A medal lost, but hope renewed
Hong Kong missed out on a second medal at the Olympics yesterday when the men's table tennis team lost the battle for bronze, but their coach believes their unexpected progress to the top four will inspire the city's young players.
'No one would have expected the men's team to reach the medal match,' Chan Kong-wah said after Hong Kong lost 3-1 to Germany in the play-off for third place.
'A lot of people back home watched our matches live on TV and I'm sure they would agree that we did not let Hong Kong down. Even more importantly, we hope it will inspire young players so that they, too, can dream of competing in the Olympics one day.'
Hong Kong's most impressive player at the Games was 24-year-old Jiang Tianyi, who reached the last eight in the singles competition.
After losing to Germany's Timo Boll in the team event, Jiang said: 'If I could have just hung in there a bit longer and took those crucial points in the final stages, it might have been another story.'
World No 7 Boll beat Leung Chu-yan in the first match, while Dimitrij Ovtcharov overpowered Tang Peng in the second. Leung and Jiang then thrashed Ovtcharov and Bastian Steger in the doubles, before Boll wrapped it up by beating Jiang in the first reverse singles.
Tang, 31, said he was eager to try again at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He will also be Hong Kong's flag-bearer in the closing ceremony on Sunday.
On the last day of the table tennis tournament yesterday, China beat South Korea 3-0 to win the men's gold and complete a second successive sweep of all Olympic titles.
With three more events to go, cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze has won Hong Kong's only medal so far, a bronze.