Disability Discrimination

You can’t imagine that disability discrimination would happen in the sports field.

20160628-1      Since my start of table tennis training in 1982, the disabled table tennis Hong Kong team used the formal table tennis hall at Hong Kong Jubilee Sports Centre, now renamed as Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) for practice.  We used it in the evening while the able-bodied table tennis Hong Kong team occupied it at daytime.

In recent years, I have heard some voices from the existing able-bodied table tennis Hong Kong team coach that he disliked our disabled table tennis players because he wanted to extend his team’s training to evenings.  Worsestill, he accused the disabled players of damaging the table when dropping the racket on the table.  As a result, he always tended to expel disabled table tennis players from the hall.

20160628-2      With the excuse of having intensive training for Hong Kong table tennis team’s preparation for 2016 Rio Olympic Games, from June 2016 onwards, HKSI forced us to change our training at the table tennis hall to a multi-purpose indoor playground except giving two tables at the hall for the standing players, but not for any wheelchair player.  It meant that wheelchair players would totally be banned from using the table tennis hall.  This measure had seriously interrupted my preparation for the Rio Paralympic Games.  On one hand, as a protest, all wheelchair players did not go to HKSI for training and then I got no opponent for practice.  On the other hand, our disabled Hong Kong team coach 20160628-3needed to go through between two courts for monitoring the training leading to ineffectiveness and inefficiency.  The worst was that the Hong Kong team had not really used the formal table tennis hall in evenings though the hall was spared for them.

The last but not least, such arrangement is a valid disability discrimination to wheelchair table tennis players, who was stopped from using the table tennis hall as usual and as others.  I have made a report to Hong Kong Equal Opportunities Commission in early June 2016.  Now, I am waiting for their investigation and jurisdiction.