Lingnan University and HKSI Sign MOU to Foster Dual Career Pathways for Elite Athletes
The HKSI and the Lingnan University today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further boost the substantial support to full-time elite athletes in facilitating their planning on dual career development both in sports and in academics.
The MOU was signed by Dr Trisha Leahy BBS, Chief Executive of the HKSI, and Prof Leonard K Cheng BBS JP, President of Lingnan University, witnessed by Mr Yeung Tak-keung JP, Commissioner for Sports; Prof Joshua Mok Ka-Ho, Vice-President of Lingnan University; and Mrs Fung Ma Kit-han Jenny BBS JP, Vice-Chairman of the HKSI.
Under the MOU, the HKSI may nominate full-time elite scholarship athletes to enroll the academic programmes in Lingnan University including Undergraduate Degree and Postgraduate programmes as well as Higher Diploma and Associate Degree Programmes in Lingnan Institute of Further Education (LIFE). To accommodate intensive training and competition schedules of athlete students, the University provides flexibility in curriculum delivery, empowering them to attend full-time training as well as local and overseas competition. Lingnan University also offers rooms on extensibility of study and graduation timeline on a case-by-case basis. Individualised mentor support on both academic advice and career planning will also be available for each admitted elite athlete.
In his address, Prof Leonard K Cheng mentioned that Lingnan University has supported outstanding Taekwondo, basketball and rugby local athletes since the launch of the Entrance Scholarships for Elite Athletes in 2017. He hoped that the scholarship scheme would be promoted to more sports to benefit more athletes through the partnership with the Hong Kong Sports Institute. He also point out, “Today’s signing ceremony is a testimony to the commitment of Lingnan to support young athletes in Hong Kong. Through collaborating with the Hong Kong Sports Institute, we aim to nurture more outstanding athletes and win glory for Hong Kong. In the future, I wish that athletes who are admitted to Lingnan will be able to embrace the liberal arts education and learning environment of the University wholeheartedly, and to thrive in their athletic career and studies.
Mrs Fung Ma Kit-han Jenny remarked, “The MOU provides elite athletes with flexible access to tertiary education, which enables athletes to pursue their sporting dream while continuing university study. The collaboration will certainly help athletes better cater for the career need in the future.” She also thanked Lingnan University for sharing the same vision with the HKSI on whole-person development and looked forward to an even more integrated collaboration with the University in the future.
Karatedo athlete Lai Shuet-yan shared at the ceremony, her study life at Lingnan University and the experiences in handling training and academics at the same time. She enrolled an undergraduate degree programme in Business Administration in 2009, and since then she won medals at several annual university competitions. She said, “Before I joined HKSI, I had put extra effort in striking balance between training and study. I felt really thankful to my lecturers for providing flexibility in classes and examination arrangement. Today’s ceremony definitely brings good news to all young elite athletes who are at the crossroad between continuing study and turning into full-time athletes.”
Elite athlete Fong Kit-fung (rugby), who completed a diploma Yi Jin progamme at LIFE, is very supportive to this collaboration. Currently competing at the International Rugby 7s 2018 in Singapore, Fong pointed out in a recorded interview that the importance of dual career development to athletes. He said, “I am planning to take a sport coaching programme, in order to acquire theory of coaching and to pave my way to becoming a professional sports coach.”
Preparing for the WKF Senior Championships at Spain, full-time elite athlete Wong Cheuk-lee (karatedo), who was graduated from a bachelor degree in Social Science of Lingnan University in 2017, also shared her experiences through a short video, “It was quite a challenge for me at the time when I had to manage study and training simultaneously. But my coaches and some elder friends in Lingnan rendered lots of support and advices to me so I managed to overcome all the difficulties in both karatedo and university life. I am also glad to hear that postgraduate programmes are included in this MOU which provides more options for athletes who are already degree holders.”
Targeting to attract more sporting talents to devote themselves in full-time training, the HKSI has established Elite Athlete-friendly School Network in 2014 and Partnership School Programme in 2015. Lingnan University is the sixth university engaged in MOU with the HKSI for supporting athletes on their dual career pathways in their sporting life.