HK officials take steps to ensure clean Games
Hong Kong are to start a series of doping tests to cope with Shanghai's intention to have a 'clean' All China Games.
The Hong Kong delegation, comprising 165 athletes and 61 coaches and officials, have been asked to attend a half-day doping seminar at the Hong Kong Sports Institute on August 30.
Ip Hay-wood, senior official of the delegation, said they had been alarmed by the case of hurdler Chan Sau-ying, who tested positive for the banned substance ephedrine last month.
'Shanghai are very concerned about drug usage. They don't want the Games to be ruined by any drug scandal,' said Ip.
'The organising committee have been doing a lot on the issue. There will be 2,000 to 2,500 random drugs tests.
'We also don't want anything to go wrong as this is the first time we will take part in the Games. We have our own doping programme before every international event. We are even more cautious about drug usage after Sau-ying's case.' The athletes, 116 men and 49 women, will have medical check-ups on August 30 before attending the doping seminar.
'All athletes and coaches are required to attend the seminar,' Ip said.
'Then we will carry out random drug tests before we leave for Shanghai. The number of tests depends on our budget.
'Those who fail the tests may still go to the Games if their problems are minor and mendable ones.' Hurdler Chan, whose three-month ban was lifted following a new ruling from the International Amateur Athletic Federation, is included in the 165-strong squad, announced by the Hong Kong organising committee yesterday.
Chan is joined by cyclist Wong Kam-po, swimmer Mark Kwok Kin-ming, shuttler Tam Kai-chuen, table tennis paddlers Chai Po-wa and Chan Tan-lui, rower Fenella Ng Gar-loc and other top athletes from 20 sports.
These sports are archery, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, gymnastics, handball, hockey, judo, rowing, shooting, soccer, swimming, table tennis, tennis, track and field, and wushu.
Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, head of the Hong Kong delegation, said he was expecting one or two medals from the Games, which are to be held from October 12-24.
'I understand it is going to be tough for our athletes since the standard on the mainland is very high,' said Fok.
'But still we have chances in cycling, rowing, equestrian and table tennis. However, I am not going to say more because I don't want to impose any pressure on the athletes. All they have to do is to try their best and remember they are in Shanghai to compete but not to have fun.
'We have already gained 13 points from windsurfer Lee Lai-shan's Olympic gold medal. It is a good start and a big boost to us.' Fok added: 'Although this will be the first major event Hong Kong will take part in under the Special Administrative Region flag, we are sending a team with quality and competitiveness.
'We have set out some very strict selection criteria.
'We have examined the applicants' training record of the past six months, and asked them to submit their training schedule in the coming three months and their results in international competitions over the past 12 months.
'Also, we have considered their expected finishing positions in the Games and the qualifying standard of their respective sports for their mainland counterparts.' To celebrate the territory's inaugural participation in the Games, famous painter Dr Fang Zhouling, mother of the Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan, presented two of her paintings to the Hong Kong delegation yesterday.
A torch-lighting ceremony will be held this morning.
Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, Chinese Olympic Committee secretary-general Wei Jizhong and windsurfing queen Lee will attend.
Flames will be simultaneously lit in Hong Kong and Shanghai and then flown to the mainland capital, Beijing.
The flame will then be carried by athletes from different provinces and cities before returning for the opening ceremony in Shanghai on October 12.