Following is a speech by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Dr E K Yeoh, at the Launching Ceremony of the Hong Kong Paralympians Fund and Presentation of the Paralympic Order to Prof Sir Harry S Y Fang today (March 2):
Dr Steadward, Professor Sir Harry Fang, the Hon Timothy Fok, the Hon Eric Li, distinghished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, let me apologise on behalf of the Chief Secretary for Administration who is unable to attend today's ceremony. I am honoured to be invited to take his place to officiate at this, the launching ceremony of the Hong Kong Paralympians Fund. I am also delighted to welcome Dr Steadward, Hon President of the International Paralympic Committee to Hong Kong to present the Paralympic Order to Sir Harry in recognition of his lengthy and significant contribution to promoting sports amongst people with disabilities. I am sure everyone would like to join me in congratulating him on this well deserved award.
As you all know, Hong Kong's disabled athletes did extremely well in the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. Together, they won 18 medals and broke a number of world records. Their remarkable achievements have not only boosted the confidence of other people with disabilities, but has also helped to enhance the public's understanding and appreciation of the abilities and talents of people with disabilities.
To further promote sports among people with disabilities and to facilitate disabled athletes pursuit of excellence, the Administration has decided to establish this $50 million Hong Kong Paralympians Fund. The establishment of this Fund is a clear indication of the Government's long-term commitment in this area, in a very practical way.
I am pleased to note that under the capable leadership of Sir Harry, the Fund's Management Committee has already started work. And the Government is hopeful that this financial support together with the concerted efforts of the relevant organizations and individuals will lead to our disabled athletes reaching even greater heights in the international sports arena.
May I wish all our disabled athletes every success in their future endeavours, including the upcoming World Championships.
Lastly, may I take this opportunity to wish everyone well in the Year of the Horse.
End/Saturday, March 2, 2002