Fireside Wednesday:

Episode 4: Sports & Innovation
第四集 – 運動急變速

April 8 (Wednesday)

English Synopsis

With the Tokyo Olympics postponed, Wimbledon cancelled, the NBA and Premier League suspended, and Hong Kong’s Marathon, Trail Walker and sports training all called off, what can sportspeople and coaches do?  How can the business of sports progress during these times?

Host Raymond Tam, Executive Director, Corporate Affairs of Hong Kong Jockey Club said, “Many sports venues are closed in light of COVID-19, sports lovers are heavily impacted.”

The Chief Executive of Inspiring HK Sports Foundation Judy Kong encouraged students to continue to exercise, even though schools are temporarily closed. “Since the start of the school class suspension, our Foundation has broadcast a short exercise video once a week to schools, NGOs and over 1,000 under-privileged children. The videos have different themes and the exercises are demonstrated by Hong Kong team athletes. We hope parents and children can keep doing exercise for 45 minutes a day. Sports can definitely improve our immune system and hence help us to fight against COVID-19.”

Former Hong Kong Olympian, swimming record holder, and co-founder of a swimming school, Alex Fong reminisced how he raised over HK$10 Million for charity with his 10-hour record-breaking swim round Hong Kong Island. Alex said after he stepped down from the Hong Kong swimming team, he had only swam some 10 times. “To raise funds, one must do something that is extra difficult. After a lot of research, I found out it was a super big challenge to swim around the island. The distance is more than a full marathon, so I decided to go ahead and do that,” Alex said,

“With COVID-19, there are 5,000 sports coaches who are not receiving an income, and their lives are seriously affected.  All schools are closed now, and it has had a big impact on our swimming school and coaches.  After all, the success of sportsmen depends on their own hard work and the efforts paid,” Alex said.

Hong Kong high jump record holder Cecilia Yeung said there were struggles when she first decided to become a full-time athlete. She added, “Every career has its own challenges, sportsman of different sports also have their very own difficulties. As a field athlete, I had comparatively sufficient support, including that from the Hong Kong Sports Institute. If you have prepared yourself psychologically, it is a wonderful thing to be a professional athlete.  The training, communications with your coach and teammates, and overseas competitions … all the experiences are unforgettable. No matter what we do, we need to prepare for both the best and the worst of times, as well as seek advice and do research. We have to be ready and do our best.” Cecilia tried out many different sports when she was younger, including the long jump, volleyball, and skipping. She finally found that her interest and talent were most suited for the high jump.

For sports to recover after COVID-19, Judy believes that: “ ‘Against all odds’ is exactly what the spirit of sportsmanship is.  Sports, charities, businesses and schools should think about new modes of collaboration to promote the importance of sports.”

Alex found that COVID-19 is a good lesson. “I could never have imagined that schools would be suspended, and now many sports coaches have no income.  This is a lesson for young people to reflect upon. The old teaching of our parents is so true: we never know when the bad times will come, so we must save our money. Don’t spend all of your earnings every month.”

BBA final-year student Cecilia said the virus has helped her to understand even more on how things can move and develop. “It’s time to think how we cope with changes by making ourselves more flexible and elastic. We’ve got to know what is happening around us and we can’t just live in our own world.”

Raymond wrapped, commenting that: “Our own immune system is of utmost importance before there is an effective vaccine for COVID-19.  Sports has a vital impact on primary health care. The commercial world should support sportsmen so more people will be willing to take up sports as a career. Hong Kong will then become a more dynamic city.”

足本重溫 Video Link :


  • Raymond Tam 譚志源 (BSc(Eng) 1987)
    Executive Director, Corporate Affairs, Hong Kong Jockey Club

    Raymond has been the Executive Director, Corporate Affairs and a member of the Board of Management of The Hong Kong Jockey Club since August 2018. Before joining the Club, Raymond was the Vice Chairman of New Frontier Health from 2017 to 2018. He was a senior government official with 30 years of experience in the public service. He was Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs from 2011 to 2017, Director of the Chief Executive’s Office from 2009 to 2011.


  • Alex Fong 方力申 (BBA(Acc&Fin) 2004; HKU Sports Scholar)
    Former HK Olympian and swimming records holder; Co-founder of Hong Kong Swimming Academy

    Alex was selected as one of Junior Chamber International Hong Kong’s prestigious Ten Outstanding Young Persons award in 2014 and a former Hong Kong Olympian in 2000 Sydney Olympics. He is still the current holder of two HK swimming records in 200m Backstroke and 400m Individual Medley, both of which have remained the longest-standing (20 years-to-date) swimming records in Hong Kong.

    Alex founded the swimming school Hong Kong Swimming Academy hoping to nurture a new generation of swimmers. Furthermore, now an entertainer for more than 19 years, Alex is dedicated to help the less fortunate and continue his role as an ambassador to various notable charities. Alex strives to promote the importance of health and fitness to the community while giving back to the society. He raised over HK$7.7M for charity by his record-breaking 45 km swim around Hong Kong Island for 10 hours 43 minutes in November 2019.

  • Judy Kong 江嘉惠 (MSW 2011)
    Chief Executive, InspiringHK Sports Foundation

    Judy is the Chief Executive of InspiringHK Sports Foundation (凝動香港體育基金). The charity was established in 2012 with a vision of developing better youths through sports. Its mission is to promote social mobility, gender equality, social inclusion and healthy lifestyle through professional sports training, learning experience and public education activities for the underprivileged youths in Hong Kong.

  • Cecilia Yeung 楊文蔚 (BBA Final Year Student, HKU Sports Scholar)
    Professional high jumper and Hong Kong record holder

    HKU current student and Sports Scholar Cecilia is a high jumper who has represented the Hong Kong team since 2016. She set the women’s high jump record in 2017 when she cleared 1.88 metres. She became Hong Kong’s first full-time high jumper in 2016 and represented Hong Kong at the 2017 World University Games in Taiwan.

Fireside Wednesday 星期三開爐  new online series for the HKU Family – alumni, students, staff and friends – to connect with each other for partnership, passion and paths. The 10 episodes will cover tourism, retail, culture, social, NGOs, freelancing (slash), education, technology… Resources and support available to students and fresh graduates at HKU iDendron. Tell us if you want to suggest themes and speakers for future episodes. Share and stay tuned!


Revisit –

Episode Three: COVID Cadenza (Apr 1)
[ Prof Daniel Chua • Cy Leo • Serrini • Daniel Lei ]

Episode Two: Retail – Partners & Opportunities (Mar 25)
第二集 – Shopping 變陣
[ 羅永聰 • 陳子堅 • Terence Hon ]

Episode One: Culture, Tourism & Innovation (Mar 18)
第一集 – 旅遊變法
[ 陳志雲 • 陳智遠 • Rubio Chan • Jamie Cheung • Gurpreet Singh ]