INTERVIEW WITH SIU YIN CHEUNG
We invited Siu Yin Cheung, ISCA Executive Committee Member and Chairwoman of
The Gymnastics Association of Hong Kong, China (GAHK) to be interviewed.
Here is the story of a very special person, Siu Yin, and the story of a very special organization,
The Gymnastics Association of Hong Kong, China.
Who is Siu Yin?
Siu Yin lives in Honk Kong and works at the Department of Physical Education at Hong Kong Baptist University. She volunteers as the Chairwoman of GAHK and as an ISCA Executive Committee member. Siu Yin’s passion is Gymnastics. That’s why she spends a lot of her professional and volunteering time working on the research of sport, health, and customer satisfaction. “I also like to work on the topic ‘management in sport’ as this topic is very much needed for young leaders and future managers in sport organisations.” Siu Yin shares, “We at the University and in the Association are working on the development of young persons and train them to become leaders.”
Gymnastic Association of Hong Kong (GAHK): What is this about?
GAKH is a national association that promotes and develops gymnastics in Hong Kong on the grassroots and top elite level. One of its most important activities is to organize training courses for trainers of all levels, from grassroots to elite gymnastics. GAHK is developing Gymnastics for All as a physical activity for everybody, regardless of age, gender or ability. It is the perfect activity to prepare children for long-term participation in sports and develops vital life skills. Siu Yin explains, “We have also developed special Gymnastics for kids and for seniors, designed as a perfect way to get fit and strengthen your body with fun gymnastic skills. Gymnastics for All gives lots of fun, develops balance, co-ordination and confident body movement, builds self-esteem, strength and flexibility, preparing the body and mind for life's challenges, is a sport for life, develops healthy minds and bodies for now and later life.”
Siu Yin, what partnerships do you have in Hong Kong to get more people more physically active?
The Gymnastics Association of Hong Kong (GAHK) is working closely with The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD). “This is a governmental body that financially supports the association and inspires us and other organisations in Hong Kong to work on the promotion of sport and physical activity in general”. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) provides quality leisure and cultural services with regard to Hong Kong's development as a world-class city and events capital. The Department together with Sport Federations in Hong Kong enrich life by providing quality leisure and cultural services for all, promote professionalism and excellence in leisure pursuits and cultural services, promote synergy with sports and cultural and community organizations by enhancing the development of the arts and sport in the territory, and this has achieved a high level of customer satisfaction in Sport Clubs.
“We are also working very closely with homes for the elderly people, where we train new trainers for physical activity. This is important for us and for our society; it helps to keep elderly people active.” Siu Yin elaborates, “ We support homes for elderly people in taking care of them, providing physical activity interventions, giving to the homes and trainers opportunities for a new service that does not end only in the simple motor activity but also stimulates dialogue, interaction, socialization of older people, promoting their social rehabilitation; stimulate the skills individuals have lost or forgotten, by improving the procedures for acceptance of their bodies and confidence in their abilities and last but not least to increase feelings of well-being and reduced risk of depression… There is a significant change in the sports environment in Asia in general. We see more investment in the grassroots.”
This has offered more opportunities for brands to connect with the consumer base and tap into that passion for sports. Investment, including commercial partnerships, sponsorships, buying the rights of content to use, will help the whole economic, financial and commercial infrastructure grow in strength, which ultimately will promote grassroots sports, creating a stronger, better sports environment.
“For us in GAHG it is important to realize that social media is also changing our approach to the customers. We all need to be aware of how we are doing and who we are. If any opinion online is managed badly, it will not only damage us, but also sponsors."
Young people now are used to consuming everything via mobile and internet. Advertisers are beginning to leverage mobile marketing. A lot of creative advertising comes out of this. Asia is leading the way in mobile-device marketing”, Siu explains.
What are the present-day challenges of your activities in the Association, at the University and in ISCA as an Executive Committee Member?
“To make more people more active in Asia.” Siu Yin replies, “It does not sound different as in other countries, with one difference: we started few months ago with the marketing research of Sport for All in Asian countries. We want to investigate Sport for all in Asian countries, to know more about the situation in all countries, to contribute to the collection of knowledge and evidence in the field of Sport for All and recreational sport and physical activity. Following suggestions from the research we plan to mobilize sport participation in sport education, sport service and direct /indirect participation; to use media publicity to educate the public and raise sport awareness in for example, video clips, road shows, radio, eye-catching posters; to give incentives to inactive people like encourage stair-climbing and walking, video games; to make better working environment to facilitate sport activities; and to make good use of existing sport resources at schools.”
How do you feel about the Global dialogue, event you organized in December in Hong Kong?
“The Global Dialogue Training Course [Hong Kong, June 16-23 2012] was a great opportunity to find out if young leaders can make a difference in creating a common understanding of sport and physical activity between Europe and China” Siu Yin shares, “They found out how different they are, even if they speak a common language: the language of sport. It was a non-formal education through sport and physical activity, it was an event where young leaders discovered a series of activities to boost intercultural understanding, cultural exchange and networking among them from EU countries and China. They developed a sustainable network of a communication platform and I see that they communicate regularly and some of them have already developed their own national or international projects. It was great to see how young trainers have a wish and plan to increase awareness among local political decision-makers and community leaders (in Europe and China) on the diversity of sport and physical activity cultures. We need more global dialogues”.