Hong Kong and Macau have been chosen to co-host China’s 15th National Games in 2025, alongside Guangdong, the first time the two former colonies will stage a major national sporting event.

The National Games are held every four years with the most recent edition having been held in Tianjin and Luoyang in 2017. This year’s Games are due to take place throughout Shaanxi Province from September 15-27.

The announcement of hosting rights for 2025 comes as Beijing is attempting to strengthen its control over Hong Kong after the long-running anti-government protests in 2019, with authorities attempting to instil a greater sense of national identity.

Kenneth Fok Kai-kong, vice-president of the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, told the South China Morning Post newspaper that the 2025 Games would help promote closer communications between sports bodies in the three hosts and help integrate transport systems and customs arrangements.

The announcement has been welcomed by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who has said the Kai Tak Sports Park project (pictured) is set to play a key role in the Games.

Lam stated: “For Hong Kong to host the 15th National Games in 2025 together with Guangdong and Macao is a significant move that will promote Hong Kong’s sports development, after the city has achieved its best results in history at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. I, on behalf of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), am grateful for the trust and support of the Central Government.
 
“Hosting the National Games jointly by Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao is very meaningful and is in line with the goal of building a bay area for leisure and shaping a healthy bay area as presented in the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
 
“The Kai Tak Sports Park, which will comprise a main stadium accommodating 50,000 spectators, a 10,000-seat indoor sports centre and a 5,000-seat public sports ground, will be commissioned in 2023.

“Together with the Hong Kong Velodrome, where many international competitions have been held, and other sports facilities, the foundation is in place for Hong Kong to take part in the hosting of the 15th National Games.

“The HKSAR Government will spare no effort to work closely with the relevant ministries of the Central Government, Guangdong Province and the Macao Special Administrative Region Government on preparatory work and follow the Central Authorities’ requirement of ‘simple, safe and wonderful’ in conducting the Games.”

The team behind Kai Tak Sports Park released updated renderings of the project in December. The Sports Park has been designed by Populous and will be operated by ASM Global.

The precinct is located beside the harbour at Hong Kong’s Kowloon Bay, and is designed to be a unique year-round destination with multi-purpose facilities.

Image: Kai Tak Sports Park Limited and Populous