The council chairman of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Lam Tai-fai, on Sunday invited elite athletes from the mainland to study at the institution for free.

The invitation came as Olympic athletes from the national team wrapped up their three-day visit of the SAR.

“Our Polytechnic University currently ranks 66th in the world, so we’re inviting our national team elite athletes and gold medalists to study here after their retirement,” Lam said during a welcoming speech for six of the delegation members at the university in Hung Hom.

“I believe that myself as the chairman and university president Teng Jin-guang will fully support all your expenses,” he added.

Speaking at the exchange session, sprinter Su Bingtian sang praises for another track and field athlete sharing the same surname as him – retired Hong Kong paralympian So Wah-wai.

“Netizens have called me ‘God Su’ to show their support and love for me, but I also have my own god surnamed So, his name is So Wah-wai,” said Su, who has been dubbed “Asia’s fastest man” after breaking his own 100m Asian record at the Tokyo Olympics.

“I believe Hong Kong comrades here all know his story, he’d represented Hong Kong in four Paralympic Games and won six gold medals, three silvers and three bronzes and has retained many world records.”

Su said he saw in So the qualities of both mainland and Hong Kong young people, that they won’t give in to fate and would fight hard for their dreams.

Another athlete speaking at the event, weightlifting gold medalist Lu Xiaojun, told the audience that he had regretted not being there for his family as he had spent more than a year preparing for the Tokyo Olympics during the pandemic.

But the 37-year-old said his wife, also a former weightlifter, had been very understanding and supportive as both of them agreed that athletes have a duty to fight for the country.

Meanwhile, the leader of the delegation, Deputy Director of the General Administration of Sport of China Yang Ning, said the visit to the SAR marked a “promise” between Hong Kong and the mainland.

“We demonstrated the core Chinese sporting spirits of putting the motherland on top, staying united and coordinated, putting in tenacious hard work and never giving up,” said Yang, according to Xinhua.

“Through this visit, we showed Hong Kong comrades the charm of our Olympians and boosted Hong Kong comrades’ passion in loving the country. We’ve shared the glory of Chinese sport.”





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