Recognising all athletes' efforts
In a letter headlined 'SAR officials snubbed brave Olympians' (South China Morning Post, March 23), Ron Tan of Anchorage, Alaska, expressed the hope that the Hong Kong Government and the Hong Kong media would not regard participants in the Special Olympics as 'second-class athletes'.
As far as the SAR Government is concerned, when it comes to representing Hong Kong in international competition, there is no such thing as a 'second-class athlete'.
We recognise the efforts put in by all athletes chosen to represent the SAR, and together with the Hong Kong Sports Development Board (SDB) and other sports organisations, we offer support wherever we can.
Unfortunately, such support cannot extend to accompanying all our various teams and delegations which take part in international events, although we did send representatives to both the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games in Sydney last September and October.
The SDB and the SAR Government will continue to provide support for our athletes to train and compete at the highest level. I can assure your readers that there will be no discrimination between athletes with disabilities and other athletes in this regard.
Finally, I would like to record my appreciation of the hospitality shown by the residents of Anchorage to the Hong Kong Special Olympics team.
This was a generous gesture, and a fine example to us here in the SAR of how our athletes deserve to be honoured for their hard work.
for Secretary for Home Affairs