Preparations for the East Asian Games (EAG) are progressing smoothly and satisfactorily. The Games are now entering their 26-day countdown.
The 2009 East Asian Games (Hong Kong) Limited and government departments involved in the EAG held a press briefing today (November 9) to give an update on the preparation work.
Speaking at the press briefing, the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs Carrie Yau, said that the Hong Kong Jockey Club International BMX Park which opened on October 31 had already been tested and used for holding international events, and had been warmly welcomed by all parties.All the EAG venues were now ready for the competitions, she said.
She added: Temporary overlay works and thematic design and decorations are being done at various competition venues.They are expected to be completed this month.
Other arrangements such as transport, security, medical and anti-doping, food safety, hospitality, accommodation and media arrangements have all been set.
Mrs Yau said the success of the Games depended on solidarity and co-operation from all stakeholders, stressing that without a good audience, no games in the world could claim to be a success. She appealed to the public to help disseminate information about the EAG to make the Games a success.
The Chief Executive Officer of 2009 East Asian Games (Hong Kong) Limited, Mr Johnny Woo, said at the press briefing that the number of athletes taking part in the EAG was about 2,300, including 53 Beijing Olympics medallists and 83 Doha Asian Games medallists.
He said the opening ceremony of the Games will take place on a floating stage on Victoria Harbour against the impressive Hong Kong skyline.It will be put together by the team that produced the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.A boat parade by more than 40 vessels and a spectacular fireworks show will add colour to the ceremony.The closing ceremony will be held at the Hong Kong Coliseum where the EAG flag and flame will be handed over to the next EAG host city, Tianjin.
Regarding the preparatory work, Mr Woo said that the EAG organiser had laid down house rules for maintaining order at the venues so as to ensure that the competitions would be held in a safe and smooth manner.
On accommodation, 11 hotels and a recreation centre will provide accommodation, catering services and conference facilities/services to all participating VIPs, delegations, athletes and referees.
On catering, caterers have been appointed to provide catering services at the competition venues and the Media Centre for VIPs, athletes, team officials, referees, workers, volunteers and media. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has been working closely with the EAG Company by conducting visits and giving advice to the appointed caterers on menu design and implementation of appropriate food safety management systems to ensure food safety and the provision of quality food for EAG participants.
Mr Woo said that the EAG organiser was working with the Hospital Authority, Fire Services Department, Auxiliary Medical Services and St. John Ambulance Brigade to provide medical and emergency services including at the competition venues and other venues.
On ticket sales, more than 60% of the tickets have been sold. Of the 22 sports events, tickets for 10 have been sold out, including diving, swimming, bowling, cue sports, BMX, indoor cycling, dancesport, judo, taekwondo and wushu.Tickets for athletics and shooting were sold out last Wednesday and today respectively.There are limited tickets left for the opening ceremony and badminton events.People wishing to watch the games at the venues should grab the chance to get the tickets.
The Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung said that apart from promoting sports, the EAG also provided a good opportunity to promote the culture and arts of the EAG participating countries/regions. To enhance public interest and sense of participation, there will be a variety of cultural programmes to highlight the Cultural EAG, including dance performances, drumming, dramas and carnivals with the performers coming from various participating countries/regions of the Games.
Mrs Fung said that in order to foster cultural exchange and friendship with the countries/regions participating in the EAG, the EAG Company will hold a Cultural Night during the Games period.
A cultural extravaganza will also be held between midday and 10pm on December 9, 10 and 11 when Chinese Taipei Night, Korea Night and Japan Night are to be held respectively to showcase the culture, cuisine and handicraft of the three places. Members of public are welcome to join and admission is free.
The Chief Superintendent of the Police Public Relations Branch, Mr David Ng, said Police were well prepared for the security arrangements of the EAG.
The Force has drawn up comprehensive operational strategies, including security arrangements, crowd and traffic management and contingency plans.We have also provided training and exercises for frontline officers and maintained close liaison and collaboration with the EAG Company, relevant Government departments and stakeholders to ensure the safe and smooth running of the EAG, Mr Ng said.
We have also formulated effective resources allocation plans to ensure flexible deployment of officers to provide the overall support of the security arrangements for the EAG, while continuing to provide day to day police services to the public and a capability to professionally respond to any major incidents that may occur.The Force has confidence, capability, expertise and appropriate planning to ensure that the EAG can be held in a safe and smooth manner, he added.
Principal Transport Officer (Urban) of the Transport Department, Mr Albert Su, said the Transport Department (TD), the Police, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) and the EAG Company have visited all competition venues and hotels of the EAG and formulated traffic and transport plans to facilitate the holding of the Games.
Mr Su said that temporary traffic and transport arrangements, including road closures and adjustments in public transport services would be implemented on December 5, 6, 10, 12 and 13 to facilitate the smooth operation of the EAG.
The event organiser, the LCSD and TD consulted the relevant District Councils on their concerns and views on the traffic and transport plans to be implemented during the EAG.The Transport Department has also briefed the major public transport operators and the representatives of transport trades of the traffic and transport arrangements.The operators and trade representatives indicated their full support to facilitate the holding of the EAG.
In addition, the TD is now preparing information leaflets for distribution to passengers who will be affected by the road events and outlying islands ferry passengers who will be affected by the opening ceremony so that they may plan in advance for the day.
Contingency plans have been formulated to handle any possible incident at the venues. Moreover, the TD participated in the drills and exercises organised by the event organiser and other government departments.The department will closely monitor the traffic situation and enhance information dissemination during the EAG, Mr Su added.
Mr Su appealed to motorists and public transport passengers to watch out for the latest news of the EAG and detailed information to be announced later as well as to refer to TDs homepage and leaflets for information.