Sports for more schools

SPORTS will no longer be the privilege of schools with standard sports facilities. The $12.5 million ''Go! Sport Programme'', starting next month, will provide all students a sporting opportunity with emphasis on fun and fitness.

The first large-scale long-term sports programme in the territory, organised by the Hong Kong Sports Development Board (SDB) and supported by the Education Department, comprises five components - EasySport, Sport Design Competition, SportSpeak, SportCamp/Sportclinic and SportCaptain.

EasySport introduces students to four modified games - tennis, fencing, table-tennis and football. At least two more sports will be added each year beginning next school year.

Ms Betty Mair, who heads the programme advisory panel, said the four were chosen because they were inter-school games and had considerable base for development.

The sports have been scaled down to meet the physical and intellectual development of students. The modified sports also allow smaller schools to launch the programme.

For mini-tennis, schools could use badminton courts by lowering the nets, Ms Mair said.

In the first year, 15 pilot primary schools will be selected to receive a $5,000 grant to buy equipment. In the 1995-96 year, up to 50 schools will receive funds for the programme.

Ms Mair said schools that were not much involved in some of the on-going activities would be given priority to join the programme.

''For example, if mini-tennis has already been promoted in a primary school by the Hong Kong Tennis Association, we won't touch that school. It's important that we do not overlap with schools that are already in some other programmes,'' she said.

Another component, SportDesign Competition, will also be launched next month. It encourages secondary school principals and teachers to design sports programmes for their own schools.

Ten winning schools will receive a $20,000 cash prize this school year. The deadline for entries is December 31.

''Although only a limited number of schools can benefit from this competition, it is a motivating factor to try to direct interest into this area and to get more people to take part,'' Ms Mair said.

SportSpeak is a comprehensive public education campaign that defines the benefits of sport to the public in general through exhibitions, talks and seminars. Twenty well-known members of the community, including legislators and athletes, have been invitedto be the Go! Sport ambassadors to help promote the programme.

SportCamp/SportClinic is aimed at stirring students' interest in a wide range of sports and to increase their sports knowledge. SportCamp is available to all primary and secondary school students, starting in 1994-95. SportClinic is for secondary school students only.

The SportCaptain training programme is to help senior students develop their leadership skills and promote the idea of volunteering their services.

Selected students can enter the Sports Leader Award competition which offers the chance to go on an overseas exchange visit.

The school launch, which will involve 1,700 schools, will be a full day workshop introducing the Go! Sport Programme, on October 9 at Sha Tin Town Hall.