Hong Kong's Olympic table tennis silver medallists Ko Lai-chak and Li Ching have added their voices to those athletes calling for top-quality training facilities if the Hong Kong Sports Institute (SI) were to be closed down for the 2008 Olympic equestrian events. 'Personally I support the idea of hosting equestrian events in Hong Kong, but if many athletes have to move elsewhere and train in sub-standard facilities, it would greatly affect our preparation for major international competitions and I think no one will want to see this happen,' said Ko, who is in Taipei for the Taiwan Open. 'We need to practise in a venue with facilitates similar to the SI. We need practice courts that are furnished with a decent floor and air-conditioned. I hope the authorities concerned will consider it seriously.' Hong Kong's elite athletes came out on Wednesday to express their disappointment after being told they would have to leave the SI if Hong Kong is awarded the equestrian events. The Hong Kong Elite Athletes Association also slammed the government for neglecting the interests of athletes whenever major decisions in sports policy were taken. Li, who won silver in the men's doubles at the Athens Olympic Games with Ko, agreed with his partner. 'The relocation exercise will disrupt our training programme ... we have been at the SI for many years. If we had to move to another venue, the standard should be on a par with the SI,' said Li. Rebecca Chiu, gold medallist in women's squash at the 2002 Asian Games in Pusan, said the relocation exercise should be conducted with minimum disruption to their training programmes and the support services currently provided by the SI, such as sports science, sports medicine, fitness and conditioning, should remain the same. 'We need quality training facilities, but at the same time we also need other support services which are important to our performance. Neither area can be neglected. In fact, even if we moved to a facility of similar quality to the SI, we still need time to adjust to a new environment, and hopefully it won't take too long,' said Chiu. It is understood that recently appointed SI chairman Eric Li Ka-cheung would meet head coaches next week regarding the latest developments and it seems likely that he will now also meet athletes following their recent requests.