Become a professional athlete without sacrificing your studies

Become a professional athlete without sacrificing your studies

A deal between the Hong Kong Sports Institute and ESF schools means athletes don't need to sacrifice studies

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Hong Kong gymnast Shek Wai-hung with his gold medal in the men's vault.
Hong Kong gymnast Shek Wai-hung with his gold medal in the men's vault.

Student athletes in Hong Kong will now get the help they need to find a balance between their studies and dreams of becoming professional athletes.

A new partnership signed today between the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) and three English Schools Foundation secondary schools - King George V School, Sha Tin College and Renaissance College - allows students aged 15 to 17 a "flexible and tailor-made programme" so they can be full-time athletes while still being students. Lam Tai Fai College in Sha Tin will join next month.

For the past few years, HKSI has increased the number of full-time athletes at the academy in Hong Kong by 10 per cent each year. HKSI hopes the new programme will boost this rate, and expects the scheme to attract almost 40 student athletes. There are currently 280 full-time athletes across 17 sports. To meet the requirements to be a full-time secondary school, HKSI would need 500 athletes.

HSKI chief executive Trisha Leahy says this partnership is the first step toward the goal of being a full-time secondary school. "Having full-time athletes is really important," Leahy says. "All the gold and silver medals at last year's Asian Games were won by full-time athletes."

HKSI athletes won 40 of the 42 medals, including six golds and 12 silver medals, at the Incheon Asian Games in South Korea.

Student athletes will receive a monthly grant, hostel facilities, tutorial services and tuition subsidies, along with transportation between their school and HKSI.

Leahy hopes the partnership will help encourage student athletes to consider a career in sports. "This programme can help young athletes take the leap into becoming full-time, high-performance athletes."

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
New deal balances sports with studies

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