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LCQ11: Support the development of athletes with disabilities

     Following is a question by the Dr Hon Chiang Lai-wan and a written reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Lau Kong-wah, in the Legislative Council today (December 2):


     It has been reported that earlier a team, comprising an amputee runner and two able-bodied persons from Hong Kong, took part in an extreme desert marathon in Chile, which is one of the four extreme desert races, and won the championship in the team division of the race.  The amputee runner concerned is the first-ever amputee athlete to have completed the race.  Regarding the support for athletes with disabilities (AWDs), will the Government inform this Council:

(1) given that apart from undergoing sports training, quite a number of AWDs have to work and receive rehabilitation treatments, of the policies formulated by the authorities to support and train such athletes;

(2) whether the authorities have put in place policies to encourage AWDs to participate in international sports events held locally or overseas, including whether commendations are given to AWDs who have outstanding performance; if they have, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(3) whether the authorities have reviewed if the sports training and employment support currently provided to AWDs are sufficient; if they have reviewed, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     The Government has been taking various measures to support the development of athletes with disabilities (AWDs). The Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) provide a range of supporting services through related national sport associations (NSAs) and the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) to meet their needs.

     My reply to the various parts of the question is as follows:

(1) At present, the Government provides appropriate support to AWDs through various channels, including:

(a) Subsidising AWDs to prepare for and participate in major sporting events

(i) Financial support is provided under the Arts and Sport Development Fund (ASDF) by the HAB to AWDs in preparation for and participation in major games and to relevant NSAs in organising international events in Hong Kong.  The Fund granted $5.58 million and $9.29 million to subsidise AWDs to prepare for and participate in the London Paralympic Games and the Incheon Asian Para Games in 2012 and 2014 respectively.  Up till present, the Fund has already allocated $5.69 million to assist AWDs to prepare for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games.

(ii) To support athletes' preparation for and participation in the London Paralympic Games and the Incheon Asian Para Games, the Hong Kong Paralympic Committee & Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (HKPC&SAPD) implemented the "Striving for Excellence Programme", from 2011 to 2014, in addition to providing additional trainings. The programme enhanced the planning for the participating athletes' preparation for the games, and provided better support to athletes who retired after the games.  In this regard, the HAB has allocated grants of $4.61 million from the ASDF to support the programme.  For the period from 2015 to 2018, an amount of $5.49 million has been earmarked to support HKPC&SAPD's "Sustaining Optimal Performance Programme" to provide additional support for planning for preparation and support for participation in the 2016 Paralympic Games and the 2018 Asian Para Games.

(b) Subvention for relevant NSAs

(i) Through its Sports Subvention Scheme, LCSD provides subvention to the HKPC&SAPD, the Hong Kong Sports Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability (HKSAPID) and the Hong Kong Sports Association for the Deaf (HKSAD) every year for hiring coaches, arranging local and overseas training, organising competitions and participation in the feeder system.  The LCSD also meets with organisations for persons with disability (PWDs) (including HKSAD, the Society for the Welfare of the Autistic Persons, the Hong Kong Physically Handicapped and Able Bodied Association, the Hong Kong Blind Union, the New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association and the Community Rehabilitation Network under the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation) every year to discuss organisation of sports and recreational activities at the community level to meet the needs and interests of people with disabilities.

(ii) The HKSI also provides direct financial support to the HKPC&SAPD and the HKSAPID for hiring coaches, arranging local and overseas training as well as procuring gears.  

(c) Training venues and facilities

(i) Upon completion of its redevelopment project, the HKSI features new sport facilities and more space for providing better training environment and equipment, as well as support in sports science and sports medicine, to elite athletes including AWDs.  

(ii) The LCSD also accords priority to relevant NSAs for booking designated venues for training of representative teams.  At present, the three sports organisations for PWDs mentioned above are provided with LCSD venues as "national squad training centre" respectively.

(d) Financial subsidy and subsistence grant

(i) The HKSI provides training and direct financial subsidy to elite AWDs according to their individual competition achievements.  The amount of individual annual subsidy ranges from $21,860 to $72,800 in 2015-16.

(ii) Under its Hong Kong Paralympians Fund, the Social Welfare Department provides grants to relevant sports associations for hiring coaches and enhancing technical support for target sports programmes with the aim of assisting AWDs.  The Fund also provides subsistence allowance to AWDs to participate in training and purchase individual supplies, and provides an employment facilitating grant to assist retired AWDs in their job attachment or vocational training.

(e) Career and Education

(i) Launched by the HKPC&SAPD for AWDs, the Athlete Career Programme, in conjunction with human resource companies, provides career consultation, referral services and related workshops.  The HKPC&SAPD also creates in-house internship positions to enable disabled interns to upgrade their work skills while meeting training and competition needs.

(ii) Under its Hong Kong Athletes Career and Education Programme Support, the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China provides consultation services to AWDs, giving them advice on the pathway for career development and further education.

(iii) Athletes who receive training at the HKSI may apply for grants under the Hong Kong Athletes Fund to cover their tuition fees on education and academic pursuits as well as subsistence allowance.

(2) In training elite athletes, including AWDs, the HKSI renders support, including assistance in sports science and sports medicine, for their participation in local and overseas major events.  Apart from direct financial subsidy for their preparation for and participation in major international events, medalists of individual major sports events (e.g. Paralympic and Asian Para Games) will receive cash incentive awards.  Details are listed in annex.

     Through the Athlete Incentive Awards Scheme, the HKSI disbursed incentive awards of $1.86 million and $1.58 million respectively in 2012 and 2014 to athletes with outstanding achievements in the London Paralympic Games and the Incheon Asian Para Games.

(3) As indicated in (1) above, the HAB has been maintaining close contact with various stakeholders in the sports sector for providing AWDs with appropriate support that meets their needs.  A consultancy study undertaken by the HAB is in progress, which aims to obtain a better understanding of development of sports for PWDs in Hong Kong, and to make recommendations on how to promote sports for PWDs and support AWDs.  A preliminary report of the study is expected to be completed within the next few months.  The HAB will then further consult stakeholders and consider their views in details.

Ends/Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Issued at HKT 11:46


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