Sport in Hong Kong
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Sports in Hong Kong are a significant part of its culture. Due mainly to British influence going as far back as the late 19th century, Hong Kong had an earlier introduction to Western athletics compared to other Asia regions. Football, basketball, swimming, badminton, table tennis, cycling and running have the most participants and spectators. In 2009, Hong Kong successfully organized the V East Asian Games and was the biggest sporting event ever held in the territory. Other major international sporting events including the Equestrian at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Hong Kong Sevens, Hong Kong Marathon, AFC Asian Cup, EAFF East Asian Cup, Hong Kong Tennis Classic, Premier League Asia Trophy, and Lunar New Year Cup. Hong Kong athletes over see improved, as of 2010, there are 32 Hong Kong athletes from seven sports ranking in world's Top 20, 29 athletes in six sports in Asia top 10 ranking. Moreover, Hong Kong is equally impressive performance of athletes with disabilities in 2009, having won four world championships and two Asian Champions.
- 1 History
- 2 Transition
- 3 Participant sports
- 4 Spectator sports
- 5 Organisations
- 6 International sporting events
- 7 See also
- 8 References
Hong Kong City Hall is located today where the original location of "Victoria Recreation Club" stood in 1849 after having been in operation in Canton since 1832. It is the first sporting club established in Hong Kong's history. The first sports involved were water sports such as rowing.
The primary sport in Hong Kong has been football due mainly to British influence going as far back as the late 19th century. The first documented team came from the "Chinese Football Team" of 1904, which began as a club called the "South China Athletic Club" founded by Mok Hing. It was the first team to join the The Hong Kong Football Association league in 1913/1914. At the time, the introduction of Hong Kong First Division League in 1908 was also another milestone. In the 1917 Far Eastern Games and 1919 Far Eastern Games, the club represented the Republic of China and won the football championship. It is the only team in Hong Kong sports history to have accomplished this feat. Around 1920–1922, it formally adopted the present name of South China Athletic Association and diversified into other sports.
Financial Secretary John James Cowperthwaite was one of the first government official to assist Hong Kong going into the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne Australia with a contribution estimate of HK$10,000.
Victoria Park was one of the free range open space for pickup games. Until the Hong Kong Stadium was built, there was no arena for spectator sports. By the 1960s a number of clubs have surfaced for mostly social reasons. Since then, Hong Kong sports has been described as "Club Life". Some clubs have documented their history thoroughly, while others have disappeared along with their past.
After World War II the Amateur Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong (ASF&OC) was established. The committee selected athletic leaders to represent Hong Kong in times of competition. Eventually the committee became known as the National Olympic Committee. After the transfer of sovereignty in 1997, Hong Kong has competed internationally under the name "Hong Kong, China" with the Bauhinia region flag. It is treated separately from People's Republic of China, which is counted as another entry in the games.
A variety of sports are available in Hong Kong, with most having their own association, and many clubs and groups, along with provision by bodies such as YWCA and YMCA. There are also local organisations that strive to help Hong Kong residents identify sports that are not broadly advertised enough. The Hong Kong Government is also known for its proactive approach towards sporting events prior to the Beijing Olympics.
There are many sports available in Hong Kong for participation by residents, including:
Cricket in Hong Kong has been played since at least 1841. Like most cricketing nations, it was part of the British Empire. The national cricket team has been active since 1866, and the Hong Kong Cricket Association was granted associate membership of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 1969. Hong Kong hosted the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes, an ICC sanctioned event that features teams of six players in a six over competition annually till 2012. The Hong Kong Cricket Team qualified for 2014 ICC World Twenty20 and caused a major upset by defeating hosts Bangladesh.
Dragon boat racing
The traditional Chinese sport of dragon boat racing was originally held as part of the Duan Wu festivities in Hong Kong. It is now spread internationally with races held all around the world. The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Association was a founding member of the international and regional governing bodies for dragon boat racing: The International Dragon Boat Federation and Asian Dragon Boat Federation. The oldest International Festival Races are those held in Hong Kong annually. The HKIR have been held since 1976 and are acknowledged as starting the modern era of the dragon boatsport.
Rugby is long established, partly as a result of its being a British colony. In contrast to the People's Republic of China, it has had a continuous existence dating back over a hundred years, and is most notable for its sevens tournaments.
The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union was founded in 1953.
The British tradition of horse racing left its mark as one of the most important entertainment and gambling institutions in Hong Kong. Established as the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club in 1884, the non-profit organisation conducts nearly 700 races every season at the two race tracks in Happy Valley and Sha Tin. The sport annually draws in over 11% of Hong Kong's tax revenue. Off-track betting is available from overseas bookmakers.
Hong Kong Games
Hong Kong Marathon
The Hong Kong Marathon takes place every February and draws as many as 30,000 participants.
International sporting events
Hong Kong competes separately from China in various international sporting events. Hong Kong also had its own team during British administration prior to 1997.
East Asian Games
Hong Kong competed at the Commonwealth Games from 1934 until 1994 as a British colony (as a Dependent territory since the 1986 Games). Over the years Team Hong Kong picked up a number of medals, including in Lawn Bowls.
Hong Kong has participated in all Summer Olympic Games since the 1952 Games in Helsinki, Finland. The first medal was won in the 1996 Games in Atlanta, US. Lee Lai Shan won gold in the women's mistral individual event in sailing. Coincidentally, it was also the last medal won by Hong Kong as a British territory.
The territory participated under the new name and its new regional flag for the first time in the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia. Hong Kong won its second ever Olympic medal in the 2004 Games in Athens, Greece where Hong Kong won silver in men's doubles event in table tennis. In London 2012, Wai Sze Lee won Hong Kong's first ever Olympic medal in cycling and its third overall.
The equestrian events of the 2008 Summer Olympics was held in Hong Kong. This marked the second time the same edition of the Olympic Games being hosted by two National Olympic Committees, namely by that of the People's Republic of China and Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Sports Institute at Fo Tan, Sha Tin was the site of the events.
Hong Kong Sevens
The Hong Kong Sevens were established in 1976 and since held in March every year except for 1997 and 2005. It is considered the premier tournament on the IRB Sevens World Series. Organised by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, the tournament is held annually at the last weekend of March as a two-and-a-half-day event. It is participated by as many as 22 countries.
- "Legislative Council Panel on Home Affairs Sports Development Policy and Objectives". Home Affairs Bureau. October 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- Lam, S. F. Chang W, Julian.  (2006) The Quest for Gold: Fifty Years of Amateur Sports in Hong Kong, 1947-1997. Hong Kong University Publishing. ISBN 962-209-766-9.
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