When Anthony Giorgi, the newly appointed head athletics coach at the Sports Institute, first coached a Hong Kong athlete 10 years ago, it was Tam Chi-kin, a breaststroker in swimming.
The Australian then worked as the senior strength and conditioning coach at the Queensland Academy of Sport before taking up his new role in athletics at the Sha Tin high-performance training complex this month.
"I have been working with a lot of athletes in different sports, and Chi-kin was one of them when he came down to Australia for a training stint," said Giorgi, who was at the Xtep Hong Kong League Round 2 in Wan Chai this past weekend. "I can see many young and good athletes with a lot of potential here in Hong Kong and hopefully my expertise can help them win on the world stage."
Although Giorgi does not come from a specific track-and-field coaching background, his vast experience in providing support services can help the sport in Hong Kong.
"I don't envisage a lot of day-to-day training with the athletes but I can provide them with specialist services in planning, monitoring and delivery of individualised training programmes," he said.
"I have been doing this with many top athletes in Australia including in athletics, which is a primary sport at the Queensland Academy of Sport."
Kwan Kee, chairman of the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association, is confident the new head coach can help the city's athletes.
"He is an expert in strength and conditioning with a lot of experience in working with track-and-field athletes," Kwan said.
"We are not worried that he does not have a specific athletics coaching background, as we have many quality coaches in individual track-and-field disciplines. The new head coach is required to play a management role in helping our coaches and athletes obtain the most advanced knowledge in sports and get the best out of modern sports science."
Kwan said the association would work with the Sports Institute to get more qualified individual coaches to help specific disciplines.
"Our future direction is to get quality coaches in different disciplines such as sprinting, mid- and long-distance running, jumping events and throwing events, as there are so many disciplines in the sport."
Hong Kong are already banking on the experience of former Japan head coach Susumu Takano to build a strong 4x400-metre relay team. Takano, 51, who still holds the 400m national record of 44.78 seconds in Japan, was in town in February for lectures and met Hong Kong athletes.
The association is also hoping to hire another Japanese, Shinetsu Murao, a renowned mid- and long-distance running coach. Murao has been the South Korean squad's head coach and also worked in a number of countries in the Middle East.