Li hopes to prove cut above rest in tai chi

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 October, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 October, 2002, 12:00am

The silver-tongued Li Fai will try to turn words into golden deeds when she goes out with sword in hand to complete the second act of the two-part taijiquan competition in wushu events today.

The 33-year-old author of several books on the ancient Chinese art of tai chi is a strong favourite to win Hong Kong their fifth gold medal. She is well-placed in the 15-strong field, lying in third position behind Myanmar's Khaing Khaing Maw and Singaporean Liew Yin Yin.

'I hope to do well and maybe win Hong Kong a gold medal,' said Li during yesterday's rest day for the tai chi competitors. 'This will most probably be my last chance to win a medal here.'

Li took part in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing but failed to win a medal on that occasion. Marriage and the birth of a daughter prevented her from representing Hong Kong at the next two Games in Hiroshima and Bangkok. But she has made a competitive comeback and is determined to finish in style.

Myanmar's Maw took the lead at the end of the first preliminary round on Thursday when she finished her routine with 9.5 points. Liew was behind on 9.46, while Li was third with 9.45. The gap between Li and the front-runners is inconsequential and Hong Kong will be hoping she turns on the style during the sword routine.

Hong Kong's other top medal hopes lie with To Yu-hang in the men's changquan three events combined competition. The competitors are judged in the short weapon category (sword), long weapon (spear) and hands. The 21-year-old To has had two second-place finishes in both the spear and hands category. With only the sword routine to come tomorrow, the SAR are looking at another medal - silver at least.

While expectations are high for Li and To, it was heartbreak for Lo Nga-ching in the women's changquan three events combined. Lo badly hurt her right ankle early in her routine yesterday to finish 10th in the second part of the competition.

'It is disappointing. I have trained for this event for more than a year and I was confident of winning a medal,' said the 28-year-old Lo. 'I don't think I have any chances of a medal now.'

While executing a flying jump, Lo landed badly and twisted her ankle. She was in pain, but continued bravely before limping to 10th position. On Thursday, she finished her first routine in third spot and her chances of finishing with a medal looked good.

Lo was taken to hospital where an X-ray revealed she had not broken any bones in her right foot. But her ankle was badly bruised and swollen. Thankfully she has a rest day today. The Hong Kong camp will take a decision tomorrow whether she will continue with her final discipline.