Historic day for HK sport with gold and silver double

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 December, 2006, 12:00am

For the first time in the city's sporting history, two SAR flags were raised at a victory ceremony after Hong Kong competitors won gold and silver in the women's badminton singles final in the 15th Asian Games.

'It was so beautiful,' beamed Wang Chen, who clinched the gold medal with a straight-sets victory over Yip Pui-yin. 'I am very happy to win this medal, just so very happy,' said Wang.

Hong Kong's previous best badminton performance at an Asian Games was two bronze medals four years ago in Pusan. The result brought Hong Kong's gold medal tally at these games to four, equalling their best tally, achieved in Pusan. They have also garnered seven silver and four bronze, compared with six and 11 respectively in the 2002 event.

Wang's presence in the final came as little surprise - the 30-year-old is ranked world No4 in the sport, but her 19-year-old opponent's charge to the gold-medal game is a promising sign of depth in the Hong Kong squad and raises the prospect of the SAR being a serious medal contender at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

'She [Yip] definitely has a bright future in the sport if she can keep up what she is doing,' said Hong Kong team coach Chan Chi-choi. 'She is young and needs more international exposure before she can become a real world-class player.'

Chan said Yip's dream run in Qatar set a tremendous example for Hong Kong's young people. 'She has proved you can do it if you have the determination.'