Wheelchair fencers give Hong Kong cutting edge

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 September, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 September, 2004, 12:00am

Hong Kong's disabled athletes began the hunt for gold last night when the core of their 50-strong delegation left the SAR for the Olympic Stadium in Athens.

In all, 26 Paralympians will compete in the Games, which start this weekend, in everything from athletics and boccia to table tennis and wheelchair fencing.

'We have set our target at close to what we achieved in Sydney four years ago,' declared Hong Kong chef de mission Silas Chiang Tak-cheung, who also led the team in 2000. 'Wheelchair fencing remains our strongest event, from which we won four gold, two silver and two bronze in Australia,' he said.

At the last Paralympic Games, Hong Kong finished an impressive 21st of the 123 teams, winning a total of 18 medals: eight gold, three silver and seven bronze.

All four of Hong Kong's fencing gold medallists, Fung Ying-ki, Hui Charn-hung, Chan Kam-loi and Kwong Wai-ip, are returning to defend their titles. They'll be joined for the first time by a women's team comprising Chan Yiu-chong, Fan Pui-shan, Wong Kit-mui and Yu Chiu-yee, who will make their Paralympic debuts in the epee and foil events.

Another gold medallist out to defend his title is sprinter So Wa-wai who had a spectacular Games in Sydney, smashing three world records on his way to the men's 100-metre, 200-metre and 400-metre class CP6 titles.