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HONG KONG - Renowned cycling champion Sarah Lee Wai-sze was appointed as Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) Ambassador Wednesday, and became the second athlete named as this title following the same appointment of Wong Kam-po in 2011.
The appointment ceremony and children's "Rights to Play" Education Session was held on Wednesday. After receiving the appointment certificate, Sarah Lee Wai-sze promised to advocate for children's rights, especially the right to play all over the world, by promoting the essence of play to the public to achieve the goal of zero under-development for children.
Sarah Lee Wai-sze recalled, "I played whenever I had spare time when I was a child." She continued, "Play cannot only help me to relax and facilitate me to make many friends, but also enrich imagination and enhance problem-solving skills. It calms me down and nurtures my courage to face challenges and handle stress during cycling competitions."
The Chairman of UNICEF HK Judy Chen said, it is play that inspired Sarah, fostered her physical development and enhanced her problem-solving skills, making her an outstanding and tough athlete today.
The Vice-Chairman of the Committee Leonie Ki urged parents to address the issue of children's unhealthy development in Hong Kong. She said, children nowadays are under excessive pressure for educational achievements, and they have too many structured, programmed leisure activities that keep them away form true play, "the story of Sarah inspires us to reflect on the importance of play."
During the ceremony, Sarah and guests highlighted the four long-forgotten essences of play, including "Child-oriented", "Growing fun and healthy", "Anytime and anywhere" and "Playable space", mobilizing everyone to advocate for children's right to play. Afterwards, 400 participants played with a few 1-meter diameter balls together to experience the essence of play.
Sarah Lee Wai-sze, born in 1987, is a professional Hong Kong cyclist who won the Champion in Asian Games and other international tournaments. She is best known for winning the bronze medal in women's keirin at the 2012 London Olympics, which is Hong Kong's first-ever Olympics medal in cycling.