The Hong Kong lawn bowls community this week hailed the great news that it is now recognised as a second level Elite Sport.
Details of the award were announced in a briefing session organised by the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) last Friday May 3. Under the new HKSI and Sports Commission’s Elite Vote Support System, lawn bowls is one of the 10 sports that will receive “Tier B” support for the 4-year elite sport funding cycle up to 2017, in addition to the 16 “Tier A” sports.
The Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association (HKLBA) embraced the news of the government granting the status to the sport with delight.
“This is a great honour for us,” said Vincent Cheung, president of the HKLBA.
“It proves that our efforts are finally recognised by the government.
“This is not just about the association, but for all local bowlers because they are the ones who will benefit from a better squad system and stronger support from the government.”
The grant, which was primarily based on the achievements of bowls athletes in the past two years, will have a positive impact on the elite squad development program in the next four years.
“The program allows us to create a complete framework for development, which we have never been able to do in the past due to a lack of funding,” said Chueng.
“Now we can plan further ahead with less worries about resources.
“I will work with the subject officers in the Association on a 4-year development plan for the national team and the junior squad.
“The main evaluation criteria of the program is the results achieved at international level, so obviously we will tailor our plans to enhance our competitiveness on the Asian and international stage,” he said.
The program will run for the 4-year cycle with a review every two years. In addition to the funding, athletes will also have regular access to training, facilities and sports science, and medicine support at the institute.
Previously, there was only one single level of elite sports in Hong Kong covering 15 sports. In the new structure they will be grouped under Tier A, with rugby sevens becoming the 16th sport in this category.
Along with rugby sevens, the Tier A sports include athletics, badminton, billiards, cycling, fencing, karatedo, rowing, squash, swimming, table tennis, tenpin bowling, windsurfing, wushu, gymnastics and triathlon.
Meanwhile, aside from lawn bowls, the sports classified as Tier B are dance sports, equestrianism, judo, lawn bowls, mountaineering, orienteering, roller sports, sailing, skating and tennis.
The welcome news of lawn bowls’ inclusion under Tier B in the new HKSI and Sports Commission’s Elite Vote Support System comes as the sport struggles with a venue shortage for its Premier League competition, which enters its third round this weekend.
Tin Ka Ping Secondary School Wins Title
Yan Oi Tong Tin Ka Ping Secondary School won their first Inter School title last Wednesday May 1 at Ap Lei Chau lawn Bowls green.
They defeated 2008 champion Po Leung Kok C.W.C. College 8:4 in the Final. They also defeated the defending champion Yan Chai Hospital No. 2 Secondary School in the semi-finals.
A total of 24 teams from 14 schools participated in the annual event, which is played in 2-woods triples format. Of the 86 players, 54 of them joined the event for the first time.
Claudius Lam is an Officer with the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.