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Integrating Research and Innovation into Sports

A. Kwok Sports Aerodynamics Science Initiative: HKSI & HKUST Join Hands to Enhance Performance of Cycling Team

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Dr. David Chung, Under Secretary for Innovation and Technology (fourth left), Mr. Adam Kwok, Executive Director of Sun Hung Kai Properties (center), Prof. Tim Cheng Kwang-Ting, Dean of Engineering (third left), and Prof. Zhang Xin, Chair Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of HKUST (first left), Dr. Trisha Leahy, Chief Executive (second left), Dr. Raymond So, Director of Elite Training Science and Technology (first right), Mr. Shen Jinkang, Head Cycling Coach (third right), and elite cycling a
Dr. David Chung, Under Secretary for Innovation and Technology (fourth left), Mr. Adam Kwok, Executive Director of Sun Hung Kai Properties (center), Prof. Tim Cheng Kwang-Ting, Dean of Engineering (third left), and Prof. Zhang Xin, Chair Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of HKUST (first left), Dr. Trisha Leahy, Chief Executive (second left), Dr. Raymond So, Director of Elite Training Science and Technology (first right), Mr. Shen Jinkang, Head Cycling Coach (third right), and elite cycling athlete Lee Wai-Sze of the Hong Kong Sports Institute (fourth right), and Dr. Chan Kwok-Ki, Vice-chairman of The Cycling Association of Hong Kong, China Limited (second right), attended the ceremony to show their support of the Project. [Download Photo]
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Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) Executive Director Mr. Adam KWOK Kai-Fai donated HK$6 million to the Sports Aerodynamics Science Initiative Project in addition to the Innovation and Technology Fund from the Innovation and Technology Commission of the Hong Kong SAR Government in 2019, jointly launched by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI). Over the past two years, the HKUST and HKSI teams actively conducted cycling tests and resistance tests for cyclists, as well as developing low-resistance suits for the Hong Kong Cycling Team, in order to help enhance their performances in the Tokyo Olympics. The research project was also funded by the Innovation and Technology Commission.

Dr. David CHUNG, Under Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr. Adam Kwok, Executive Director of SHKP, Dr. Trisha LEAHY, Chief Executive of the HKSI, Mr. SHEN Jinkang, Head Cycling Coach of the HKSI, Prof. Tim CHENG Kwang-Ting, Dean of Engineering of HKUST and Prof. ZHANG Xin, Chair Professor of Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of HKUST, attended the press conference to share the updates of the Project. Dr. Raymond SO, Director of Elite Training Science and Technology of the HKSI, Dr. CHAN Kwok-Ki, Vice-chairman of The Cycling Association of Hong Kong, China Limited, and elite cycling athlete LEE Wai-Sze also attended to show their support of the Project.

Mr. Kwok said, “The initiative has been on-going for two years, in two major directions: First, as we all know, winning or losing in a cycling race comes down to a difference of split seconds. Hence one area is the research and development of equipment that reduces wind drag or improves riding posture, with a view to enable the Hong Kong team to shave precious seconds off record time, increasing their speed and chances of winning. Second, to help Hong Kong become an international innovation and technology hub by integrating technology into sports and accelerating innovation in sports science. In addition to helping the Hong Kong team, we also hope to cooperate with the national team in the future. Despite the delay of the Tokyo Olympics until this July, the fighting spirit of the team remains unfettered over the past two years, with the team successfully developing techniques and technology that reduce wind drag in different ways. I am extremely grateful for the efforts put in by the HKSI and HKUST’s research teams in the past two years, especially Coach Shen and Dr. So of the HKSI, and Prof. Zhang from HKUST.”

Dean of Engineering Prof. Cheng expressed his gratitude to Mr. Adam Kwok: “We are truly grateful for Mr. Kwok’s support in setting up the Sports Aerodynamics Science Initiative Project in 2019, in collaboration with the HKSI, allowing our state-of-the-art research to make an impact in the global arena. Under the leadership of Prof. Zhang Xin, the team applies technology in Formula One racing cars and aerospace engineering to improve the cyclists’ performance in competitions. The joint efforts mark a major step forward to integrate research and innovation into sports Hong Kong people are proud of.”

Dr. Leahy said, “The application of sports science has become a must-do for all sports powerhouses if they want to stay at the forefront in today’s sporting world. In the past two years, the Project has conducted a series of tests for the cycling team to fortify the elite training outcomes, thus enhancing their competitiveness in the international competitions. I am delighted to see that the application of sports aerodynamics technology can also benefit sports other than cycling. The Project is kicking off cooperation with the windsurfing team recently. I look forward to receiving more good news on athletes’ outstanding achievements soon.”

The Project is a joint effort by Dr. Raymond So’s sports science team and Prof. Zhang’s team. Prof. Zhang said the University is happy to contribute to Hong Kong’s sporting arena with technology. “During the cooperation with HKSI in the past two years, we have done various tests and development for the cycling team in terms of cycling equipment, clothing, and posture, through wind tunnel tests and numerical simulations. We will continue to work closely with the HKSI in the future to apply more research output in competitions and apply the technology to other sports.”

Coach Shen said, “I am glad that the tri-party collaboration can help strengthen the training quality of the team. We are preparing for three events and the progress is satisfactory. I hope athletes can fully demonstrate their training outcomes in the Olympics.”

Elite cyclist Lee Wai-Sze echoed, “As an elite athlete, I am excited to be part of this Project. The wind tunnel and the sports aerodynamics technology help boost my overall performance and deliver our fullest potential in the competitions.”

In addition to the research on improving the postures of cyclists through sports aerodynamics technology, the HKSI and HKUST will continue their effort to research on low-resistance gear to help enhance athletes’ performance.

About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) (www.ust.hk) is a world-class research intensive university that focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science. HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking. HKUST attained the highest proportion of internationally excellent research work in the Research Assessment Exercise 2014 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee, and is ranked as the world’s best young university in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2020. Its graduates were ranked 10th worldwide and top in Greater China in Global University Employability Survey 2019.

About the Hong Kong Sports Institute
Guided by the HKSAR Government’s current policy direction, and using its professional expertise in elite sport, the Hong Kong Sports Institute’s (HKSI) (www.hksi.org.hk) vision is to become the region’s elite training systems delivery leader by providing state-of-the-art, evidence-based, elite sports training and athlete support systems resulting in sustainable world-class sports results. As the Government’s designated organization to provide the high performance training system for eligible sports, the HKSI is committed to working in partnership with the Government, the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China and the National Sports Associations to provide an environment in which sports talent can be identified, nurtured, and developed to pursue excellence in the international sporting arena. 

(This news was originally published by the HKUST Public Affairs Office here.)