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Higher cash incentives for SAR Olympic athletes

2024-07-09 HKT 21:29
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  • A flag presentation ceremony is held for the Hong Kong, China delegation to the Paris Olympics. Photo: RTHK
    A flag presentation ceremony is held for the Hong Kong, China delegation to the Paris Olympics. Photo: RTHK
The government on Tuesday held a flag presentation ceremony for the Hong Kong, China delegation to the Paris Olympics ahead of the start of the Games later this month, with Acting Chief Executive Eric Chan announcing higher rewards to further motivate athletes.

“I’m glad to learn about the Jockey Club Athlete Incentive Awards Scheme, which will increase the reward for athletes. There will be a 20 percent increase in cash incentives in total compared with the last Olympics. For example, the reward for an individual gold medallist will be raised to HK$6 million. This is a great way to motivate our athletes to strive for better results,” he said at the ceremony at the government headquarters in Tamar.

Chan also revealed that due to the rising temperatures in Paris, the administration plans to provide air conditioners for athletes competing there.

“The order's been placed, the equipment's on its way… I'm going there on July 22nd, and I anticipate that all our rooms [will] have the air conditioning,” said Brian Stevenson, Chef de Mission for the delegation.

The SAR is sending a delegation of about 90 people to Paris. Among them are 35 athletes, with more than half of them first-time Olympians.

Épée fencer Vivian Kong, who narrowly missed out on a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, is now heading to Paris as the world number one.

She said her mindset has changed since the Tokyo Games.

“I think the biggest difference between these three years is that Tokyo gave me a lot of time to reflect on why I want to train, why I want to become better, why I want to win, because it doesn't seem to matter if people aren't healthy, if people aren't happy. There are more important things than sports.

“But I think this time in Paris we can really enjoy sports... Hopefully everyone's healthy again and that it gives more purpose and motivation for me to do well.”

For veteran swimmer Camille Cheng, this will be her third Olympics.

Her family will be in Paris to see her in action in the Games for the first time.

“I think about this time of the season as really the fun part of the season. We've put in the hard work. It's all about the small details, fine-tuning things, focusing on recovery," Cheng said.

"And really, I think more than anything, it's about mentally so that you're in a happy place, that you're surrounded by positive energy... because for me I believe that a happy swimmer is a fast swimmer.”

Sprinter Felix Diu made the final cut to the Olympics through a wild-card. The 100m specialist and first-time Olympian said his goal is to achieve a personal best at the Games.

“My expectation for the Olympics is to get a [personal best time] for like 10.3 or 10.2 seconds,” he said.

Lo Wai-fung, another Olympic debutant, secured Hong Kong's first-ever Taekwondo Olympic qualification. While excited about that, he said he feels the pressure of representing all the Taekwondo enthusiasts in the city.

He said he hopes to bring home a medal.

The Paris Olympics will be held from July 26 to August 11.

Higher cash incentives for SAR Olympic athletes