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Elite Sports in the Time of COVID-19

HKSI Closed Camps


COVID-19 Tests Conducted*

* Includes tests conducted under the Universal Community Testing Programme at the HKSI
#Stay Strong Together

Worldwide Influence on Sports and Athletes

In early 2020, COVID-19 spread widely around the world, affecting sports and athletes everywhere. Countries successively implemented travel restrictions and lockdowns, impacting athletes’ access to international competitions. In March 2020, the International Olympic Committee announced the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. International competitions were either postponed, cancelled or inaccessible to athletes, which led to new strategies for athletes of different regions including Hong Kong to obtain qualifications and prepare for the two Games.

HKSI’s Risk Management Strategy

In response to this global challenge, the HKSI swiftly implemented a risk management strategy to safeguard the health of athletes and staff while allowing core operations to continue, such that athletes’ training and preparation for the two Tokyo Games remained uncompromised. The foundation of the strategy was an incremental, iterative cycle of adaptation based on Government advisories and medical advice, adjustment with a coordinated rapid response, implementation with constant fine-tuning, and evaluation on a daily and weekly basis. The key elements of the strategy included:

Maintaining a Controlled Training Environment

Three closed camps were implemented at the HKSI in 2020/21. Within this safe training bubble, full-time elite athletes were allowed to continue training in a controlled physical environment. With the support of the Home Affairs Bureau and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, safe access to offsite training venues was also provided to athletes and coaches of relevant sports.

Reducing the Number of People on Site

During the closed camp periods, part-time athletes’ training was suspended temporarily, and unnecessary access by outsiders was eliminated. Arrangements were made for staff to work from home as far as possible.

Implementing Stringent Health and Hygiene Measures

Mandatory daily temperature checks and health declarations were implemented for all athletes and staff. This was extended to any approved entrants to the HKSI venues. Enhanced deep-cleansing of all office areas and venues was implemented. Weekly testing protocols were also carried out and successively expanded to all athletes and staff as the pandemic spread through the Hong Kong community. With the support of the Government, a vaccination centre was established at the HKSI to provide vaccination for athletes, coaches and staff on a voluntary basis beginning in March 2021.

Going Online

To optimise the quality of training and promote athletes’ well-being amidst the pandemic, some support services, programmes and activities were adapted for online formats, ranging from sports science and sports medicine services, education, personal and social development activities, to coach education programmes, corporate events and community engagement activities. A digital marketing campaign with topics spanning physical and mental health tips, home workouts and cooking demonstrations based on the theme “Stay Strong Together” was launched on the HKSI’s social media platforms to increase positive engagement with athletes and the community as a whole.

International Cooperation

During the year, the HKSI also maintained exchanges with regional counterparts to share the latest information on the pandemic, as well as policy responses and institutional guidelines to minimise unfavourable impacts from the pandemic on athletes and the sports sector.