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Smart park:  Luk Chun-yin and Lee Ka-lung say the new skate park in Fanling is high quality.

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Respectable sport:  Hong Kong Federation of Extreme Sports Vice President Warren Stuart wants skateboarding to be included in the Asian and Olympic Games.

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Fun facility:  Leisure & Cultural Services Department District Leisure Manager (North) Simon Lau says the park is the department's largest skateboarding venue.

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On a roll:  The park meets international design and safety standards.

From rebellion to respectability

May 20, 2012
Performing skateboard tricks off railings and ramps is exciting, but these stunts are not accomplished in a day. It takes years of strenuous practice and injuries.
 
Hong Kong Federation of Extreme Sports Vice President Warren Stuart, who has skated for 26 years, recently told news.gov.hk skateboarding is more exciting than playing video games.
 
"Skateboarding has taught me to never give up - persistence and discipline. Hopefully these values can be learned by other kids.
 
"The simple rule is hard work and then success. The sport can build up self-esteem and a sense of achievement. As a bonus, it is good to be outside doing some sport rather than video games."
 
Mr Stuart said skateboarding is now a healthy sport, and not the pastime of rebellious youths. He estimates the number of skateboarders in Hong Kong has grown to 4,000, from 1,000 in 2001.
 
Rising interest
 
Noting skateboarding's popularity, the Leisure & Cultural Services Department allocated $21m to build an innovative skateboard park in Fanling. The On Lok Mun Street facility has seen more than 13,000 users since its November opening.
 
District Leisure Manager (North) Simon Lau said the park, at 1,330 square metres, is the department's largest skateboarding facility. It features three skating bowls of different size, catering to skaters' varied levels of ability. It has ramps, railings, ledges and stairs for tricks to be performed.
 
The facility was designed and constructed by a skate park builder from Australia and conforms with safety standards, such as having first-aid equipment.
 
Mr Stuart praised the park's concrete construction, which he said is better than the metal and plastic used at other venues. The corners are smooth, reducing risk and injuries. The venue also has good drainage.
 
He said he hopes more youngsters can progress in the sport, which he wants to be included in the Asian and Olympic Games. He hopes Hong Kong can field its own skateboarding team for these events.
 
Respectable sport
 
Luk Chun-yin, reigning Hong Kong Skateboarding Champion and a gold medallist at the 2010 Asian Extreme Sports Championship, said the park gives him a new venue to practice for competitions.
 
Luk, 24, said he became a skateboard fanatic 11 years ago after being heckled by opponents at a school soccer tournament. He said skateboarders respect each other and have good sporting spirit.
 
Taking part in a host of international competitions since 2003, Luk said the experiences have made him more mature than his peers.
 
Luk said he pays his study fees with prize money won in competitions, and by giving skating lessons.
 
He said the sport can train youngsters to be courageous and patient, as it requires hard work and practice.
 
Lee Ka-lung, 25, won the Best Trick category at the Dragon Contest in Guangzhou early this month.
 
He started in the sport when he received his first skateboard from friends. At first skating in the street, he fell in love with the pastime and made it his sport.
 
Lee said the new skate park in Fanling is of high quality, allowing him to perform tricks at speed.
 
The department's five other skate parks are located at Chai Wan Pool-side Garden, Tin Shui Wai Park, Kwai Chung Kwai Shun Street Playground, Tung Chung North Park, and Tsing Yi Northeast Park.
 
A new skate park is in development in Tseung Kwan O, for completion early next year, giving active young skaters another facility to flip and fly with their boards.




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