President Message of the Jockey Club Sha Tin Rowing Centre
It is my great honour and pleasure to welcome you here today for the Opening Ceremony of the Jockey Club Sha Tin Rowing Centre, following the completion of a 2-year Extension Project generously funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.
In 1978 – forty five years ago this month – the Hong Kong, China Rowing Association was established.
In 1982, our first Boathouse was completed – a single-bay structure built of temporary materials adjoining this site, on the corner of the Fo Tan Nullah. But this marked the future of the Shing Mun River as an ideal water sports venue which in future was to host international events including the 1st Asian Rowing Championships and the rowing events of the 2009 Hong Kong East Asian Games.
In 1985, with land granted by the government and with funding provided by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the Sha Tin Rowing Centre was opened on this current site – a 2/S building with modern facilities which has subsequently served the Association and Hong Kong Rowing very well for nearly 40 years.
In the years since its founding, the Association, as the governing body for the sport of rowing, has committed itself to the development of our sport and has introduced tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens, young and old, to rowing. In addition, with world class support from the Hong Kong Sports Institute, we have a thriving and ambitious Hong Kong Rowing Team, the majority of whose members have been identified through our local school sports and talent identification programmes. The current target of our Team is the coming Hangzhou Asian Games this September.
The Association has much to be proud of in what it has achieved over the past 45 years. But we have always been keen to look forward, to identify new challenges and new opportunities to expand rowing to the community. This is one of our most important responsibilities as a governing body and one through which we know we can change the lives of people, young and old, through empowerment, self confidence, social interaction and awareness and respect – everything which organised sport can bring to participants of all ages.
The support of the Hong Kong Jockey Club in providing the Association with funding for these and other facilities, has given us the valuable ability to operate from and manage our own sports facility. Whilst also placing greater responsibility on our management and governance – and costs
– we regard this as a major advantage for the Association – for us to be in control of our own centres, allowing significant flexibility in all of our activities, programmes and planning.
The Extension Project, construction of which has taken a little over 2 years to complete, has produced this modern and functional Sports Centre as the Home of Rowing in Hong Kong. In addition to the extensive rowing facilities, the Centre is the headquarters of the Association. The design has focussed on functionality, to provide those elements needed by the Association to support the growing number of programmes demanded by our ambitious plans for the further development and promotion of rowing.
We recognise and respect the confidence of the Hong Kong Jockey Club and of the Hong Kong SAR Government in supporting this project and accept the responsibility which this now places on the Association to re-energise our work to ensure that this funding will benefit new and wider sectors of the community.
I wish to thank the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust for their support.
And may I add here a special note of appreciation to our Project Architects, Threes Architects Limited and to the main contractor, TOKU Construction Company Limited, who together have ensured the project was completed on time and within budget, even with the significant supply disruptions arising from Covid-19.
And of course thank you to all our Clubs and active rowers for your co-operation, patience and understanding during the construction phase.
I would also like to place on record our appreciation and thanks to all of you here today. You, our honourable guests, represent the wide range of clubs, universities, community organisations and government authorities – all partners together with the Association in rowing – which are so important to our work in the development and promotion of our sport in the community. We thank you and we look forward to your continuing partnerships for the benefit of all.
Thank you again and we hope to see all of you more often at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sha Tin Rowing Centre in the future.