The Hong Kong Handball Association has appealed to the government for access to better facilities to raise the standard of the local game in the wake of Hong Kong's Silver Plate victory at the 6th HKSAR Burt's Bees International Handball Tournament. While Hong Kong hosts an annual handball tournament inviting teams from across Asia and Europe, for the rest of the year the national side lacks even a proper pitch to practise on, and is forced to train on a concrete court at Choi Hung Road Playground. The floor is the most important piece of equipment besides the ball, according to the International Handball Federation. It recommends a surface that is hard enough that the ball can bounce, relatively smooth to allow for sliding and with sufficient resilience to cushion an impact. Hard materials like cement are highlighted as being inappropriate. But Hong Kong coach Michael Lau Ying-cheung said the association lacked the money to hire indoor venues or the portable synthetic rubber flooring used during last weekend's competition. The flooring, which belongs to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), remains rolled up in a closet at Kowloon Park for the rest of the year. Lau explained the government sponsored individual sports according to the results achieved, which made it difficult for developing sports to secure adequate funding. 'What comes first - the chicken or the egg? If we produce better performances we get more funding, but without even a training venue, raising the game is difficult,' said Lau. 'With more funding, we could at least train indoors and practise the techniques we need to improve on,' he added. His calls were echoed by Marina Tsui Wai-fan, chairwoman of the Executive Committee for the handball association, who said the team had benefited from greater exposure in national and international tournaments but still lacked the basic facilities on which to hone their skills. 'The team would surely benefit from indoor training because players can be well trained on and get used to tournament venues as all handball games are held indoor,' she said. 'Moreover, they would not get injured as easily as on concrete and training sessions will not be affected by bad weather.' However a spokeswoman for the LCSD said it was time constraints rather than a lack of money that denied the team access to their favoured turf. 'It took two days to set up the special flooring for the tournament,' she said. 'It would be impractical to set it up before every training session, which occur twice a week and only last three hours.'