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23 Jul

Olympic Gold Medalist and "Queen of the Breaststroke" Luo Xuejuan Inspires Students at the New World Swimming Academy

Academy's exchange session gives underprivileged students the chance to learn from a champion’s “golden experience”

A few hundred students and public were afforded the rare opportunity to learn from a legend today when New World Development Company Limited (New World Group) and the Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association (HKASA) welcomed Ms. Luo Xuejuan, 2004 Olympic 100 meters breaststroke gold medalist, to the New World Swimming Academy for a special exchange session. The Academy, which is dedicated to promoting swimming as a sport for all in Hong Kong and identifying promising young talent, invited Luo to Hong Kong to share her "golden experience" and tips, but it was also the charisma of the "queen of the breaststroke" that helped the event generating such overwhelming response.

The "Olympic Swimming Gold Medalist Exchange Session" was part of the Academy's regular programme of activities and training for youngsters and underprivileged students. It was held at the Tung Chung Swimming Pool and attended by Ms. Maria Cheung, General Manager of Corporate Communication of New World Development Company Limited, as well as Mr. David Mong Tak Yeung, Executive Committee Member of HKASA. Members of the Hong Kong National Swimming Training Squad and the Hong Kong Regional Swimming Training Squad were also on hand to give a demonstration of the 4X50M medley relay, a race combining the four strokes of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.

During the session Ms Luo shared her fondest memories from her swimming career, her road to success and her experience in how to persevere against all odds. "I'm overjoyed to see such enthusiasm for swimming among the younger generations, and I'm very impressed by their potential. I hope the Academy programme can nurture a new generation of promising swimmers, who hopefully will one day represent our country and shine in the international arena," she said.

"Today's participants were very honoured to be able to share this time with Ms Luo, hear the secrets to her success and learn invaluable swimming tips," said Ms. Maria Cheung. "Her success was the fruit of her perseverance, which led to her being chosen as a member of the National team. She was then able to take her performance to another level, winning the Olympic gold medal and breaking the Olympic record. Her story is a shining example of pulling through against all odds."

"Swimming is a sport that is relatively beginner-friendly and easy to pick up," said Mr. David Mong. "Beginners also don't need to invest a lot in equipment. Still, for those whose families are in financial difficulty, it can be difficult to pursue their dreams. We hope that this programme can give those who are interested in swimming, but do not have the means to explore their interest, the chance to experience the benefits of this wonderful sport. We also believe that the Academy can nurture swimmers who may one day compete for Hong Kong and shine in international competitions. It has been a real privilege to have Ms Luo share with us her insights. We hope the youngsters who were here today will see her as a role model and gain from her experience."

About the New World Swimming Academy

The New World Swimming Academy is a talent development platform for underprivileged children with the aim of building their interest in swimming and offering them an opportunity to fulfill their potential. The Academy offers training and character-building summer activities, and it identifies promising young swimming stars. Under the programme, the most talented swimmers will be offered professional training over the coming seven to 10 years to empower them to compete in inter-school or open contests, or even become part of the next generation of swimmers entering the New World Harbour Race.

At the inaugural stage, the New World Swimming Academy's first pilot programme in Tung Chung and Sham Shui Po recruited 200 students between the ages of 7 and 12 through the Yu Mak Yuen Integrated Services Centre under the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, the Fish Traders' School, the Society for Community Organisation, the Neighbourhood Advice-Action Council and the Shamshuipo Kaifong Welfare Association Primary School. The programme will offer free elementary and intermediate swimming courses, covering swimming pool entrance fees, swimming caps and goggles for participants.

New World Development Company Limited

New World Development Company Limited ("The Group"; Stock Code: 17.HK) is a leading conglomerate based in Hong Kong. The Group was founded in 1970 and publicly listed in Hong Kong in 1972. It is a constituent stock of the Hang Seng Index with a total asset value of HK$270.2 billion as at 31 December 2011.

For more than four decades, the Group has expanded from a single focus on the property business to four core areas: property, infrastructure, services and department stores. As at 31 December 2011, the Group has an effective interest of approximately 60.4% in NWS Holdings Limited (Stock Code: 659.HK), approximately 69.8% in New World China Land Limited (Stock Code: 917.HK) and approximately 72.3% in New World Department Store China Limited (Stock Code: 825.HK).