SPORTS chief A. de O. Sales hailed Hong Kong's sporting achievements under British rule and said he expects more success for the territory as a Special Administrative Region of China. In a pre-handover message to the local sporting community, Sales said Hong Kong must continue to develop to preserve credibility as a separate sporting entity from China. 'Hong Kong sport has come a long way since the end of the war half a century ago,' said Sales, president of the Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee (ASF&OC). 'Many people have worked hard and with complete dedication to sport without any monetary advantage. This voluntary leadership in the sports associations has helped Hong Kong make sound progress. 'Now, at a time when conditions are changing, not only for Hong Kong but for the sports community, it is essential that Hong Kong continues to be ahead and develop in the new age for the confidence of the people and to improve standards.' Hong Kong, with a population largely apathetic to sports, have won at least one gold medal in all the major Games - Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and East Asian Games - in the last 11 years. More money has also been poured into Hong Kong sports over the last few years and, in the Hong Kong Sports Institute, the territory possesses one of Asia's finest centres for excellence. Hong Kong will continue to have its own Olympic committee after the handover. International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch will arrive in the territory tomorrow for the handover ceremonies and to ratify the territory's post-handover status. It is expected that the territory's sports teams will be called 'Hong Kong, China' after Monday. Sales has been involved in the National Olympic Committee since it was formed in 1951 and his excellent relations with Samaranch and other high-ranking IOC officials have played a major role in Hong Kong retaining its own sporting identity. 'The Hong Kong NOC has an outstanding reputation worldwide for the way we conduct our business fairly and openly,' said Sales. 'The Hong Kong Chinese are different and their expectations are different.' Sales has been ASF&OC president for more than 20 years and is expected to stand for re-election next year. He also served a four-year term as head of the Commonwealth Games Committee. He presided over the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada, in 1994 when the territory made their final appearance at the Games. Sales, a former chairman of the Urban Council, also expressed confidence in Hong Kong's future in general, 'I have confidence that Hong Kong will continue to be peaceful and prosperous and it will enjoy the same way of life as promised in the Basic Law,' he said.