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Chairman’s Statement

Dr Lam Tai-fai SBS JP

Dr Lam Tai-fai SBS JP

2020/21 was a challenging year not only for Hong Kong but also the entire world. The spread of COVID-19 seriously affected most industries, not least the sports sector, putting a pause to most if not all international competitions. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games were no exception, having been postponed for one year to 2021. In spite of these challenges, the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) was able to react swiftly to the situation by establishing and implementing a risk management strategy to ensure effective operations and minimise the impact on elite athletes’ training.

Although Hong Kong athletes had very limited access to international competitions during the year, they seized every opportunity to perform their best. Siobhan Haughey won a total of 20 gold medals at the International Swimming League and broke Asian short course records nine times; Chan Chi-fung set four indoor rowing world records, while Ng On-yee became the first Asian billiard sports woman in history to qualify for the World Snooker Tours.

With the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games just around the corner, the HKSI is assisting athletes in improving their performance with the aim of delivering outstanding results and bringing glory to Hong Kong at both Games. This is being achieved through tailor-made training programmes designed with science-based technical analysis to provide the most suitable support structure for athletes.

The HKSI operated as a closed training camp three times during the pandemic. Not only were strict anti-pandemic measures implemented, with the support of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, special arrangements were also made for athletes and staff to conduct COVID-19 testing and get vaccinated at the HKSI. The HKSI has been providing regular COVID-19 testing to athletes, coaches and staff to ensure their safety and health.

The HKSAR Government injected HK$250 million into the Hong Kong Athletes Fund in 2020 to strengthen support for athletes in education and retirement, resulting in a significant increase in grant level and an expansion of the scope of eligible study programmes. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the HKSAR Government for their continued support.

Apart from elite training, the HKSI is committed to facilitating dual career pathways in sports and academic study for athletes. Since 2014, the HKSI has developed collaborative partnerships with tertiary institutions. During the year, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed with the Lee Shau Kee School of Business and Administration of The Open University of Hong Kong to provide flexible learning arrangements for athletes. The HKSI has signed MOUs with a total of 12 tertiary institutions thus far.

The HKSI also actively engaged the community throughout the pandemic through a series of social media activities focusing on physical and mental health, home workouts and a healthy diet to encourage the public to lead a healthy lifestyle and stay strong together. At the same time, the HKSI has sought to raise public awareness of elite sports and athletes by holding a host of online events, including a Virtual Spring Reception in February 2021; the Jockey Club Hong Kong Coaching Awards presentation ceremony in March 2021; and a number of in-school sharing sessions.

Lastly, on behalf of the Board, I would like to offer my gratitude to the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China; the Hong Kong Paralympic Committee & Sports Association for the Physically Disabled, the National Sports Associations; the education sector, media, sponsors and the community for their long-term support and collaboration. I would also like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Board, management team, coaches and staff of the HKSI for their collaborative efforts in planning and implementing anti-pandemic measures to ensure athletes are provided with high-quality training in a safe environment to get well prepared for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The HKSI will continue to support Hong Kong athletes to achieve their best in the international sports arena. I believe the tough times has laid the foundation for Hong Kong athletes to become physically and psychologically stronger. They will continue to be role models for the younger generation, and to shine brightly for Hong Kong in the coming future!

Dr Lam Tai-fai SBS JP
Chairman, Hong Kong Sports Institute Limited