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September
Hong Kong receives torch of 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games
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The Law Enforcement Torch Run Receiving and Welcoming Ceremony for the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games (SOWSG) was held tonight (September 25) at a ceremony at the Great Wall's Juyongguan in Beijing, beginning the torch run within China which will cover 12 Mainland cities, and the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions (SAR).

On behalf of the Hong Kong SAR, the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs Carrie Yau, received the torch of the "Flame of Hope" from State Councillor of the Central People's Government, Ms Chen Zhili.

After handing over the torch to Mr Choi Yuk-kwan, the torch bearer representing the Hong Kong disciplinary forces, Mrs Yau said it was an unforgettable experience to witness the Torch Run Receiving and Welcoming Ceremony at the Great Wall's Juyongguan in the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival.

The Special Olympics World Summer Games held every four years is one of the major international sports events for athletes with intellectual disabilities. It is the first time the Games will be held in Asia. It is also the first time since the Games were first held in 1968 that they are being held in a Chinese city.

"There is a special meaning for the Games to be held in Shanghai as it demonstrates that the nation has attached importance to the training and development of every child and young person. People with intellectual disabilities still can develop their potential in sports activities such as gymnastics," Mrs Yau said.

The torch will be carried to Hong Kong for the run in the territory, starting from the UC Centenary Garden at Tsim Sha Tsui East at 5pm on Thursday (September 27) and ending at the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai.

The torch will then be carried to the host city, Shanghai, where the Games will be held from October 2 to 12. A Hong Kong delegation comprising 111 athletes will participate in the Games to compete in 10 sporting events.

Hong Kong athletes have performed well in the past events. Last time when the Games were held in Ireland, the Hong Kong team won a total of 50 medals, including 31 gold, 13 silver and six bronze medals. On the visit to Beijing this time was athlete William Chan, who has represented Hong Kong and won many medals.

To promote the development of sports activities for the intellectually disabled, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department provides a subsidy of more than $4 million to the Hong Kong Sports Association for the Mentally Handicapped in 2007-08.

Ends/Tuesday, September 25, 2007
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