As the delivery agent for high performance training for Hong Kong elite athletes, the HKSI recognises the importance of the whole-person development approach to athlete development, and offers athletes educational and career planning services to cater for their different needs at various stages of their sporting careers.
Aiming to attract more talented youngsters to full-time training, the HKSI established the Elite Athlete-friendly School Network in 2014, and the Partnership School Programme in 2015. The Partnership School Programme with the English Schools Foundation and Lam Tai Fai College aims to enable young athletes to train full-time while studying at senior secondary level. As of 31 March 2018, 55 athletes were studying under the programme.
In 2017/18, the HKSI also signed MOUs with Hong Kong Baptist University, the University of Hong Kong and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, providing substantial support for full-time elite athletes, so they can balance study and elite training under a dual career pathway.
The HKSI also provides general education and career planning services to athletes, such as tutorial support, continuing education subsidies, and scholarships for athletes who have been successfully enrolled in the Partnership School Programme. As of 31 March 2018, 300 athletes had been provided with educational support.
Athletes may also apply for grants to cover tuition fees as well as subsistence allowances through the Hong Kong Athletes Fund. In 2017/18, funding of over HK$1.88 million was approved to cover the tuition fees and subsistence allowances of 14 athletes up to the 2021/22 academic year. The recipients were Chan Tsz-ka (badminton), Cheng Chun-leung (windsurfing), Chiu Hin-chun (rowing), Choi Wan-yu (karatedo), Kwan Ki-cheong (rowing), Lee Ho-ching (table tennis), Leung Ho-tsun (windsurfing), Li Ching-wan (table tennis), Lo Ho-sum (billiard sports), Lo Ting-kin (lifesaving), Ng Ho-tin (fencing), Sham Wai-sum (rugby), Wong Shun-lai (lifesaving) and Yeung Man-wai (athletics).
In addition to educational support, the HKSI helps elite athletes make the transition from competition to a career in sports coaching through the Elite Coaching Apprenticeship Programme. The programme provides elite athletes who plan to retire in the following two years with an opportunity to develop coaching skills and gain practical coaching experience to prepare for life after competition. The Programme has benefited 26 athletes since its launch in 2008, and has been sponsored by the Western Harbour Tunnel Company since 2013.
Organised by the Home Affairs Bureau and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, and supported by the Education Bureau and the HKSI, another scheme that helps retired athletes – and enhances the sporting culture in schools by providing more opportunities for secondary school students to take part in sports – is the School Sports Programme Coordinator (SSPC) Scheme. The scheme is now in its second edition, and recruited 23 retired athletes as SSPCs in 2015.
The Elite Athletes Performance Recognition Scheme, which was set up in 2015 under the Hong Kong Athletes Fund, continued to support athletes’ pursuit of a second career after retirement from high-level sporting competition. In 2017/18, HK$991,200 was distributed to three eligible retired athletes: Chan Yun-lung (badminton), Chan Chun-hing (cycling) and Cheung King-wai (cycling).
The HKSI also provides tailor-made programmes that are designed to enable athletes to dedicate themselves to an elite training lifestyle – without neglecting their social and personal development.
In 2017/18, 42 workshops and experiential activities were organised for 730 Scholarship Athletes, offering them learning opportunities in areas such as child protection, financial planning, team building, media communication skills, goal setting, time management and music appreciation.
As part of the athlete development programme, the Olympism Camp 2017 was held in July 2017. Co-organised with the SF&OC, the camp attracted 21 athletes from six Tier A sports to learn and practise the core values of Olympism.
Athletes are also provided with opportunities to participate in exchanges with counterparts from mainland China and other countries, to improve their knowledge and understanding of the structure and development of different sports systems. A Japan Exchange Tour was organised from 6 to 10 December 2017 for 16 athletes who visited the Japan Institute of Sports Sciences and National Training Centre, to understand Japan’s athlete pathways and the training facilities of the two institutes. Various cultural exchange programmes were also arranged, for athletes to explore Japanese traditional culture.
With accommodation for up to 370 athletes, the Athlete Hostel provides a comfortable professional base for elite athletes. The rooms are well provided with facilities for their daily needs. There are also an activity room, tutorial rooms, and an enhanced IT-supported learning area. As of 31 March 2018, the Athlete Hostel had accommodated 339 athletes. To facilitate the implementation of the Pilot Scheme for Elite Vote Support System for Disability Sports, the HKSI has enhanced the hostel facilities to support full-time Paralympic athletes.