Commissioner for sports Yeung Tak-keung defends Hong Kong’s Olympic Games showing and asks for public support

The newly appointed official is responsible for implementing the Kai Tak Sports Park, overseeing the new football training centre at Tseung Kwan O, reviewing the provision of sports facilities and devising strategies to improve the governance of sport

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 August, 2016, 7:33pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 August, 2016, 12:08am

Hong Kong’s first commissioner for sports has urged the public to get behind local athletes as he defended the team’s performance at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Most of Hong Kong’s 38-strong team have returned, and there will be no medals, barring a miracle, with only mountain biker Chan Chun-hing left in competition.

WATCH: golden moments on Day 14 at the Rio Olympics

Yeung Tak-keung was appointed to the new role created by chief executive Leung Chun-ying in February as part of his election manifesto.

Yeung spent several days in Brazil watching Hong Kong’s athletes, and cheered on Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching as she competed in the women’s golf.

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The city’s best hope of medal success went crashing to the Siberian pine of the Olympic Velodrome when Sarah Lee Wai-sze was knocked off her bike in the keirin after she felt she could have won at least a silver.

But Yeung insisted any critics of the team for returning home empty-handed should realise the level of competition at the Games as Hong Kong have only ever won three Olympic medals since first competing in 1952.

“I would say I hope they, like all of us, will continue to support our athletes,” said Yeung. “The Olympics is the highest level, it’s very competitive and we are competing against the world’s best.

“It’s not easy to get a medal, we just need to continue to work hard and give our athletes our best support.”

‘Look beyond just medals’: Hong Kong Olympic chief Kenneth Fok defends athletes’ performance at Rio Games

A day earlier, chef de mission Kenneth Fok Kai-kong urged Hong Kong people to avoid looking at Olympic medals as the be all and end all of sporting achievement, saying it is impossible to put a value on the intangible benefits of our athletes at international events.

Yeung’s stated remit is to implement the Kai Tak Sports Park, oversee the new football training centre at Tseung Kwan O, review the provision of sports facilities and devise strategies to improve the governance of sport in the city – all projects it is hoped will boost sport.

“I think the team performed very well, especially several of our young athletes,” Yeung said. “They performed to a high standard and with a little bit more experience I think they can do even better in the future.

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“We in government plan to upgrade both the hardware and software for sports development in Hong Kong.

“Our three objectives are always to support elite athletes’ performance, promote community sports and also attract more major sports events to Hong Kong. We’ll continue to pursue these three objectives.”

And Yeung called on the public to show their support.

“Apart from the government and the sports associations, the community can give [sportspeople] a lot of support.

“In the past week I can see the general public has been very supportive to our athletes here and that’s been fantastic.

“It was very unfortunate Sarah had the minor collision in the first race, but I think she came back very strongly and in the sprint did better than in the London Olympics.

“We have to cheer for her and the other athletes in Hong Kong.”