The Hong Kong National Olympic Committee yesterday urged the territory's sports leaders to dispel any lingering doubts about the territory's post-1997 sporting future following a visit to Beijing by a large local delegation at the weekend. Con Conway, vice-president of the Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee (ASF & OC), said the visit, while not a waste of time, served only to confirm what was already known. The ASF & OC last year came under fire from certain legislators who felt the body had not done enough to ensure Hong Kong would be able to compete as a separate entity after the handover to Chinese rule in July, 1997. The delegation, led by local tycoon Henry Fok, included Sports Development Board chief executive Andrew Ma, Hong Kong Sports Institute director Dennis Whitby and around 30 representatives from local sports associations. They met with top Chinese leaders including China's sports supremo Wu Shaozu, who once again gave reassurances on the territory's post-1997 sporting independence. Said Conway: 'It has been made manifestly clear from international leaders and the Basic Law that Hong Kong will be able to compete as a separate body after 1997. 'The ASF & OC has been very relaxed about this and we hope now that there are no more doubts on this issue. 'I think the visit was worthwhile because it was a nice getting-to-know-you type trip and the associations represented were able to have some sort of re-confirmation, even though it has already been made manifestly clear.' Ma said the meetings with the Chinese were cordial and helped to clear up any previous doubts. 'They assured us that, according to the Basic Law, Hong Kong will continue to compete in international events under its own banner,' said Ma. 'They gave us assurances that Beijing looks at Hong Kong favourably as far as Hong Kong's sporting independence is concerned. 'It was basically a courtesy call and the message from the Chinese leaders was one of assurance. 'This kind of exchange was very healthy and timely and we would definitely like to see this as a beginning of a more comprehensive exchange and would love to see a delegation coming down and visit us in the very near future.' Hong Kong's sporting future was confirmed by International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch at the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima.