HK$4 Million Awarded to Hong Kong Olympians at Jockey Club Athlete Incentive Awards Scheme Presentation
The Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) hosted the Jockey Club Athlete Incentive Awards Scheme (the Scheme) Presentation Ceremony today to present awards totalling over HK$4 million to 25 Hong Kong athletes who participated in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with outstanding performance.
The Scheme is supported by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. In recognition of the sporting excellence demonstrated by Hong Kong Olympians, individual athletes and teams who placed between fourth and sixteenth in their events were awarded special cash incentives of HK$188,000 and HK$263,000 respectively.
Officiating guests at the ceremony included Mr Lau Kong-wah JP, Secretary for Home Affairs; Mr Karl Kwok Chi-leung MH, Vice-President of the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China (SF&OC); Mr Leong Cheung, Executive Director, Charities and Community of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; and Mr Carlson Tong Ka-shing SBS JP, Chairman of the HKSI.
Mr Tong commended Hong Kong athletes on their high level performance and was especially impressed by the achievements of the young athletes. He said, “We are very pleased to see many young athletes participated in this year’s Games. Among the delegation, 26 athletes made their Olympic debut. More excitedly, more than half of these young players achieved top 16 positions in their respective event. I strongly believe, with continued and professional training, these high-potential sports stars will surely stand on the podium of many more world level competitions. I would like to thank our partners, the HKSAR Government, SF&OC, National Sports Associations and The Hong Kong Jockey Club for their long-term support in making this possible.”
“On behalf of the Club, we’d like to extend our congratulations to athletes and coaches for achieving another outstanding performance,” Mr Cheung said. “The Club has been proactively supporting our elite athletes. Examples include the construction of the Hong Kong Sports Institute and other initiatives launched last year, including projects to help athletes develop ‘a dual career pathway’. The Club has also supported training projects for coaches at the Institute.”
The first-time Olympian, windsurfer Cheng Chun-leung, who placed 8th in the overall ranking of the men’s RS:X event, was pleased with his results and said, “All the hard work preparing for the Games paid off when I finished the races in the final round, advancing to the top eighth. I stood best among all Asian athletes, and for that, I will aim higher in future competitions and challenge myself to be one of the top rivals in the world.”
The 19-year-old up-and-coming fencer Cheung Ka-long and his teammate Kong Man-wai also turned a new page of the Hong Kong fencing history in their debut Olympic Games. Cheung placed 14th in the men’s foil while Kong placed 11th in the women’s epee, both are the best Hong Kong fencing team’s record at the Olympics. Cheung said, “It has always been my dream to compete at the Olympic Games, and being part of it, I was impressed by such shining stage where all athletes strived to their highest. This invaluable debut experience has definitely better equipped me not only with skills, but also confidence, for upcoming world level competitions. My goal is to win a medal at the World Championships, and ultimately, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”
Another focus of the Games would be the never give-up spirit demonstrated by cyclist Lee Wai-sze, who had captured the heart of many Hong Kong people. Despite the fall in the keirin event, she maintained her positive attitude, saying, “I am grateful to people in Hong Kong for their enormous encouragement and support, which gave me strength and confidence at the rest of my races. Most importantly, I am honoured to see my experiences at Rio have left Hong Kong people a legacy of sportsmanship in facing challenges.”
Lee also expressed her gratitude for the support of the HKSI and The Hong Kong Jockey Club, “The recognition from the Scheme is another kind of morale booster from the society, which always help motivate athletes to strive for new heights and bring further pride to Hong Kong.”
Established by the HKSI in 1994, the Athlete Incentive Awards Scheme provides cash incentives to local medal winners at various Major Games, with an aim to show recognition and appreciation to their hard work and dedication. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust title sponsors the Scheme by providing cash awards to Hong Kong athletes who achieve outstanding performances at six Games including the Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games, the Asian Games, the Asian Para Games, the National Games and the World University Games.