Eye opener: Olympic Games chiefs welcome arrival of Hong Kong secretary for home affairs

Lau Kong-wah met with coaches and athletes, and also attend the flag-raising ceremony following his arrival in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the opening ceremony

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 August, 2016, 12:24pm
UPDATED : Friday, 05 August, 2016, 11:35pm

Hong Kong Olympic chiefs hope the secretary for home affairs’ presence in Rio de Janeiro will help open the government’s eyes to the hard work and sacrifices made by local athletes in their pursuit of excellence.

Lau Kong-wah started his Rio mission by visiting the rowing venue for the Olympics, where he chatted with coaches and athletes. He also attend the Hong Kong team’s flag-raising ceremony at the Athletes’ Village.

“I believe it will be a fruitful trip for Mr Lau as this is the first Olympic Games for him in his capacity as secretary for home affairs,” said Hong Kong chef de mission Kenneth Fok Kai-kong.

“He will have many chances to speak to athletes face to face, understanding not just about their success but also the difficulties they face.”

While funding for Hong Kong athletes is adequate, Olympic officials have long urged the government to take sport more seriously.

Lau said he was impressed by the Hong Kong athletes’ desire to succeed at the Rio Games and said the government was making efforts to raise the profile of sport.

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“I know the athletes will do their very best. I met some of them and they seemed very confident and I’m excited about their prospects,” said Lau.

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“We [the government] do support sports and we are going to build a sports city in Kai Tak. It will be beneficial for all and beneficial for the next generation of sports men and women.”

Hong Kong’s Olympic efforts will inevitable see the city’s athletes come up against rivals from the mainland.

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When asked who he would support, Hong Kong or China, Lau replied: “I support the Hong Kong team but them Team China is also from our country. I hope [both teams] achieve good results.”