Dr Stephen Hui Research Centre for Physical Recreation and Wellness (CPRW) and the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Joint Hypoxic Training Programme for Hong Kong Women's Football Team players to meet the challenge of the 2018 Asian Games to be held in Jakarta in August.

 

The MOU was signed by Professor Chow Bik-chu, Director of CPRW and Mr Paul Woodland, Head of Football Development, HKFA.  

After successfully working with the Hong Kong Handball Association to improve the athletic performance of the Hong Kong Handball Team through hypoxic training, CPRW is extending this partnership to the HKFA. Under the MOU, CPRW considerately opens its hypoxic chamber to the Hong Kong Women’s Football Team players for hypoxic training from June to August 2018. The specific training aims at improving the physical condition of the players, mainly their repeated-sprint ability, in the preparatory phase of the Jakarta Asian Games.

HKFA conditioning coach, Mr Mathew Pears remarked that the HKFA has joined arms with CPRW in the preparation of the Women’s team for the upcoming Asian Games. This exciting partnership will see the Hong Kong Women’s Football Team perform regular high-intensity training sessions within the hypoxic chamber, one of only two of its kind in Hong Kong, to further develop the team's fitness levels and competitive edge leading into the Asian Games. 

The hypoxic chamber allows an adjustment of oxygen concentration, enabling it to replicate the physiological stress on athletes that is experienced when training at altitude. Under the governance of Dr Tomas Tong and his team at CPRW and the HKFA coach, it is anticipated that this 10-week intensive training programme within the hypoxic chamber replicating altitude training will have positive physical and physiological adaptations.  This will enable players to sustain a higher level of training tolerance at sea level and put them in the best condition possible to compete at the Asian Games in August.  

Miss Betty Wong, HKFA Women's Football Manager, and Miss Cheung Wai-ki, a member of the Hong Kong Football Team, who joined the Brisbane Roar in Australia's Professional League last season, said that they know the handball team players’ repeated-sprint ability has improved significantly following the training, and this has boosted their performance in recent competitions. They expect to have similar training effects on their performance after the specific training in the coming several weeks.

The chamber was donated by Dr Stephen Hui's family to CPRW in 2013 for scientific research and community service purposes, such as enhancing fitness and cognitive function of older adults. Recently, the scope has been extended to athletic training, in the hope that it can help local sports teams enhance their competitive edge in the sports arena.