Hung presses for more funds
John Hung, chairman of the Hong Kong Sports Development Board, tried his best to get a firm commitment from the Government to increase its financial support for sport. But Hung met his match in Secretary for Home Affairs Lam Woon-kwong.
In his opening address at the Sports Marketing Awards presentation ceremony at the Grand Hyatt Hotel yesterday, Hung urged the Government to give the SDB additional recurrent funding to prepare athletes for international events, in particular the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
'In his recent policy speech the Chief Executive said 'plans are in hand to begin constructing quality sports facilities . . . and we are examining ways to make sports more popular as well as further improve the standard of our fine sportsmen and sportswomen'. This is a tremendous endorsement and I urge the Government to give us more funding,' said Hung.
When it was his turn to speak, the Secretary for Home Affairs echoed his boss' words, saying: 'We are determined to invest more to promote sports in Hong Kong.' But he fell short of actually coming out and pledging extra funding, saying he did not want to upset his colleagues in the Treasury Department.
Government funding - last year it gave $207 million - is the major source of income for Hong Kong sport. The other source is sponsorship. And yesterday Hong Kong sport said thanks to its sponsors and awarded them the recognition they deserve.
Credit Suisse First Boston won the Best Sports Event Sponsorship award for their backing of the 2000 Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, while the Most Creative Sports Sponsorship award went to Samsung National Geographic Channel Action Asia Challenge 2000 Hong Kong. The Best Long-Term Commitment to Sports Sponsorship went to All Hong Kong Schools Jing Ying Tournaments and the Best Youth Sports Sponsorship award went to McDonald's Star Programme for their backing of the Youth Football Scheme. Hang Seng Bank received a special award for being the Outstanding Marketing Contributor to Sport for its development programme in table tennis.