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SHA's speech at sport forum (English only)

     Following is a speech by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, at the "Sport can change lives" forum today (March 6):

Dr Edwin Moses, honourable guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good afternoon. Thanks for inviting me to join you here today to share views on how sport can change lives for the better. The Home Affairs Bureau welcomes the opportunity to work with Operation Breakthrough, and of course also the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

     Sport has become an increasingly prominent part of our lives. Traditional and social media now feature non-stop news of sports events. Encouraged by the examples of professional athletes, and with greater awareness of the health benefits of regular exercise, more and more people are taking part in sport. Indeed, we have seen this phenomenon in Hong Kong, where the success of our local marathon has helped to create a stronger running culture in the city, and where Sarah Lee's bronze medal in cycling in the London Olympics also led to a boom in the popularity of cycling.

     Today's Forum, with the theme "Sport can change lives", offers us an opportunity to explore how the increasing prominence of sport in our lives can have a positive impact on society and help to strengthen our community, not the least in promoting positive values.

     The existence of a strong and logical support framework for sport is important in helping us to achieve positive social outcomes. We are fortunate to have the Hong Kong Sports Institute here, which not only provides world class training and support facilities, but is also able to engage directly with our athletes to understand their wider needs.

     We also work for promoting sport as a positive force for change in the wider community. Hong Kong is a compact and busy city, and it is not always easy to find space for new sports facilities. But we try our best to nurture public interest in sport by providing accessible facilities, and organising suitable training programmes.

     Today's Forum brings together an outstanding group of globally renowned and respected sports figures. It is truly a privilege for us to have the company of such sporting legends as Dr Edwin Moses and Marvellous Marvin Hagler, from whom we have so much to learn. By the same token, I have no doubt that our new friends will enjoy exchanging views and experience with Hong Kong's own sports stars, such as Amy Chan, Annie Au, Angel Wong, Tony Choi and Cheng Kwok-fai. I would also like here to make a special mention of one of our leading boccia athletes, Paralympic Games medallist Leung Yuk-wing, who this year has become the first ever Hong Kong athlete to be nominated for one of the prestigious Laureus Awards. Congratulations, Ah Wing!

     Before closing, I would like to record my appreciation for the efforts of Operation Breakthrough in organising today's Forum. I would also like to recognise Breakthrough's role over the last 18 years or so in providing avenues for young people, often from troubled backgrounds, to gain self respect and develop a positive outlook through sport.

     Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for me to let you enjoy your lunch, and to wish you a successful conclusion to today's Forum. Thank you very much.

Ends/Friday, March 6, 2015
Issued at HKT 15:20


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