Hong Kong's medal winners at major games will continue to be granted cash rewards after all, with the payments coming out of the Hong Kong Sports Institute's budget. There had been concern that the payments could be stopped but the chief executive of the institute, Chung Pak-kwong, said yesterday the board had decided to continue with the Athletes Incentive Awards Scheme previously run by the Sports Development Board, which was disbanded in October. 'I am glad that the issue has been settled and athletes who win medals in major games for Hong Kong will continue to receive cash rewards from the institute,' said Chung. 'We will have to identify additional resources for the rewards, but since our athletes have made big progress on the international stage recently, their hard work and efforts should be rewarded and recognised accordingly.' Chung said they had worked out a budget of $1 million for the three forthcoming major games to be held in the second half of 2005 - the World University Games in Turkey, the National Games in Jiangsu and the East Asian Games in Macau. 'We will also try to find commercial sponsors to match the offer on a dollar-for-dollar basis so that the eventual figure can be doubled up,' he added. It is understood that Hang Seng Bank, which had matched the incentive scheme on a dollar-for-dollar basis for the two previous National Games, is willing to continue its support for the forthcoming Nanjing Games in October. An athlete will earn $150,000 for a gold medal from the National Games. The figure could be doubled with the assistance of a sponsor. Hong Kong have won three gold medals at the National Games since their debut appearance in 1997 - all from cycling with Wong Kam-po taking two and Ho Siu-lun winning the other. Chung said the institute must solve the financial implications of the scheme in a long run as it covers a total of seven major games, which also includes the Olympics, Paralympics, Asian Games and Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled (Fespic). 'We need to bring this out sooner and no later as it involves a large sum of money,' he said. 'Additional subvention from the government is a possible way out and we will need to sit down and talk to them.' The institute had not allocated any money to the incentive scheme when it presented the budget for 2005-06 to its board of directors in April. There were heated discussions after a review was called for.