Hong Kong snooker chief slams Sports Commission support cuts as detrimental to development

The tier A sport receives shortened two-year support cycle from April 1 despite achieving required results in review period

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 March, 2017, 7:20pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 March, 2017, 10:54pm

Hong Kong snooker chief Danny Mak Yiu-hoi has hit out at the Sport Commission’s decision to reduce its cycle of support from four years to two.

Just days after Ng On-yee clinched her second World Championship in three years in Singapore, snooker has a cloud hanging over its future.

“All we can say is we are very disappointed,” said Hong Kong Billiard Sports Control Council chairman Mak.

Snooker has received the elite vote support since 2009. It fulfilled the requirements to stay at the programme as it scored 12 points out of a benchmark of nine and has athletes who have medalled at World Championships over the last two-year review period.

However, it is believed snooker received a shortened support cycle because it is no longer part of the Asian Games nor the Olympic Games programme.

“We have kept producing results not only through Ng but also many other athletes at junior levels,” added Mak. “Now we have to tell them you may not receive the same support to pursue your career in two years and may have to leave the Sports Institute.

Hong Kong’s Ng On-yee regains world title after titanic final against Vidya Pillai

“This is detrimental to our development programmes which require a long period of nurturing before getting the results and poses difficulties to keep the young players without giving them a secured long-term future.”

The Commission, which advises the government on policies, strategies and implementation of framework for sports development in Hong Kong, approved 19 tier A sports from April 1, with triathlon and skating newcomers.

Of the 17 original sports, karatedo, gymnastics, tennis, rugby sevens and sailing were given a two-year grace period for failing to fulfil the requirements to stay as a tier A sport. All other sports have received a support period of four years subject to a two-year review.

Tier A sports receive Sports Institute funding for elite training programmes, dedicated coaching led by a head coach, full sports science and medicine support and athlete development programmes. Athletes under tier A sports programmes receive elite training grants which can reach a maximum HK$ 36,000 a month.