Chan out to make amends in games
Hong Kong team coach Rene Appel hopes Chan Wai-kei can bounce back from a disappointing World University Games and show her true form at the National Games when the windsurfing event starts today.
The first race was scheduled for yesterday, but windy conditions coupled with rough seas forced the organisers to postpone the opener until today. The poor conditions had also stopped competitors from practising on Tuesday.
An Olympic event for the 2008 games, the mistral class features 66 men and women board sailors, including Hong Kong's Chan, her young sister Wai-man and the men's trio of Chan King-yin, Cheng Kwok-fai and Ho Chi-ho.
'There were high expectations before she [Wai-kei] left for the World University Games but she could not finish with a medal, which was disappointing. It's very competitive at the National Games and if she can get a good result here it means she has made some improvement,' said Appel yesterday.
'It's not going to be easy as most of the participants have been based here for six months in preparation for the event. We have been here for a month, but the athletes have done well in the training races in a variety of conditions and made some good progress getting to grips with the strong currents and local conditions.'
Chan has emerged as Hong Kong's top women's windsurfer due to the absence of 1996 Olympic champion Lee Lai-shan, who gave birth to a baby girl last month.
Lee finished second in the previous games held in Guangdong four years ago. The two Chan sisters also took part but both finished outside the top 10.
'The standard of the games is very high as China has been improving a lot in this event over the last couple years,' said Appel.
'In the men's event, Guangdong and Liaoning are very competitive, while Yin Jian, the Athens silver medallist and first in the qualifiers, is the favourite in the women's event.'
A total of 11 races, with two discards, are scheduled.