Territory's 'independent' status assured

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 May, 1997, 12:00am

A leading Chinese official has given assurances that Hong Kong's sporting status will be unaffected by the territory's participation in October's All-China Games.

Hong Kong will compete in the All-China Games in Shanghai for the first time, prompting fears that the territory's sporting identity might be brought into question again.

But Chinese Olympic Committee general secretary Wei Jizhong allayed anxieties yesterday when he said the territory had the full support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the international sporting federations.

'IOC president Juan Samaranch is well aware of the territory's unique situation, and he also made assurances that the territory would continue to compete in international events as a separate sporting entity,' said Wei.

He was speaking at a press conference detailing a Hong Kong-to-Beijing relay run to celebrate the re-unification.

Some of China's top athletes, including men's and women's table tennis champions Kong Linghui and Deng Yaping will take part in the relay, which starts at the Wan Chai Sports Ground tomorrow and ends in Beijing on July 1.

Meanwhile, Wang Junxia, the women's 5,000- and 10,000-metre world record holder, said reports of her demise were exaggerated.

Accounts had suggested that Wang was close to physical and mental collapse, and was doubtful for the World Championships in Athens in August.

'My health remains good. I just need more rest,' she said.