The head of Hong Kong’s delegation to the Tokyo Olympics says the government should use the momentum galvanised by the SAR’s best games ever to develop lower-profile sports.
Pui Kwan-kay said now is the time to put more resources into sports that “have potential” but have been overlooked in the past, although he did not give examples.
"Our elite sports system… puts stronger emphasis on sports that have won medals or got good results in the past. But there are sports that have good potential, maybe we can put in more resources," he said on an RTHK radio programme on Monday.
At present, 20 sports – including fencing, karate, windsurfing, table tennis and cycling – are included in the elite training system, which provides fully paid-for training expenses, sports science and medical support for top athletes.
Sports Commissioner Yeung Tak-keung, meanwhile, said there is room to add more sports to the elite system, but officials will have to collect views from stakeholders first.
On the same radio programme, Yeung said once the Kai Tak Sports Complex is completed, Hong Kong will be able to host more international games and events, providing more chances for local athletes to play in top competitions and qualify for the Olympics or the Asian Games.
The commissioner said facilities in the complex will also be open to public, schools and local sports leagues, so that sport can be promoted in the community.
Yeung also dismissed suggestions that the government only invests in sports in which local athletes have won medals.
"The 60 sports associations are subsidised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, they get several hundred million dollars every year. Some of those with better performances can join the elite sports system and [athletes can] train at the Sports Institute," Yeung said.