【Olympics Series】Sports and Environment Get a New Champion: Wong Kam Po
| Bruce Yim, Communication Officer of Friends of the Earth (HK)
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will officially start tonight. With global
awareness of the climate change crisis, many international sports games have
incorporated green elements in recent years. Last time, we introduced star
athletes from "Team Earth" and their green tips on sports. This time, we invited
Mr. Wong Kam Po, ‘Asia’s god of cycling’, the former representative of the Hong
Kong Cycling Team, and now Sports Legacy Scheme Deputy Manager (Programme
Development), to share new green trends in sports games.
Photo source: Cycling Weekly
Bikes and Games Becoming Eco-friendly
"From my 20-year
experience of being a professional cyclist, my thought is that the performance
of athletes have improved faster. But the speed is no match for the progress in
the improvements made to bicycle technology and environmental awareness,” Wong
Wong, who has
represented Hong Kong for five Olympic Games, has participated in many
competitions around the world during the time. He mentioned that Europe is the
origin of cycling and it pays a great
deal of attention to environmental protection. In recent years, several races and bicycle
designs have incorporated green elements. Take racedesigns as an example, many
large-scale international cycling tournaments are highly concerned over the
disposal of water bottles. Wong recalled that athletes in the past used to carelessly
throw away plastic bottles after passing through supply stations. But this
trash could still remain after a couple decades, polluting the nature. As more people
are concerned about nature conservation nowadays, there are some new rules in
place. For example, host organizations ask athletes to put empty bottles in
team cars or give them away to the audience along the way. Some hosts even
request athletes not to bring one-off bottles to the race but prepare their own
reusable water bottles. This shows that there is a greater focus on
environmental protection from international competitions.
On bicycle design, Wong
mentioned that in his childhood, there were some manufacturers creating bicycles
made of recyclable materials like soda cans. These green bicycles could be even
be used in competitions proper. He believes that the cycling industry has a
certain stance on the choice of raw materials to reduce damage to the environment.
Wong deems that whether you are a producer, athlete, audience, or organizer,
you can play a decisive role in nature conservation.
Relationship Between Sports and Nature
Global warming is
worsening by the day, athletes’ daily training and competitions will be
affected by climate change. Wong explained, many sports like running and
cycling are inseparable from nature, as many events are held in forests and
mountains. Therefore, we should all contribute to protect natural resources for
the planet. For instance, athletes inevitably drink plenty of water during
intensive training. Wong suggested athletes to prepare their own recyclable
water bottles to avoid wastages. Besides, athletes always have many sportswear
provided by sponsors. Wong is used to donating excess clothing to others
instead of dumping them. He said, "From the perspective of an athlete, I think
we can do more for nature.”
Athletes: Chase Your Dreams and Never Quit
Looking back as a
veteran of the sporting community, Wong encouraged young athletes to keep
chasing their dreams and never give up. "Young people and our juniors have to
build their goals step by step. They have to progress well in both academy and
sports evenly. Learn not to rush too much because the process takes time.” Wong
likened the process to walking up the stairs. Take rests, progress steadily,
and you will your way to improve.
Plant Trees to Cool the Earth, Every Second Counts
Although Wong has retired from professional cycling, he is still active in the Hong Kong sporting community. Wong is now a Sports Legacy Scheme Deputy Manager (Programme Development) of Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong to help juveniles find their potential in sports. When we invited Wong to be the ambassador for our ‘Tree Planting Challenge 2021’, Wong agreed promptly despite his busy schedule. Tree planting took place during the days of the hot summer, but Wong was not afraid of the high temperature or the sunlight and continued to plant trees. He was also humble and interested in learning more about trees from the arborist when he was resting. He even asked if he could plant more trees before leaving.
The long-lasting pandemic has not stopped Friends of the Earth (HK) from planting trees to save the Earth and fulfilling our commitment to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the sponsors of ‘Tree Planting Challenge 2021’. Since June this year, we have held several small-scale tree planting activities. In addition to inviting Hong Kong sports elites to cheer for the participants, an arborist was also specially invited to the planting site to share knowledge of local tree species and the importance of planting local tree species to enhance biodiversity and ecological value. In the process of planting trees, participants were surrounded by nature. They were able to breathe in the fresh air, exercise, build teamwork, and learn about tree planting and carbon reduction from the arborist. At the same time, they captured these moments with their cameras and took photos with saplings to enjoy an unforgettable outdoor charity event.
The scope of planting tree activities was limited due to the pandemic. However, the variety of tree species kept enthusiasms high. Athletes, arborists, and sponsors cooperated to plant every sapling with love and care. Up to now, we have already planted over 4000 local trees. To mitigate climate change, we shall spare no efforts. If your company intends to plant for the future, tree planting is one of the direct and effective ways to decarbonize. Please join us now!