I am delighted to present my first statement after being appointed by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as Chairman of the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI). 2017/18 was a year of sporting events that showcased the talent and dedication of Hong Kong athletes.
During the year, Hong Kong athletes again produced inspiring results on the international stage. Notably, they achieved a total of 37 medals at World Championships, and 197 medals at Asian Championships. Results at the Summer Universiade (4 medals) and the National Games (16 medals) were Hong Kong’s best-ever outcome at these events.
As the HKSI supports an increasing number of sports and athletes, we look to further improve the hardware and software we provide for Hong Kong athletes to achieve sporting excellence. We were greatly encouraged by the HKSAR Government’s enhanced commitment to the development of sports, expressed in the 2017 Policy Address and the 2018 Budget, with a total of HK$6 billion injected into the Elite Athletes Development Fund. The Government also launched new programmes in support of disability sports and team sports.
As the Government’s designated elite sport training centre, the HKSI is tasked with providing Hong Kong elite athletes with access to a high performance environment allowing them to achieve their full potential. In doing this, we collaborate with our many partners so that athletes can pursue their sporting giftedness. One of the highlights of the year was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Preparation Office for the Olympic Games of the General Administration of Sport of China – aiming to enhance strategic coordination and leverage the advantages and resources of both parties, as we step up preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. This collaboration will benefit both parties and encourage Hong Kong athletes to achieve the best possible results at upcoming events.
The HKSI also attaches great importance to fostering the holistic development of young athletes, enabling them to reach their potential both in sport and academia. During the year, we signed MOUs with Hong Kong Baptist University, the University of Hong Kong and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, to provide athletes with flexible access to tertiary education. A total of 37 elite athletes are now continuing their university studies under these MOUs and 55 athletes currently study in secondary schools under the Partnership School Programme. As a result of these education initiatives, the total number of HKSI full-time athletes has increased by 29%, from 354 to 458.
To boost the visibility of elite sports and athletes as positive role models, over 640 community engagement programmes were implemented during 2017/18, attracting over 60,000 participants to the HKSI and reaching out to more than 220,000 members of the public. We work closely with the media to share the vision of the HKSI with the community and keep it engaged by providing relevant news updates. To aid this, we have enhanced our social media presence in an effort to connect with younger generations.
On behalf of the Board, I offer sincere thanks for the ongoing support of the HKSAR Government, sporting authorities of mainland China, the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, the National Sports Associations, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, education sector, sponsors, media and the community as a whole. I would also like to thank my predecessor, Mr Carlson Tong, under whose tenure as Chairman of the HKSI, significant milestones were reached. My gratitude also goes to fellow Board members, as well as the Management, coaches and staff of the HKSI, for their support and hard work. During the year ahead, the HKSI will continue to focus on partnering with all parties to provide world-class elite sport training services and support for Hong Kong athletes.
Finally, Hong Kong athletes brought home a record-breaking tally of 46 and 48 medals at the 2018 Asian Games and Asian Para Games respectively, further details of which will be presented in next year’s annual report. Congratulations to all for these very impressive results.
Dr Lam Tai-fai SBS JP
Chairman, Hong Kong Sports Institute Limited