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Speech by CS at Cocktail Welcome Reception of the Volvo Ocean Race-Hong Kong Stopover (English only)
    Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at cocktail welcome reception of the Volvo Ocean Race-Hong Kong Stopover today (January 17):
Mr Tong (Mr Tong Yui-shing, President of the Hong Kong Sailing Federation), Richard (Mr Richard Brisius, President of the Volvo Ocean Race), Andrew (Mr Andrew Kwok, CEO of Hutchison Global Communications), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     Good afternoon.  It gives me great pleasure to join you all here at the cocktail welcome reception of the Volvo Ocean Race – Hong Kong Stopover.
     The Volvo Ocean Race is a prestigious sports event in the world and a key celebration highlight of the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It is the culmination of significant efforts by the Home Affairs Bureau and the Hong Kong Sailing Federation to bring this premier sailing event to this Asia’s World City.

     Hosting the Volvo Ocean Race is definitely an important milestone in Hong Kong’s sailing history. We are very proud to be a stopover city for the first time in the 44 year-history of this global mega sports event. This year also marks the first ever participation of a Hong Kong team: Sun Hung Kai/ Scallywag.
     Being one of the toughest round-the-world sailing challenges, the Volvo Ocean Race has been awarded “M” Mark status in recognition of its significance in enhancing our position as a prominent hub for major international sports events.  Indeed, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is committed to promoting sports development in Hong Kong.  We are forging ahead with the construction of the iconic and mega infrastructural development to promote sports – the 28-hectare Kai Tak Sports Park at an estimated cost of HK $31.9 billion (about US $4 billion) which will be located just next to this Runway Park.  We believe that it would attract many more major international sporting events like the Volvo Ocean Race to Hong Kong upon its completion in 2022-23.
     Surrounded by sea, Hong Kong is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. To promote water sports in Hong Kong, the Government allocates annual funding subvention of over $50 million to five “national sports associations” to organise major international water sports activities in the city.  We have also developed five public water sports centres to offer affordable and accessible facilities to provide training programmes and for public enjoyment. 
     Over the years, we have also nurtured world-class water sports athletes including the Olympic Gold Medalist Lee Lai-shan, Asian Rowing Championship Gold Medalist Leung Chun-shek and Tang Chiu-mang and Asian Windsurfing Championship Gold Medalist Chan Hei-man. To continue our efforts in water sports development, apart from the Volvo Ocean Race, Hong Kong will continue to host major water sports events including the 2019 World Rowing Coastal Championship and the 14th Asian Dragon Boat Championship in 2020.
     Hong Kong is renowned for being one of the most iconic and beautiful ports in the world.  The fleet will soon reach our waters in the following days at Kai Tak.  We sincerely look forward to welcoming all the teams, fans, media as well as the global sailing community to our magnificent city.  After sailing 5 800 miles from Melbourne to Hong Kong, I am sure that the happy and brave sailors will be looking for some well-deserved rest and they can find no better place than Hong Kong for rest and recreation.
     I am confident that the staging of the Volvo Ocean Race will certainly attract more elite international races to the city and boost local interest in the sport of sailing and other water sports.
     The Race Festival here also gives the public an opportunity to learn more about sailing and how to participate in water sports through seeing the race boats at close quarters, and exhibitions, as well as fun games, virtual reality experience, etc. Free shuttle bus and ferry services have been arranged to bring visitors to the Race Village at the Runway Park. Over 12 000 students have already registered their visits through the Volvo Ocean Race website.  I am sure that all visitors will have a wonderful, memorable and educational time at the Race Festival.
     On behalf of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Volvo Companies and all the other sponsors for their generous sponsorship and unfailing support in bringing this signature event to Hong Kong.
     I wish the Race a resounding success and all our overseas guests and friends a pleasant and enjoyable stay in Hong Kong.  Thank you.
Ends/Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Issued at HKT 18:45
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