at sports venues which has led to there being more spectators than the venue can seat. This is a problem because support from spectators is important for local sports to achieve sustainable development. Above all, Professor FU indicated that air pollution has made people less willing to go out and exercise. He suggested the construction of additional indoor sports facilities and also a diversified set of indoor sports activities to promote sports development.
 
 
Opportunities and threats

Mainland China and Hong Kong have gained invaluable sports events organization experience from the organization of a number of large sports events during 2008 to 2011, such as the Beijing Olympic Games, the Guangzhou Asian Games, the Shenzhen World University Games and the East Asian Games. Professor FU also explained that the experience Shenzhen gained from organizing the World University Games is something Hong Kong should draw reference to. The key to the successful organization of the World University Games, an event the scale of the Olympic Games, was the crucial support provided by a range of world-class sports facilities. Therefore, Hong Kong should build more world-class facilities, particularly indoor sports facilities, so that more major Games and international sports events can be organized in Hong Kong.

Professor FU also said that another problem with sports development in Hong Kong is that targets are set too high, for example, expectations of winning trophies and medals in the Olympic Games. He suggested Hong Kong focus on the Asian Games first and other world championships second. Professor FU added, Hong Kong must train even more elite athletes to perform better worldwide; the problem, however, is that athletes are unable to afford training. Therefore he recommended that the government increase subsidies for elite athletes (especially those who participate in less popular events). Recently, the Hong Kong Sports Institute has received $7 billion Endowment Fund and this should definitely help elite athletes to perform at their best.
 
 
Strategies in promoting sports in Hong Kong

Six proposals provided by Professor FU for promoting sports in Hong Kong:

  1. Review the governance, role and structure of sports delivery;
  2. Identify and define the roles and responsibilities of major stakeholders (including the government, the business sector, the community and the private organizations);
  3. Develop a master plan and criteria / requirement for constructing sports facilities, both short and long term (to meet the needs of the elite sports, sports for all and popular sports);
  4. Develop sports promotion strategies and programmes with coordination among the various stakeholders;
  5. Empower Home Affairs Bureau to work with other departments to develop short-term and long-term public relations campaign to instill ownership and attain support from the general public and district councils, political parties and their constituencies, stakeholders and providers through education, information and empowerment;
  6. Identify and allocate adequate resources to achieve proposal 3 to 5.
 
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