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Asian Games achievements give impetus to Government's initiatives to promote sports

The Government is pressing ahead with its strategy and initiatives to promote sports development in Hong Kong as announced by the Chief Executive in his 2006-07 Policy Address, the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs Carrie Lam, said at the ceremony welcoming Hong Kong athletes returning from the 15th Asian Games in Doha at the Hong Kong International Airport today (December 17).

The Hong Kong delegation, with 281 athletes participating in 28 events in the Doha Games, won six gold, 12 silver and 10 bronze medals. This is the best result ever achieved by Hong Kong in the Asian Games. Various Hong Kong records were also broken during the Games.

Mrs Lam flew to Doha to support the Hong Kong athletes and returned with them. She joined representatives of the local sports sector and hundreds of enthusiastic supporters in giving a warm welcome to the delegation.

"The excellent performance of our athletes has won the hearts and support of the community. The whole city's attention was focused on our athletes in the last two weeks.

"Their outstanding achievements in the Asian Games will not only boost their confidence as they set their sights on the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2009 East Asian Games, but will also inspire more young people to follow their footsteps and actively take part in sports training," she said at the welcoming ceremony.

"As the Chief Executive has pledged in the Policy Address, we will support the development of sports in Hong Kong on all fronts.

"From April next year, there will be an additional allocation of $40 million each year to provide comprehensive support for elite athletes in key areas, including education opportunities, career development, financial assistance, and athlete training and coaching support. There will be another $30 million additional subvention each year for national sports associations to enhance national and junior squads training and drive school sports and community sports development.

"Planning is progressing in earnest to redevelop the Hong Kong Sports Institute to provide elite athletes with modern and quality training facilities. We expect works to commence on site by end-2008.

"An indoor velodrome of world-class standard, the first of its kind in Hong Kong, will be built in Tseung Kwan O. We will develop a wide range of sports facilities for training and public use at the district level," she said.

Mrs Lam also pointed out that the Government's ongoing efforts to make Hong Kong a major location for international sports events would benefit Hong Kong's athletes by providing more opportunities for competition and exchange with their overseas counterparts and promoting commercial sponsorship in sports activities.

Also present at today's welcome ceremony were President of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, Mr Timothy Fok; and representatives of various local National Sports Associations.

Ends/Sunday, December 17, 2006

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