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Findings of HK survey misleading - coaches

A SURVEY by a leading Hong Kong business college claims that over half the territory's top athletes train for only 12 hours or less a week - and that nearly a quarter of them spend only half that time a week in training.

But the results, which were published yesterday, produced an angry response from two of Hong Kong's leading coaches.

The survey was funded by the Hong Kong Baptist College Faculty Research Grant and conducted by a Department of Physical Education lecturer, Patrick Chan Ping-cheung, and an assistant lecturer of the Department of Marketing at the Baptist College, William Chong Kam-fu.

A total of 325 athletes from 15 sports took part in the survey, with 77 First Division basketball players and 111 First Division footballers providing almost 60 per cent of the samples.

The survey claims that: It takes five years, on average, for local athletes to be promoted to elite level.

More than half the athletes spend 12 hours or less a week training and a quarter spend six hours or less.

More than 60 per cent of elite athletes feel that sport is not a top priority for the Hong Kong Government.

More than half feel that the quantity and quality of sports facilities available are below international standard.

A total of 39 per cent of full-time athletes and 50 per cent of part-time athletes feel their national sports association is not well organised.

A full-time athlete in Hong Kong earns between $9,500 and $12,000 a month - lower than the $14,500 they feel they deserve to earn.

A part-time athlete earns an average of $1,000 or less per month. Half of them receive no income at all from sport. They feel they deserve to earn $12,000 a month.

Commenting on the number of hours spent training, Hong Kong's head swim coach, Bill Sweetenham, said: ''That's absolutely ridiculous. Robyn Lamsam, for instance, is doing 26 hours a week and that does not include watching swimming videos and meeting the sports psychologist and nutritionist.

''If you spend 12 hours a week training you are not even a recreational athlete.'' Head rowing coach Chris Perry added: ''It's a joke. Our elite athletes train for 25 hours a week on average. Even our development group juniors put in more than 12 hours.''