Checks were being carried out on the Hong Kong Velodrome’s cycling track on Saturday after the venue in Tseung Kwan O was flooded when a fire alarm caused rooftop windows to open during a rainstorm.
The 250-metre (820-foot) wooden track – which remains closed indefinitely – and arena were soaked during the downpour at around 6pm on Friday. The Observatory issued an amber rainstorm warning and a thunderstorm warning. The fire turned out to be a false alarm.
“The maintenance contractor is on site to carry out a detailed check-up to ensure the structural safety of the track,” a spokeswoman from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department said on Saturday.
“The arena is open as usual but the cycling track is closed temporarily for inspection.”
The department said an event on Sunday for cycle-ball – a soccer-like game played on bicycles – to be held in the arena would not be affected.
Superstar track cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze joined with other volunteers to scrub floors and mop up in the velodrome after the rain.
“Even if it was an amber rainstorm, we needed to hold umbrellas inside the venue. It is unheard of …” she wrote on her Facebook page and posted a video of the drenched venue.
According to the department, cleaners were working at the venue and more than 20 high-powered dryers were being used on the track. Government engineers also checked the track to ensure no water had accumulated. All the windows were closed by 11pm on Friday.
Although the incident was caused by a false alarm, lawmaker Au Nok-hin urged the department to fix long-standing water seepage problems at the venue.
Au cited a 2018 government audit report, noting that from December 2013 to June 2018, there were 129 cases of water seepage at the venue.
“The Audit Commission criticised the frequent water seepage incidents in its 2018 report,” he said. “The department should in the long run follow the advice in the report and fix the leaks to guarantee the quality of the venue for international events.”
The spokeswoman said the department has been in close contact with government engineers and contractor regarding individual water seepage incidents.
The venue, which became operational in 2014, has hosted several world track championships.