Sports park finish line moved, but it won't be a game changer

Construction of the Kai Tak sports park will be postponed for up to a year but the delay will not disrupt the 2025 National Games as operators still have enough time for trial runs, says Commissioner for Sports Yeung Tak-keung.

The opening of the main stadium will be delayed to late 2024 and the indoor sports center to mid-2024 but the public sports ground will open next year as planned.

Yeung said yesterday that the delay can be attributed to the pandemic, which affected manpower and supply of construction materials.

"We could not expect there would be a pandemic when we signed the contracts in January 2019," he said. "We have procured a lot of materials but they need to be shipped to Hong Kong. The shipping schedule fluctuates due to the pandemic so suppliers are not able to provide many of the materials."

Yeung added that the project also suffers from a shortage of 430 workers, which authorities have attempted to address by applying to the Labour Department to hire migrant workers from the mainland. The migrant workers are expected to fill technical posts such as fire control, water supply, electrical engineering and air-conditioning.

However, Yeung emphasized the delay will not affect the quadrennial games since the main venue of the sports park will commence operation in the second half of 2024, enough for half a year of trial runs.

"The games are scheduled for September 2025. We will have adequate time to conduct all the trials and prepare after the facilities are put to use in 2024," he said.

It has yet to be known what events Hong Kong will host.

The Legislative Council representative for sports, performing arts, cultural and publication Kenneth Fok Kai-kong said the one-year delay is understandable, but he hopes there would not be more obstacles. He suggested the public sports ground - which can accommodate 5,000 people - be made available for schools to hold sports meetings.

Fok added that the government needs to come up with a schedule for redeveloping the Hong Kong Stadium. As previously planned, the stadium in So Kon Po would be redeveloped after the sports park is put into use.

Fok's Legco colleague Vincent Cheng Wing-shun said he expects the incoming culture, sports and tourism bureau to oversee the park's construction.