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Speech by CS at opening ceremony of Special Olympics Hong Kong 40th Anniversary Invitational Games (English only) (with photo)
     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics Hong Kong 40th Anniversary Invitational Games today (November 25):

Mr David Ip (President of Special Olympics Hong Kong), Madam Mary Gu (Regional President and Managing Director of Special Olympics East Asia), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to join you all at today's opening ceremony of the Special Olympics Hong Kong (SOHK) 40th Anniversary Invitational Games.

     On behalf of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, let me first congratulate the Special Olympics Hong Kong on its 40th anniversary and extend my warmest welcome to all the delegates from the Mainland of China, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Macau and Mongolia who came all the way to take part in these Games to commemorate SOHK's special occasion.

     For the past four decades, SOHK has made exceptional efforts in serving persons with intellectual disability to realise their potential in sports and in integrating them into the community through training and competition. It is particularly encouraging to see the significant expansion of the spectrum of disabled sport with continuous and enormous achievements made by our talented athletes in various international events.

     Over the years, whether in my capacity as the Director of Social Welfare overseeing welfare support for people with disabilities or the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs responsible for sports policy, or just in my personal capacity as a supporter of SOHK, I visited athletes during their competitions and attended dinners celebrating their success. I still remember an article I wrote after visiting our athletes, including Tsang Ka-yan and Lai Wai-ling, competing in an Asian event in Busan, South Korea, in 2002. In October last year, I attended the Victory Banquet for Hong Kong Delegation of the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games. I was deeply impressed by the accomplishments of our athletes. Though they are subject to constraints and need to overcome limitations, they rise to all challenges and find joy, confidence and pride on the playing field and in life. Their perseverance and never-give-up spirit are role models for many of us.

     Behind the victory of our athletes is a great, dedicated team at the SOHK. To many at SOHK, our young athletes are their sons and daughters. I had personally witnessed how nervous they were when their athletes were competing intensely at international games and how gratified they were when athletes achieved their goal. I can say for sure that their happiness lies not so much in the number of medals won but the athletic spirit displayed by their sons and daughters.

     As the SOHK celebrates its 40th anniversary, I wish to express to successive Presidents, Members of the Executive Committee, coaches, volunteers and parents my deepest appreciation. Their vision and dedication has not only unleashed the potential of persons with intellectual disability but also make Hong Kong a caring society that we should all be very proud of.

     Finally, I am certain that all participating athletes here will have a great time and perform your best. I wish the Invitational Games every success and all of you an enjoyable stay in Hong Kong.

     Thank you.
Ends/Friday, November 25, 2016
Issued at HKT 12:59
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The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, speaks at the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics Hong Kong 40th Anniversary Invitational Games today (November 25).