Hong Kong Sports Institute Open Day Offers Rare Chance for Public to Experience Life of Elite Athletes
The Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) hosted an Open Day on 18 and 19 February 2017 to engage youngsters and the public in the development of high-performance sports in Hong Kong, and provide them with a unique opportunity to interact with local sports stars.
Being the Government’s elite sport training systems delivery agent, the HKSI hopes that through direct interaction with the public, it can reinforce the society’s attachment to the development of high-performance sports in the territory and inspire them to make sports a way of life. Visitors learned about the life of elite athletes behind the scenes and the works of the HKSI in the two-day event featuring tours around the world-class training facilities, sports and health talks, sports demonstrations, fun try-outs and meeting with elite athletes.
Over 2,000 members of the public enrolled for the Open Day which took place on Sunday (19 February). The HKSI arranged guided tours for them to visit various advanced sports training facilities which include Athletics Field, Swimming Complex, Rowing Centre, Fitness Training Centre, Table Tennis Hall, Badminton Hall, Tenpin Bowling Centre, Tennis Courts etc. Visitors were impressed by the advanced facilities and all-round support the HKSI offers to the territory’s top players.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Tony Choi MH, Acting Chief Executive of the HKSI expressed his gratitude to the Government for financing the redevelopment of the HKSI, and The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China (SF&OC), the Hong Kong Paralympic Committee & Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (HKPC&SAPD) and National Sports Associations for their relentless support lent to the local sports sector as well as the HKSI. He also acknowledged the tremendous support and encouragement that the public and media have given to the elite athletes.
Athletes from Tier A Sports and disability sports attended the Opening Ceremony and told the audience about their training as well as how could they effectively strike a balance between intensive sports training and academic studies.
In the Meet the Athletes Session, elite athletes Cheung Siu-lun (fencing), Wong Hiu-ying (gymnastics) and Wu Siu-hong (tenpin bowling) had a conversation and took photos with visitors. HKSI’s sports science expert also revealed the keys to healthy diet and the smart way to build up one’s body in the Sports and Health Talk. Various game and test booths were staged by the SF&OC, HKPC&SAPD and different National Sports Associations to promote different sports. Visitors enjoyed the games and explored their potentials through various interactive activities.
To attract talented young people to develop their career in sports, the HKSI has been promoting dual career pathway for elite athletes. Different initiatives were introduced to help young athletes take care of their academic studies and elite training at the same time. Among those initiatives are the Elite Athlete-friendly School Network launched in 2014, and the Partnership School Programme rolled out in 2015. Schools participating in the programmes have committed to offering flexible learning mode to empower potential athletes to pursue their dreams. Currently, 27 schools have taken part in the programmes and the HKSI hopes that the Open Day can attract more secondary schools to join and create a new generation of elite athletes.
To this end, the Open Day on 18 February was exclusively designed for teachers and students of the network schools, partnership schools, and the collaborating schools of the HKSI’s partners. There were 370 participants from 19 schools visiting different elite sports training venues and taking part in the fitness tests as well as the educational talks on sports nutrition.
Mr Yeung Yee-ming, physical education teacher of Fukien Secondary School Affiliated School, said, “We arrange a number of sports team members to visit the HKSI today, hoping to widen their horizon and to enrich their knowledge of elite sports. Besides, by understanding the training system of elite athletes will help these talented youngsters set a goal and be more self-motivated.”
Jiang Zongwang, a P.6 student of the Taoist Ching Chung Primary School (Wu King Estate), shared after his first visit to the HKSI, “I am a member of the athletics team and was excited to see so many high tech training venues and facilities here. All are very inspiring! I will train harder and hope that one day I can become an elite athlete and train here.”
With the Government’s HK$1.8 billion funding support, the HKSI Redevelopment Project was completed in late 2014. The HKSI hosted a Grand Opening Ceremony, an international exchange forum and the first Open Day in late 2015 to celebrate the special occasion. The two-day event this year was the second Open Day the HKSI hosted since the completion of its redevelopment.