HKU School of Public Health hosts University Grants Committee Conference on “Springboard to Success ─ Balancing University and Elite Sports”

Friday, 24 November 2017

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The School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) hosts a University Grants Committee (UGC)Conferenceon “Springboard to Success - Balancing University and Elite Sports” today (November 24).

Sponsored by the UGC and supported by Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China; Hong Kong Sports Institute; Hong Kong Elite Athletes Association; and HKU Centre for Sports and Exercise, the Conference aims to foster dual career pathways for athletes and promotesa more athlete friendly culture at universities.

UGC Chairman Mr Carlson Tong; UGC Secretary-General Dr Richard Armour; President of Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, Mr Timothy Fok; members/delegates of Heads of Universities Committee; as well as a wide spectrum of community stakeholders including government officials; university administrators; sports associations, clubs and organisations; university students; parents; school principals and career masters attended the conference.

“Today’s conference represents an important milestone for all eight UGC-funded universities to express our support towards the UGC’s position on promoting an athlete friendly culture at universities and providing our students with more flexibility, options, and guidance to excel athletically and academically,” said Professor Peter Mathieson, President and Vice-Chancellor of HKU in his welcoming remarks.

Mr Carlson Tong, Chairman of UGC added, “Sports is an integral part of students’ life and is vital for the whole person development of students” in his opening remarks. Mr Tong encouraged more collaboration of universities, schools and sports organisations to drive sport participation in the community and to facilitate elite athletes’ achievement of a balance between training and competition in sports and academic development.

As a way to solidify the collective commitment and determination towards this important UGC initiative, a Pledge and Signing Ceremony with representatives from the eight UGC-funded universities including Professor Horace Ip, Vice-President (Student Affairs) of City University of Hong Kong; Professor Roland Chin, President and Vice-Chancellor of Hong Kong Baptist University; Professor Leonard Cheng, President of Lingnan University; Professor Dennis Ng, Pro-Vice-Chancellor/Vice-President of the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Professor Stephen Cheung, President and Chair Professor of Public Policy of the Education University of Hong Kong; Professor Chetwyn Chan, Associate Vice President (Learning & Teaching) of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Professor Sabrina Lin, Vice-President for Institutional Advancement of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; and Professor Peter Mathieson, President and Vice-Chancellor of HKU, was held.

Through signing the Pledge, the eight universities have agreed to: (1) Commit to students’ whole person development; (2) Promote an athlete friendly culture at universities; (3) Provide more opportunities for students who excel in sports to be admitted to universities; (4) Facilitate athletes’ efforts in training and competitions as well as in academic work by providing support and flexibility; (5) Foster dual career pathways for athletes; (6) Explore the development of articulation pathways to university studies for athletes.

The conference was followed by four moderated plenary sessions and speeches covering the perspectives of professionals; students; universities and sports organisations. The audience heard from former elite athletes on how sports and university education had made transformational changes in their life; experiences of current elite athlete students and the challenges they encounter in balancing training and academic studies; perspectives of universities on how they can collaborate to foster dual career pathways for athletes; and the role played by sports organisations in helping student-athletes balance training and academic development.

The highlights of the conference came when Mr Sam Wong, former Olympic windsurfing athlete, coach and career counsellor and currently Executive Director of Hong Kong Amateur Hockey Club, spoke on his personal journey “From Athlete to Life Champion”; and when Ms Megan Fritsch, Personal Excellence Manager of Australian Institute of Sports, shared her experience on developing and implementing the “Elite Athlete Friendly University Network” in Australia, a nation-wide initiative to provide better guidance and educational opportunities for athletes’ development in sports and life. 

In his closing remarks, Mr Timothy Fok, President of Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, recognised the commitment from the eight universities towards balancing university and elite sports at today’s conference as a big step forward for cultivating Hong Kong’s sports culture and promoting the Olympism’s core mission, i.e. to increase access to sport for all and build a better world through sport.

About the School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU

The School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of The University of Hong Kong has a long and distinguished history in public health education and high impact research. With world leading research in infectious diseases as well as on non-communicable diseases of both local and global importance, the School has made significant contributions through its research and advocacy to improve the health of populations and individuals, both locally and globally. The School is a leading research and teaching hub in public health on influenza and other emerging viruses, control of infectious and non-communicable diseases, tobacco control, air pollution, psycho-oncology, behavioural sciences, exercise science, life-course epidemiology, and health economics, health services planning and management. This work has informed international (e.g. the World Health Organisation, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations), national and local public health policies.

 

(from left) Professor Horace Ip, Vice-President (Student Affairs) of City University of Hong Kong; Professor Roland Chin, President and Vice-Chancellor of Hong Kong Baptist University; Professor Leonard Cheng, BBS, JP, President of Lingnan University; Professor Dennis Ng, Pro-Vice-Chancellor / Vice-President of The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Dr Richard Armour, JP, Secretary-General of University Grants Committee; Mr Carlson Tong, SBS, JP, Chairman of University Grants Committee; Professor Stephen Cheung, BBS, JP, President of The Education University of Hong Kong; Professor Chetwyn Chan, Associate Vice President (Learning & Teaching) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Professor Sabrina Lin, Vice-President for Institutional Advancement of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Professor Peter Mathieson, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Hong Kong

 

(3rd row, from left) Ms Amy Chan, JP, Chairman of Hong Kong Elite Athletes Association; Dr Trisha Leahy, BBS, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Sports Institute; Mr Ronnie Wong, JP, Honorary Secretary General of Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China; representatives from the eight UGC-funded universities and UGC; Dr Duncan Macfarlane, Acting Director of Centre for Sports and Exercise of The University of Hong Kong; Dr Janice Johnston, Chair of Conference Organising Committee (2nd row) elite athlete representatives from the eight UGC-funded universities (1st row) Mr Sam Wong, Executive Director of Hong Kong Amateur Hockey Club; Ms Megan Fritsch, Personal Excellence Manager of Australian Institute of Sport

 

Media enquiries

Ms Yanki Wong, School of Public Health, HKU (tel: 3917 9044; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Ms Melanie Wan, Communication and Public Affairs Office, HKU (tel: 2859 2600; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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