PolyU and HKSI Sign MOU to Foster Dual Career Pathways for Elite Athletes
The Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to pave the way for closer collaboration on providing substantial support to full time elite athletes’ in their dual career development both in sports and in studies.
The MOU was signed by Dr Trisha Leahy BBS, Chief Executive of the HKSI, and Professor Timothy W Tong PhD JP, President of PolyU, witnessed by The Honourable Lau Kong-wah JP, Secretary for Home Affairs; Mr Yeung Tak-keung JP, Commissioner for Sports; Mr Chan Tze-ching BBS JP, Council Chairman of PolyU; and Dr Lam Tai-fai SBS JP, Chairman of HKSI.
The MOU sets a framework of a special arrangement relating to the admission and study of eligible HKSI full-time scholarship elite athletes who wish to apply for full-time undergraduate and higher diploma programmes in PolyU. Other than awarding scholarships to eligible student athletes as an encouragement, the collaboration encompasses flexibility in tertiary study by extending the study period, which is particularly crucial to athletes who need to attend intensive training routines and worldwide competitions. PolyU will also provide individual mentorship service to support athletes ranging from academic works to general adjustment to university life.
Dr Leahy in her welcoming remarks reiterated the significance of the provision of holistic support to empower young and gifted athletes to reach their full potential. She said, “The collaboration with PolyU effectively addresses the needs on flexible and integrated tertiary education for student athletes. This goes well with HKSI’s endeavour to shape a sustainable future for elite athletes by balancing both full-time training and academic development.” She continued to thank PolyU for rendering support and committing a common goal to strengthen the elite sport development.
Prof Timothy W Tong said the collaboration between PolyU and HKSI will facilitate the young athletes in their dual career development in both sports and studies. He said, “PolyU has always been supportive to nurturing Hong Kong athletes. Since the launch of PolyU’s Outstanding Sportsmen Recommendation Scheme in 1998, over 800 athletes have studied in PolyU through the scheme. The Elite Athletes Study Programme to be soon implemented by PolyU and HKSI will provide further support to athletes. PolyU is very confident that, with our 20 years of experience in nurturing athletes and HKSI’s committed support, the athletes in PolyU will be able to excel in both academic achievements and sports."
Elite squash athlete Au Wing-chi, who graduated from Business Administration in Management at PolyU, shared how she struck a balance between training and academics. She continued to thank her coaches at HKSI and PolyU for offering support and flexibility in her study, “During the time when I was preparing for the 2010 Asian Games, PolyU extended my last year’s study which allowed me to have sufficient time to complete the course. Also, I am very pleased to learn that the education and sporting sectors join hands to render growing support to the sports development, and the dual-career development of athletes.”
PolyU student and elite swimmer Ng Chun-nam was glad to see this collaboration between HKSI and PolyU. He said, “The MOU further enhances support to athletes’ dual-career development and will bring wider career pathway opportunities to retired athletes. More importantly, through tertiary education, athletes will acquire knowledge of new subjects other than sports, leading to new inspiration in thinking.”
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. PolyU is the fifth university engaged in MOU with the HKSI for supporting athletes on their dual career pathway in their sporting life.