HKASA has faith in new swim coach
CHAN Yiu-hoi's appointment as head swimming coach of the Hong Kong Sports Institute does not automatically qualify him for the job of national coach - if such a post continues to exist.
President of the Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association (HKASA), A. de O. Sales, said Chan would have to prove himself just like his predecessors, Australian Bill Sweetenham and Englishman David Haller.
Sales said the HKASA supported Chan's promotion at the Institute but added a lot would depend on the outcome of the body's ongoing restructuring programme.
'The Institute and ASA are working together and we supported Chan's appointment,' said Sales. 'Chan must show what he can do, the same as Bill Sweetenham and David Haller did before him.
'But the ASA are progressively reorganising and time will tell if we have a national coach or several association coaches.
'We have many ideas for a change of structure as we do not always stick to the same plan. There has been a lot of outside input as well and after the World Cup, we will sit down and re-examine our position.' Hong Kong hosts one leg of the World Cup short-course series, which starts tomorrow at the Kowloon Park Indoor Pool, with Chan being one of the three Hong Kong coaches.
Sales said a significant contribution was received from Chan's immediate predecessor, Sweetenham, who called for a decentralised development programme in which Chan would oversee the workings of five or six regional centres of excellence.
Sweetenham returns to Australia after more than three years in Hong Kong and has supported Chan as his most likely successor.
Meanwhile, Sales, who is also president of the Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee, said Hong Kong swimmers would be among the territory's athletes to receive $700,000 in prize money incentives.
The cash would be presented at the federation's spring dinner in late February, although the money would be given to the respective associations.
'We must not down-play Hong Kong performances in the major games,' said Sales.
'In swimming, we had 20 finalists last year at the major games and championships.
'In the other main Olympic sport, track and field, we also had some good performances.
'It must be remembered that, at the Asian Games, each country was allowed two representatives in each event rather than one. Hong Kong had to contend with strong competition and also the presence of athletes from the Central Asian countries.'