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LCQ19: Promoting urban sports
     Following is a question by the Hon Judy Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Kevin Yeung, in the Legislative Council today (March 15):
     To further promote sports in the community, the Government will work with the sports sector, schools and other sectors to promote urban sports. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the urban sports that the authorities plan to promote; 

(2) how the authorities plan to work with different sectors to promote urban sports; 

(3) whether it has compiled statistics on the number of venues and facilities currently available in the 18 districts across the territory for members of the public to do urban sports; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; 

(4) whether the authorities regularly reviewed in the past three years the utilisation of the various public recreation and sports venues and the rules on their use, and provided suitable recreation and sports venues in tandem with the development of various types of urban sports; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; 

(5) whether the authorities have considered, by drawing reference from the experience of the model car play area at the Waterloo Road/Ferry Street Sitting-out Area under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, studying how to make good use of the space underneath the flyovers across the territory to build the venues required for urban sports in the long run; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(6) given that both the Olympic Games and the Youth Olympic Games have introduced a range of urban sports in recent years, whether the authorities have plans to attract more international sports events of urban sports to be held in Hong Kong through the "M" Mark System; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

     My reply to the questions raised by the Hon Judy Chan is as follows:

(1) In recent years, the International Olympic Committee is eager to encourage more young people to participate in sports and has introduced various urban sports that are popular among young people in the Olympic Games with a view to providing the young athletes with the opportunity to realise their dreams to compete at Olympic events. To follow the international trend, the Government will strengthen the promotion of those urban sports that have been introduced in the Olympic Games or the Youth Olympic Games, including 3 on 3 basketball, futsal, sport climbing, skateboarding and breaking.

(2) The Government will work with the sports sector, schools and other sectors to promote urban sports and provide subsidy to those schools and organisations which are interested in participating in the promotion programme and organising training courses as well as activities on urban sports. In the first phase, we plan to work with schools and aim to provide 8 000 students with the opportunity to take part in urban sports every year starting from 2023/2024 academic year. Besides, we are exploring the collaboration with "national sports associations" (NSAs) and other organisations to organise promotional activities and training courses outside schools. Meanwhile, we will discuss with relevant NSAs on enhancing the related supporting services such as relevant feeder systems, coach training and etc.

(3) At present, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) provides 14 indoor and outdoor sport climbing facilities, some 500 basketball courts, eight skateboard grounds, five skateparks, over 190 dance rooms/activity rooms and over 120 5-a-side soccer pitches for conducting urban sports activities.

(4) The LCSD has, all along, maintained close contact with NSAs and relevant stakeholders and reviewed the use of its sports and recreation venues as well as their conditions of use from time to time. For instance, the LCSD is currently adjusting the conditions of use of its sport climbing facilities according to qualifications and training modes recognised by the China Hong Kong Mountaineering and Climbing Union. Such adjustment will allow a person without relevant certificates to book the sport climbing facilities on an individual basis, as long as he/she is accompanied by a qualified coach and another holder of relevant certificates. This will facilitate the training in and development of sport climbing.

(5) The Government will consider various factors to ascertain whether a site is suitable for providing sports facilities. Chapter 12 of the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines provides planning standards and guidelines for use of land beneath flyovers and footbridges. It specifies that flyover/footbridge sites should only be considered for use when no other suitable sites are available. In addition, land use, structural, fire safety, traffic, environmental, visual and all other relevant considerations should also be taken into account before the use of such sites.

     Given the exact location of the site, environmental factors and other constraints should be taken into consideration when constructing sports facilities beneath flyovers, such space is mainly used for the provision of passive recreation facilities at present. Nevertheless, the Government will consider providing suitable recreation facilities beneath flyovers to facilitate the promotion of sports (including urban sports) should the objective conditions of such space beneath individual flyovers permit.

(6) The Government has all along been committed to promoting sports development and developing Hong Kong into a centre for major international sports events. In 2004, the "M" Mark System (the System) was introduced to support local NSAs to host major international sports events in Hong Kong through provision of matching fund and direct grant. The Chief Executive stated in the 2022 Policy Address that in order to attract more major international sports events to be held in Hong Kong, the Government will consider further enhancing the System, including raising the funding ceiling for each event, abolishing the quota for "M" Mark events that can be organised by the same applicant each year. The eligibility of applicants will also be reviewed and relaxed to cover events organised by NSAs and related organisations to support more major international sports events (including urban sports events) to be held in Hong Kong, with a view to reinforcing Hong Kong's status as an events capital.
Ends/Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Issued at HKT 15:00
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