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Speech by CS at the International Exchange Forum and Open Day of the Hong Kong Sports Institute (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the International Exchange Forum and Open Day of the Hong Kong Sports Institute this morning (December 20):

Carlson (Chairman of the Hong Kong Sports Institute Limited), Trisha (Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Sports Institute Limited), athletes and coaches, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning.  It gives me great pleasure to join you at the opening ceremony of the International Exchange Forum and the Open Day of the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI).  I would like to extend a warm welcome to you all, especially those guests from Mainland China and overseas who came all the way here to join the events.

     Entitled "Preparing Athletes for 2016 Rio Olympics", the Forum aims to offer a valuable opportunity for local and overseas experts to exchange views on training strategies and application of science and technology in providing support to athletes.  This is most timely as we are less than one year from the 2016 Rio Olympics.  On the other hand, the HKSI Open Day seeks to enhance the public understanding of the training of elite athletes through these purpose-built facilities.  I am sure both activities will contribute to the development of sports in Hong Kong.  I am particularly pleased that these events come under the HKSAR Government's Appreciate Hong Kong Campaign.  Echoing the rationale for the Campaign, may I take this opportunity to express my gratitude and appreciation to all involved in the work of the HKSI over the years; to coaches and other professionals in the training of Hong Kong's elite athletes; to athletes for making us proud of their achievements and to their families for supporting athletes in pursuit of their sports excellence.  At this moment, my thoughts and prayers are with Tang Ying-chi, member of the Hong Kong women's football team who is still in critical condition, following a tragic minibus crash on Friday.  Let us wish her a speedy recovery.

     Today's events are also highlights to celebrate the completion of the HK$1.8 billion HKSI Redevelopment Project funded by the Government, an initiative I helped put together in 2007 in my former capacity as the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs.  In June 2013, I officiated at the opening of the New Sports Facilities comprising the Rowing Boathouse, Squash Courts, Tenpin Bowling Centre and Wushu Hall.  Today, I am very happy to witness the full completion of the project.

     With the completion of the final phase last year and official opening by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR yesterday morning, the redeveloped HKSI is now able to provide better and wider support to our elite athletes, up to a total of about 1,100 at the moment.  Besides providing world-class training facilities and environment, the HKSI also strengthens its sports science and sports medicine services for elite athletes, including athletes with disabilities.  It also houses a Hostel for 370 athletes and a Sports Residence for 148 visitors.  I understand that some of our guests from overseas attending this Forum are staying at the Institute.  I am sure you will be satisfied with the facilities here.

     Some of you may remember that there was a somewhat substandard velodrome on the site where the new Main Building is now located.  Instead of putting a new velodrome in the HKSI premises, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has built an indoor Hong Kong Velodrome in Tsueng Kwan O.  This facility was opened in December 2013 and I am pleased to note that it will host its first international cycling competition event next month.

     I hope our local sports community will not dispute that I am a staunch supporter of sports development in Hong Kong, including sports for people with disabilities.  Apart from a public service commitment to do my job well, this is because of my great admiration for our athletes who, through their hard work, perseverance and never give-up spirit, have time and again amazed people of Hong Kong by their world-class achievements.  These dated back to Lee Lai-shan winning a windsurfing gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics; cyclist Wong Kam-po fetching gold medals in three Asian Games, and Lee Wai-sze obtaining an Olympics cycling bronze medal in 2012; and more recent accolades of Shek Wai-hung winning Hong Kong's first-ever gold medal in gymnastics in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games; Wu Siu-hong, after recovering from a major illness, winning the men's champion in the 51st Bowling World Cup in Las Vegas last month; Angus Ng Ka-long defeating the world champion Lin Dan in Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open last month; and Marco Fu Ka-chun who just won the snooker European Tour at Gibraltar Open last week.  I am sure with the wonderful facilities at the redeveloped HKSI and the Hong Kong Velodrome, and the leadership at the SF&OC (Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong), the Hong Kong Paralympic Committee & Sports Association for the Physically Disabled, the Hong Kong Sports Institute and the various NSAs (National Sports Associations), Hong Kong athletes will be able to scale newer heights not only in the coming Rio Olympics but also for many years to come.

     Nurturing young people is a priority policy area of this term of the HKSAR Government.  In my view, sports has an instrumental role to play.  Our athletes are outstanding role models for our younger generation.  I hope to see more athletes, both competing and retiring ones, participating in sports training and career talks in schools to share their experience with students.  I believe this is the best way for them to express gratitude to society.  

     The Hong Kong SAR Government will continue to support the development of sports through cooperation with all stakeholders íV within and beyond the sports sector.  I am confident that, with our concerted efforts, Hong Kong athletes will continue to excel in the sporting arena, and Hong Kong will continue to make remarkable achievements, regionally and internationally.

     Ladies and gentlemen, may I wish all delegates a most fruitful conference and the Open Day a great success.  Thank you very much.

Ends/Sunday, December 20, 2015
Issued at HKT 14:10


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