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Applause for Our Olympic Team

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government held a reception today to welcome our delegation back from the London Olympic Games and to applaud them for their exemplary performance of Hong Kong's can-do spirit in this quadrennial international event.

The Olympic Games is widely regarded as the pinnacle of all international sports events, and it is every athlete's dream to compete in the Games. This year, we sent an 86-strong delegation to London, including 42 athletes to compete in 13 sports. It was our largest delegation for the Games since reunification.

Our cyclist Ms Lee Wai-sze, competing for the first time in the Games, won a bronze medal in the women's keirin event, the third medal Hong Kong has ever won. We take so much pride in the perseverance and triumph over adversity she showed to win the medal. In the table tennis event, our athletes made the semi-finals in the men's team event and the quarterfinals in the women's team event, and Mr Jiang Tianyi reached the quarterfinals in the men's singles. Ms Yip Pui-yin also reached the quarterfinals of the badminton women's singles, and we will never forget her shouts of joy after the matches. Mr Wong Kam-po, entering the Olympic cycling road race for the fifth time, showed grace and flair as one of the world's top cyclists and served as a top role model for all young cyclists in Hong Kong. Ms Angel Wong was the first Hong Kong athlete to compete in gymnastics, and hopefully she will become the first Hong Kong athlete to have a gymnastics balance beam movement named after her.

To our athletes, long periods of strenuous training and frequent competitions to upgrade their skills to qualify themselves for the Olympics are the most valuable experiences in life. Whether or not they win in the Games, they can display their utmost courage, resilience and fighting spirit. The people of Hong Kong and I are so proud of them. We are also grateful to other members of the delegation for their strong support for the athletes.

Our athletes' remarkable achievements reaffirm my determination to promote sports in Hong Kong as one of the pledges in my election manifesto. Resources will be increased to promote sports for the whole community, to cultivate elite athletes and to make Hong Kong the place for major sports events. The construction of the Tseung Kwan O indoor velodrome is expected to complete in mid-2013 to provide a good training and competition venue for our cycling team. We will also work to enhance the professional status, image and social status of elite athletes. To help them focus on training and to allow them to perform at their best in competitions, we will also strengthen support for their education and employment before and after retirement from competition.

I sincerely thank the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China for its great efforts in promoting the territory's sports development, and all sports associations, athletes, coaches and sports science personnel for their teamwork and contributions. I hope our athletes will treasure their experience in the London Olympics and remain modest, upbeat and steadfast in following their dreams in the sporting field.

August 15, 2012