Book Launch of Dual Career Pathway of Elite Athletes
The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) held a launch ceremony today (3 December) for a new publication, titled Dual Career Pathway of Elite Athletes, which encapsulates the success stories of 12 EdUHK elite athletes who have struggled to balance their university studies with intensive and demanding training schedules.
Initiated by the Department of Health and Physical Education (HPE) at EdUHK, the book features student and alumni athletes of the University, including three-time Asian Games gold medallist Mr Wong Kam-po; former world champion racing cyclist Mr Marco Kwok Ho-ting; Asian Games gold medallists Mr Shek Wai-hung (gymnastics), Mr Leo Au Chun-ming (squash), Mr Lok Kwan-hoi (rowing), and Mr Cheng Kwok-fai (windsurfing); Asian Games silver medallists Miss Yip Pui-yin (badminton), Miss Chan Ka-man (karate), and Miss Liu Tsz-ling (squash); National Games of the PRC silver medallist Mr Chris Cheng Tsz-man (karate); and 2016 Rio Olympic Games player Miss Lee Ka-man and her sister Miss Lee Yuen-yin (rowing).
Officiating at the ceremony were Professor Stephen Cheung Yan-leung, President of EdUHK; Mr Carlson Tong, Chairman of the University Grants Committee (UGC); UGC Secretary General Professor James Tang Tuck-hong; Mr Yeung Tak-keung, Commissioner for Sports of the Home Affairs Bureau; and Dr Ada Ma Wai-wing, Head of the Department of Health and Physical Education at EdUHK. Staff members and students of the Department also joined the ceremony to share the joy and achievements of the athletes featured in the book.
Professor Cheung expressed his admiration for the unswerving determination of the elite athletes, who have been striving for excellence in both in their academic and sports endeavours. He said, “These athletes have continued to stretch their potential and shine in different sectors. Some have made a successful transformation from elite athlete to a university lecturer or an entrepreneur of an IT start-up, for example. And some have committed themselves to pursuing postgraduate studies after completing their undergraduate programmes. As a pioneer in the education sector, we are most pleased to create a dual career pathway for local athletes so that they can advance further with a solid foundation.”
As a long-time partner of the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) in supporting the academic endeavours of elite athletes, the University took a further step by making a pledge to be an “Elite Athlete Friendly University” in Hong Kong in the presence of the officiating guests at the ceremony. Support for the athletes’ all-round development encompasses four main areas, as follows:
- Comprehensive support: recruiting an Elite Athlete Development Officer (EADO) to implement the Elite Athlete Career Development Internship Programme. To diversify the athletes’ career opportunities beyond sports coaching, NGOs and other relevant industries will be invited to be “Elite Athlete Friendly Organisations” (EAFOs), which will provide career training and internships for pre-graduate athletes. The EAFOs will also promise to recruit retired athletes as their first priority. The EADO will give the athletes advice and guidance for their academic life.
- Special admission scheme: relaxing admission requirements for athletes who may lack various academic pathways, but maintaining the strict standards for graduation. To broaden their career pathways, the athletes can apply for all programmes at EdUHK, including Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees, plus other professional diploma and certificate programmes.
- Scholarships: providing admitted athletes with financial assistance. In addition to the existing scholarships for outstanding sports achievements and special talent, the HPE has established the “EdUHK Postgraduate Degree Programme Scholarship for Elite Athletes” to sustain their academic development.
- Special study arrangements: the arrangements include tailoring the athletes’ academic study loads; providing access to distance learning materials for missed lectures, tutorials or practice; negotiating lecture, tutorial and practice timetables, and the maximum study period to accommodate sporting commitments; and enabling various means of communication, such as class meetings, emails, consultations and video conferences, with the lecturers and peers to consolidate learning.
As part of its commitment to diversifying the career pathways for local athletes, EdUHK has admitted 74 elite athletes since 2010. It was the first UGC-funded institution to sign a memorandum of understanding with the HKSI in 2014, with a view to enhancing collaboration and fostering dual career pathways for elite athletes.