Those wondering why Hong Kong does not perform better in the Olympics might find some answers in a new survey showing that most of the city's young people are indifferent to local sport. The poll of 674 teenagers released yesterday by the Hong Kong Institute of Education and the Roundtable Community found that 58 per cent say they have little to no interest in sporting events involving local players or played in local facilities. When asked why, 30 per cent cited a lack of media coverage before and during local events and 14 per cent cited the relatively low calibre of local competitions. But 38 per cent said they saw no reason to be interested. The results of the survey alarmed its organisers, who argue that participation in sporting events is crucial to a young person's social development. 'Whether it is for immersion in the sport, for appreciation, or for achieving some social objective through the sport itself, personal participation is important,' said Gary Wong Pui-fang, the vice chancellor of the Roundtable Community, a youth think tank. It is not that Hongkongers do not like sport. They just prefer sporting events played elsewhere. The city's youth usually follow the English Premier League, the NBA and the Olympic Games, among others. Those surveyed said they would prefer a grass-roots approach to promoting local sport, with 41 per cent saying the focus should be on school- and community-based sport. Organisers said Hongkongers tended to focus on economics and place more emphasis on mathematics and science. They said Hong Kong needed to develop all aspects of its society, including sport, to maintain its status as a world city. 'To be an international city is not to simply excel in economic performance,' HKIEd Professor Joshua Mok Kam-ho said. 'It is also about culture and recreation, where recreation is not just about sports, but also about a pursuit for personal well-being and the sustainable development of society.'