Top China athlete offers backing for Games

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 June, 2006, 12:00am

Olympic gold medallist Xing Huina, who won the women's 10,000 metres at the 2004 Athens Games, will visit Hong Kong to show her support for the 2009 East Asian Games (EAG).

Xing's first engagement is at the Hong Kong Sports Institute in Sha Tin on Saturday morning, where she will conduct a workshop for Hong Kong's long-distance runners and elite track athletes.

The workshop aims to enhance the standard of long-distance running and to encourage exchanges between the mainland and Hong Kong.

Xing will later visit Tseung Kwan O, and the 2009 EAG Sports Ground which is under construction there. Then she will be a guest at the prize-presentation ceremony for the 2009 EAG slogan competition at the Excelsior Hotel in Causeway Bay, and attend a dinner with EAG organising committee members.

At the 2004 Olympics, Xing announced to the world that China's women's distance running was back on track after years in the doldrums. Xing thought she could win a medal in her favoured 5,000m but finished a disappointing ninth. Everyone then forgot about her until she stormed back to clinch gold in the 10,000m.

After her victory in Greece, Xing said: 'When I crossed the finish line, I said, 'Can this be true?' I want to say Chinese people are the best. It's every athlete's dream to win a gold medal on home soil. I hope to do even better in two years' time.'

Xing won the women's 5,000m race at the 2005 East Asian Games in Macau last November, and in October, she clinched the National Games 10,000m title. But she was stripped of the 1,500m gold, as she was alleged to have impeded her rival in the home straight.

Officials attending the dinner on Saturday will include Hong Kong's sports chief Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, chairman of the Fifth East Asian Games Planning Committee, and Anissa Wong Sean-yee, director of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

The overall champion of the fifth EAG slogan competition will be announced at a ceremony earlier. The winning slogan will be officially adopted for the 2009 EAG. Its author and a representative from the judging panel will share their ideas about the top entry.