Cash awards for athletes
By Judy Ngao
Hong Kong's top athletes were rewarded for their brilliant performances at two major international sporting events last year.
The Athlete Incentive Awards Scheme prize presentation, organised by the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI), honoured local athletes' remarkable achievements at the 15th Doha Asian Games and the ninth Far East and South Pacific (Fespic) Games for the Disabled held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Hong Kong's ace cyclist Wong Kam-po, the 2006 Asian Games gold medallist in the men's individual road race, said it was important for athletes' hard work to be recognised.
'The HKSI launched this scheme in 1994 and it has certainly given me a boost each time I perform well in a competition,' Wong said. 'I am delighted to have won my second Asian Games gold medal and I thank the HKSI for providing me not only tangible rewards but encouragement and recognition over the years.'
Wheelchair fencing world champion Chan Yui-chong, who won three gold and one silver medal at the 2006 Fespic Games, also thanked the HKSI for its support. 'Recognition gives us the incentive to work even harder so we can gain better results in future international competitions,' said the 23-year-old.
Hong Kong won a record 28 medals - six gold, 12 silver and 10 bronze - in Qatar last month for their best-ever performance in the multi-sports showpiece.
The city's athletes also put on a superb show at the Fespic Games in November, capturing 25 gold, 30 silver and 25 bronze medals. They finished seventh on the medal tables after China, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Iran and Japan. A total of 103 medallists - 42 who shone at the Asian Games and 61 at the Fespic Games - were rewarded for their efforts.
HKSI chairman, Eric Li Ka-cheung, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, president of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, and Jenny Fung, chairman of the Hong Kong Paralympic Committee and Sports Association for the Physically Disabled, attended last Saturday's ceremony.
About 200 athletes, coaches, representatives from national sports associations and government officials were also present.
Athletes received cash awards totalling HK$4,771,000.