Tsai smashes HK record

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 September, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 September, 1999, 12:00am

Sherry Tsai Hiu-wai shattered the Hong Kong women's 400 metres individual medley record at the Hong Kong Championships - but it still wasn't good enough to meet the Olympic 'B' qualifying time.

The 16-year-old Diocesan Girls' School student continued to do what she does best as she churned the pool to clock a winning time of five minutes and 7.95 seconds at the Shing Mun Valley Swimming Complex.

She also won the 200 metres backstroke in 2:30.41.

Tsai was surprised she broke Ayako Nakamura's medley mark of 5:13.79, although it fell short of meeting the required 5:01.93 needed for Olympic 'B' qualification.

'It was the first time that I competed in this event in an open meet so I am pleased to have broken the Hong Kong record. I know I can swim faster than this because I have done so in training. My coach was confident I would break the record,' said Tsai.

Tsai's excellent form should put her in good stead for next week's Inter-city games in Xi'an, China, where she hopes to win a hatful of medals.

Hong Kong coach Chan Yiu-hoi said he preferred Tsai to concentrate on her strongest event, the backstroke, for the moment.

'We are a bit weak in the women's 400 metres individual medley. Our results in this event are not up to international standard but Sherry is still young.

'She is only 16 years old and I'm sure she will meet the Olympic qualifying mark in the 400 individual medley because she has dipped under five minutes in training. She's more than capable of meeting the standard,' he said.

Tsai has so far reached the Olympic standard in the 100 metres backstroke.

Tam Chi-kin also showed good form to break the Hong Kong record in the men's 200 metres breaststroke in a time of 2:20.37. That bettered his old mark of 2:24.85 set in 1996.

Flora Kong Yan-kay reached the Olympic standard in the 100 metres butterfly after winning her event in 1:02.85.