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Govt hails players’ response to latest anthem blunder

Govt hails players’ response to latest anthem blunder

The government on Wednesday praised the actions of Hong Kong ice hockey players after they stopped a 2019 protest song being played instead of the Chinese national anthem at an event in Bosnia.

The latest anthem blunder came after the SAR team outmatched Iran at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Sarajevo on Tuesday.

About 10 seconds into the song, Hong Kong athletes were seen gesturing for the organisers to stop the music. The national anthem was played shortly afterwards.

The government said in a statement that it “strongly deplores the mistake”, but the players had “upheld national dignity”.

“The HKSAR government attaches great importance to the incident and has requested the [Sports Federation and Olympic Committee] to conduct an in-depth investigation, including whether the relevant national sports association had, as stipulated in the guidelines, checked on site with the event organiser to ensure that the National Anthem to be played was correct,” the statement said.

It added that the government has asked the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee (SF&OC) to submit a report as soon as possible and to follow up on the incident in a serious manner.

The SF&OC, for its part, said it has instructed the Hong Kong Ice Hockey Association to investigate the cause of the incident with the organisers and to submit a report.

It said in a statement that it understands the association acted in accordance with guidelines by providing the event organiser with a recording of the national anthem, adding that the athletes and team manager immediately responded to the error in an appropriate manner.

There have been a number of similar anthem blunders at international events involving Hong Kong teams recently, including after an Asian rugby sevens game in South Korea in November and at a weightlifting match in Dubai in December.

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