Fong achieves Olympic mark

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 September, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 September, 1999, 12:00am

ALEX Fong Lik-sun yesterday reached the qualifying Olympic 'B' standard in the men's 400 metres individual medley and then said he was in no hurry to meet qualifying times in his other favoured events.

Fong easily won his race in four minutes, 35.17 seconds at the Hong Kong Swimming Championships to become one of four Hong Kong swimmers to so far meet Olympic times at the Shing Mun Valley Swimming Complex.

These were good times for the 19-year-old former St Joseph's student, who moved closer to competing in his first Olympic Games.

Fong could also reach the Olympic 'B' standard in the men's 200 metres individual medley, the 400 metres freestyle and 200 metres backstroke but he said he has the next 'couple of months' to complete his Olympic dream.

'I just need one more event to be safe [of going],' said Fong.

'It will either be in the 200 metres IM [individual medley] or the 200 metres back or 200 freestyle.

'My best times are closer to or even faster than the Olympic qualifying times. I'm in no hurry. We'll also compete in next year's Asian Championships in Pusan [South Korea] so that will give me an incentive to do well.

'I'm going to attempt to qualify in as many events as I can,' he said.

Fong will begin his final year of high school in Philadelphia in the US, which has a comprehensive swimming programme.

Fong will be training under world renowned American coach Richard Shoulberg, whose proteges include Dave Wharton, former world record holder in the men's 200 metres individual medley.

'We'll be training twice a day and swimming like 80,000 metres per week, which is more than twice the amount of work I do in Hong Kong,' said Fong, who won four gold medals at the recent Asia-Pacific Age-Group Championships in New Delhi.

Other swimmers who reached the Olympic qualifying times were Fu Wing, who clocked 23.71 seconds in the men's 50 metres freestyle; Sherry Tsai Hiu-wai (women's 100 metres backstroke, 1:05.78) and Tam Chi-kin in the men's 100 metres breaststroke (1:05.49).

Unus Alladin