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Speech by CS at Sports for All day (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the Sports for All Day at Kowloon Cricket Club today (May 7).

Puja (Ms Puja Kapai), Fernando (Cheung), David (Mr David Brettell, President of the Kowloon Cricket Club), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, particularly our children,

     Good afternoon. I am delighted to join you all here on the Sports for All day for children with special educational needs.

     Since the enactment of the various anti-discrimination ordinances including disability and race in Hong Kong, and through the zealous efforts of the Equal Opportunities Commission, it is fair to say that public awareness of opportunities for all and social inclusiveness has been raised in society. However, much focus has been put on education, employment, access to medical and health services, and outreaching support. I am glad that this afternoon, we are gathering together to share the fun of sports with children with special educational needs. In my view, sports nurtures courage and resilience, promotes team spirit and removes barriers. I therefore wish to thank Puja for putting together this meaningful event. I agree with her that the opportunity to engage in play and sports is key to good health and should be a fundamental right for everyone, including those with special needs or disabilities.

     It has always been a policy of the Hong Kong SAR Government to raise public interest in and awareness of sports, encourage wider public participation and promote a healthy lifestyle in the community. A wide variety of recreation and sports programmes are organised throughout the year for people across different age groups and physical abilities. The event held today is surely in line with our policy objective of promoting an inclusive society, where all individuals can enjoy equality and respect in different areas of life.

     Studies show that physical activity is not only beneficial to children's body health, but also conducive to their intellectual growth and social development. Increased physical fitness improves a child's health, boosts one's mood and reduces stress and depression. Through sports participation, children will have an opportunity to express themselves, build self-confidence and enjoy social interaction and integration. This is certainly beneficial to children with special educational needs, both for their mental and physical development.

     I am a staunch supporter of sports development in Hong Kong, and in particular, for disabled athletes. My support stems not only from my public service commitment, but more from my true admiration for our athletes who continuously challenge themselves and make history for our city with their record-breaking achievements, both regionally and internationally. They demonstrate hard work, perseverance and a never give-up spirit, and are role models of our younger generation.

     In addition to government support, we need the community as a whole to provide an environment conducive to promoting sports development. Given the physical constraints of school premises, sports education in certain schools may be hampered by the lack of space. In relation to this, I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest appreciation to the Kowloon Cricket Club, KCC, which provides its venues, coaches and equipment for the Yaumati Kaifong Association School, as the school does not have a proper venue for its ethnic minority students to practise cricket. I am happy to see the positive relationship established between KCC and the school through my personal intervention following a visit to the school last September. But beyond this school, David just told me that they have been organising all sorts of other sports training programmes for schools in Hong Kong.

     Last but not least, I would like to extend my gratitude to all who have put in their tremendous efforts in organising this meaningful Sports for All day. I want to thank Puja again, for bringing together children of all abilities as well as their families, teachers and friends here for fun and games.

     May I wish you all an enjoyable day.

Ends/Saturday, May 7, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:45


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