Hong Kong’s sporting bodies are uniting in their efforts to convince the government to allow them to resume sporting activities. “The blanket closure of all sporting facilities is not acceptable to most people,” said Hong Kong Tennis Association president Philip Mok, noting the HKTA posted another plea on its social media sites for the government’s ear. “It's been many months since the first wave and the government should put a system in place to regulate which facilities should be kept open or closed depending on the severity of the situation.” Danny Lai, the chief executive officer for the Hong Kong Golf Association, said a “phased reopening” could be done along with the adoption of “robust” social-distancing measures. “Many coaches and caddies currently have no means to earn an income due to the closure of golf venues,” said Lai, who noted Hong Kong has five golf courses and multiple driving ranges. “A phased reopening is crucial to helping coaches and caddies whose livelihoods depend on access to the golf venues, allowing Hong Kong team and professional players to hone their skills, and offering social players the opportunities to enhance their physical and mental well-being.” David Pool, the head coach of the Hong Kong Island Stingrays swimming club, said swimming is an activity that can be done by people of all ages and athletic capabilities due to its low impact on the body. “Swimming has been impacted harder than most other sports by the coronavirus due to the fact that we need to train in a body of water, either in a swimming pool or the ocean, and with both of those options closed for the past eight months, as you can imagine, its had a massive impact on our club, and I can imagine the whole Hong Kong members of swimming.” Group wants judicial review of decision to close sports facilities Pool said there are 44 public swimming facilities and 1,280 licensed pools in total. “So this has an impact on learn to swim, recreational, the general club swimmer, to the top international swimmers who are also missing out.” Andy Brothers, who is the general manager of the The Country Club at Hong Lok Yuen and a former tennis pro said the fact that Hong Kong’s 600 or so tennis courts across the city have been closed for more than a month is unacceptable. “It’s ludicrous,” Brothers said. “The government continues to keep all sports and recreational venues closed while shopping malls, night markets and general businesses are operating as normal. The majority of sports inherently promote social distancing.” Hong Kong has been under its most strict regulations to combat the city’s third Covid-19 wave, which include a mandatory policy on wearing masks outdoors, even while exercising. Brothers is hoping to unite the sporting landscape and launch a judicial review of the government’s restrictions, which he calls “arbitrary and inequitable”. On Friday, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said at a press conference that the government is considering relaxing some restrictions when it comes to sports and recreational facilities, but did not elaborate. “Government officials are happy to stand on podiums with Hong Kong’s winning sportsmen and women when they are winning medals, but now turn a deaf ear to their plight in their time of need,” said Brothers, who added there is an estimated 1,000 tennis coaches in Hong Kong, while a further 200,000 play the game regularly according to a 2017 consultancy report. Cough up Carrie, Hong Kong’s coaches need cash to survive Covid-19 It is now eight months since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak and Hong Kong’s coaches have only received a one-off relief subsidy of HK$7,500. And six months ago the government overlooked the sports sector when it introduced its first HK$30 billion relief package when other hard-hit industries such as retail, food and drink, transport, arts and culture and tourism were suffering. Private venue operators pleaded with the government a month ago to let them resume some low-risk sports such as tennis, golf and other outdoor activities. A change.org petition gathered thousands of signatures four weeks ago. It was started by a local citizen who said she wants to play tennis with her family to help them cope with the restrictions aimed at fighting Covid-19.