* Press Release
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The 2nd Hong Kong Games to be held in May (with photos)

The Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, said today (February 28) that the 2nd Hong Kong Games (HKG), a territory-wide major multi-sport event in Hong Kong to be held in May, would serve as a prelude to the 2009 East Asian Games (EAG) scheduled for December. He said the HKG would enhance the interest of the public in sports and would create an enthusiastic atmosphere for the EAG in the community. Furthermore, to get well prepared, some of the finals of the Hong Kong Games will be held at the venues to be used for the EAG to test their efficacy.

Officiating at the launching ceremony of the 2nd Hong Kong Games at the Kowloon Park Arcade in Tsim Sha Tsui, Mr Tsang said that the 2nd HKG, to be held between May 9 and 31, would provide athletes of 18 districts with more opportunities for sports participation and exchanges and in turn building up friendship and communication. The HKG would also encourage members of the public to actively participate in sports and strengthen community cohesiveness.

The HKG is a biennial event. In the 1st HKG held between April and May in 2007, over 1,200 athletes participated in four sports competitions, namely athletics, badminton, basketball and table tennis. More than 100,000 members of the public took part in various related activities.

Mr Tsang called on members of the public to support and take part in activities of the two games so as to promote the sports development in Hong Kong.

Another officiating guest at the launching ceremony, the Chairman of the 2nd HKG Organising Committee, Mr Chau How-chen, said in addition to the four competitions V athletics, badminton, basketball and table tennis in the 1st HKG, swimming and tennis were added this year, bringing the total number of competitions to six. This year, some 2,000 athletes from the 18 districts would take part in the competition, representing a 50 per cent increase over the 1st HKG.

The 2nd HKG opening ceremony would be held on May 9 at the soon-to-be-completed Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground. In addition to a solemn flag-raising ceremony, lighting of the torch and the march-in of athletes in row, a grand performance of "Cheering Team Competition for the 18 Districts" would be staged.

The closing ceremony will be held at the Kowloon Park Sports Centre on May 31 when awards for individual sport competitions, public participation activities and the "Overall Champion" will be presented.

Mr Chau said the organising committee would incorporate East Asian Games elements in various competitions and activities of the HKG so as to help promote the EAG.

As the participating unit for the HKG, the 18 District Councils had conducted open selection exercise to select athletes to compete in the Games for their respective districts. The representatives from the 18 District Councils have pledged their districts' full engagement in the Games for excellence at today's launching ceremony.

There will be overall champion, first runner-up and second runner-up prizes for each of the six sports competitions. The district accumulating the highest points total from all the six sports competitions will be the Overall Champion of the 2nd Hong Kong Games.

The organising committee has introduced the "Dynamic Moments Photo Contest" to enable more people to participate in the Games in different ways. An award named "District with the Greatest Participation in the 2nd Hong Kong Games" has also been added.

To enable the whole community to learn more about the Games and encourage them to support and participate, the organising committee will launch a series of programmes for public participation, including a large-scale opening ceremony and a grand closing and prize presentation ceremony, the "Elite Athletes' Demonstration and Exchange", the "Cheering Team Competition for the 18 Districts", voting for "My Favourite Sporty District" and making a Guess at the "Overall Champion of the 2nd Hong Kong Games".

To enhance the ambience in the community, the organising committee has produced banners, posters, lamp-posts bunting to dress up the city. A dedicated webpage <http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/specials/hkg/en/index.php> was launched and videos of HKG will be broadcast at LCSD venues and inside buses and trains.

Also officiating at the launching ceremony were the President of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, Mr Timothy Fok; and Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Thomas Chow. Other guests included representatives of the 18 districts, NSA and elite athletes.

Ends/Saturday, February 28, 2009
Issued at HKT 17:13