GYMNASTICS may lose its place in the Hong Kong Sports Institute's scholarship programme if standards do not improve. This is the view of outgoing Institute head Paul Brettell, who is here for the Games. Brettell also said his replacement, Dennis Whitby, may have to review athletics role in the Institute set-up after a conflict in Victoria between head coach Garry Brown and Hong Kong Games' officials. Australian Brettell, who takes up the chief executive post at the Moonee Valley Racing Club in Melbourne next month, said he was disappointed with the performance of Hong Kong's gymnasts at the Games. Both the territory's men's and women's squads failed to make an impression at the Games, although both teams, consisting of four gymnasts each, were hampered by injury. Said Brettell: ''The gymnastics was very disappointing. I really do think we have to take a close look at gymnastics after [October's] Asian Games. ''Hong Kong may never have enough gymnasts to do well in team events and maybe the emphasis should be on specialising in certain events. ''But if gymnastics is not making any improvements in about two years then we must really ask ourselves if it is a worthwhile sport to continue with at the Institute in the longer term.'' He said gymnastics was one of the first sports to be included in the Institute's scholarship programme when it was initiated nearly nine years ago. The Institute's head gymnastics coach Jim Wilson is leaving Hong Kong before the end of the year after 12 years in the territory. Brettell added that the Institute must work with the Hong Kong Amateur Athletics Association in order to define more clearly Brown's role in the overall coaching setup. Brown was not given official accreditation for the Games by the association and encountered problems in gaining access to the territory's three athletes taking part in the Games. The former Australian Commonwealth 400 metres hurdles champion is head coach of the Institute's three-year athletics development programme, which has about one year to run. Said Brettell: ''The fact that Hong Kong have only one official athletics coach on the team is not a problem. ''But we must really look at what role the Institute coach has to play. The association must be thinking of how they can provide the best support to the athletes. ''If it's a case that the Institute coaches have no role to play, then we must review the sport's future at the Institute.'' Overall, however, Brettell was impressed by Hong Kong's performances at the Games so far, especially the badminton squad, who won a bronze medal in the mixed team event and Maggie Chan Man-yee, who broke her national record for the women's 3,000 metres. He also feels the swimming squad are making progress, despite no new national records being set, so far, at the Games. Whitby, when he takes over next month, must tackle the problem of finding replacements for head badminton coach Diana Lo Leung Bik-luen and swimming coach Bill Sweetenham, both of whom are leaving at the end of the year. Brettell feels that Whitby will not have to look far. He thinks Sweetenham's understudy, Chan Yiu-hoi, should take over the swimming job while 1990 Commonwealth Games badminton gold medallist Chan Chi-choi would be an ideal successor to Lo. ''Chan Yiu-hoi has been Bill's understudy for a number of years and if he is not ready now, he will never be,'' said Brettell. ''He has the confidence of the swimmers and has done a great job. Of course, it will be Dennis' duty, but in my opinion he should get it. ''Similarly, Chan Chi-choi should get the badminton head coach job.'' Chan is Lo's assistant coach in Victoria.