The 2009 East Asian Games, officially known as the V East Asian Games, was an international multi-sport event that took place in Hong Kong, China, between 5 December and 13 December 2009. A total of 2,377 athletes from 9 East Asian national competed in 262 events in 22 sports. It was the biggest sporting event ever held in the territory.
In 2003 Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Mongolia entered the bidding process as potential host cities for the 5th East Asian games. Mongolia subsequently withdrew. On 3 November 2003 at a meeting in Macau, Hong Kong was selected as the host.
June 2004 saw the formation of the Preparatory Committee for the Hong Kong East Asian Games, chaired by Timothy Fok, president of Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong.
On 13 January 2006 the Legislative Council had approved the government spending of HK$123 million for the games. The total expenditure for the games is estimated to be HK$240 million. The estimated total revenue is also HK$240 million, including HK$123 million government funding, HK$43 million from ticket and merchandise sales and HK$74 million from cash sponsorhip.
During the 2005 East Asian Games in Macau, a competition was held to determine the logo for the 5th East Asian Games. On 11 July 2005 a fireworks emblem, designed by Clement Yick Tat-wa, was selected. The design makes reference to the five Olympic rings, and the sparkling fireworks symbolise the energy of athletes striving to fulfill their potential and to achieve sporting excellence.
A slogan contest was held at the Asian Games in 2006 and the winning suggestion was "Be the Legend" (Chinese: 創造傳奇一刻); fitting well with the ideals of athletes reaching their potential and achieving legendary victories. This slogan was submitted by secondary school student Choi Sau-chu (蔡秀珠). The event song is You are the Legend (Chinese: 衝出世界).
The event has two fluffy mascots, "Dony"(Chinese: 東仔) and "Ami"(Chinese: 亞妹). Fire and lion are the creative elements for the design. Fire has many different forms and radiates light and heat, representing the flexibility of Hong Kong people. Lion is the symbol for strength and confidence. Below the Lion Rock, Hong Kong people nurtured a mutually helping and continuously striving spirit.
A set of "Heartwarming Stamps" were released in March and another set was available in August while commemorative stamps were issued on the opening day of the event, 5 December.
The 1 year countdown to the 2009 East Asian games began with Hong Kong Chief executive Donald Tsang inaugurating a special countdown clock in Hong Kong Cultural Centre on 5 December 2008. The ceremony was also attended by chairman of the East Asian Games planning committee Timothy Fok and heads of delegations of the nine countries. The countdown clock is based on the Mascot "Dony". The Cantonese version of the theme song You are the Legend was also performed for the first time by 30 Hong Kong singers including Alan Tam. Representatives of the Hong Kong 18 district councils were also present. For the 300-day countdown, 24 athletes were invited to sing the theme song at the Alan Tam Hacken Lee concert.
A flower show was opened to the public on 13 May at Victoria Park. The show lasted 10 days featuring 60,000 pots of themed flower. Around 200 organizations from 20 countries participated in the show. The new Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground was opened on 19 May to celebrate the 200 days count down. A relay race was held between the HK police, HK immigration department, Leisure and Cultural department, HK Fire service, Customs and Exercise department, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Sai Kung District sports association. There was a dragon and lion dance performance and a tree-planting ceremony. A cheerleading competition was also held.
A torch relay was held on August 29 as part of the 100-day Countdown. The relay held the theme "Light the way to the EAG". The torch is a curvy cylinder with a square top and round bottom. It resembles the horn of an ox as 2009 is the year of the Ox. They create the patterns of "Lucky Clouds" to put forward the concept of yin and yang. This also convey the message that Hong Kong is a place where the Chinese and Western cultures meet.
In the following calendar for the 2009 East Asian Games, each blue box represents an event competition, such as a qualification round, on that day. The yellow boxes represent days during which medal-awarding finals for a sport were held.
|Event competitions||Event finals|
State Councilor Liu Yandong graced the official opening ceremony on December 5, which featured an extensive firework display and a large scale music and dance performance at Hong Kong Cultural Centre section of Victoria Harbour. IOC President Jacques Rogge and some IOC members also attended the ceremony. Donald Tsang, Chief Executive of Hong Kong, in his speech said in part: "Through sport, we will celebrate the cultural diversity, friendship and indomitable spirit of our region. Hong Kong extends the hand of friendship to all our guests and visitors." Following this, the torch was brought into Victoria Harbour and the cauldron was lit, signalling the climax of the opening ceremony.
2009 East Asian Games featured 262 events in 22 sports (including 16 Olympics sports), a new record of East Asian Games history.
The closing ceremony took place on 13 December at Kowloon Hong Kong Coliseum. After the country entrances, the event featured a host of performance art section on stage and the transfer of the East Asian Games flag to the host of the next host Tianjin. Three sections including Color, Flower and Ocean were on display along with a host of international popstars.
A total of 262 gold medals are presented in East Asian Games. The following table shows the Final Medal Tally of regions:
|3||South Korea (KOR)||39||45||59||143|
|4||Hong Kong (HKG)||26||31||53||110|
|5||Chinese Taipei (TPE)||8||34||47||89|
|7||North Korea (PRK)||6||8||11||25|
About 66% of 530 people aged 18 to 45 from the Hong Kong Youth Association was surveyed and did not know the games were held from December 5–13. Only 33% were able to identify the mascot. Less than 33% knew there was a 5th East Asian Games. 66% said there was a lack of promotion.