Champion track cyclist Sarah Lee, who has won Olympics and Asian Games medals for Hong Kong, said Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying should spend more time understanding the history of religious beliefs and the Olympics, rather than just those of the Cultural Revolution and Mainland China.
In a Facebook post Sunday, Lee noted that religious beliefs and sports are important for the development of a society, and their significance goes beyond economic contribution, Ming Pao Daily News reported.
The comments came after Hong Kong’s leader said in an interview on Saturday that the religious and sports sectors do not make any economic contribution.
According to Louie Lobo, associate professor at the Hong Kong Baptist University’s Department of Physical Education, scientific research projects have pointed to the fact that billions of dollars of medical expenses could be saved if the public engages in more sports activities.
A foreign research project has suggested that a government can save up around three percent of its annual medical expenditure if it promotes sports among the people. That percentage could translate into annual savings of HK$1.5 billion, Lobo added.
Moreover, sports can nurture a fighting spirit among young people and is a great bonding tool for a community, hence its benefits are greater than what can be deemed in mere dollar terms, Lobo added.
Economist Andy Kwan said Leung’s comments were lacking common sense.
Leung’s office said in a statement issued late Saturday that the leader’s comments were referring to the fact that the Basic Law has stipulated that the composition of the nomination committee for the chief executive election must be a balanced one, and that a sector must not only judged by the number of people it has on the panel or the economic value of the sector.
The administration added that it has been placing great emphasis on sports development and that it values the contributions from the sports sector very much. The government aims to launch initiatives to popularize sports, nurture elite sportsmen, and develop mega sports events in Hong Kong, it said.
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