Asian Games

Yip hopes for more cash

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2007, 12:00am

Young shuttler Yip Pui-yin might be an Asian Games silver medallist, but accepts she has much to learn and needs continued support to work towards fulfilling her Olympic ambitions.

With this in mind, the 19-year-old is keeping her fingers crossed that the Manulife Sports Scholarship Programme will continue to back her.

Ten athletes will again be selected for the second phase of the programme, with each of them receiving a subsidy of HK$100,000 to offset the costs of training, coaching and medical and scientific monitoring leading up to the Beijing Olympics.

All nominations will be assessed by a selection committee and the results announced in May. The two-year programme offers a total of HK$2 million to help Hong Kong athletes aspiring for success in Beijing.

'The Asian Games are over and I need to focus on the circuit to qualify for the Olympics Games in Beijing next year,' said Yip, who beat reigning Olympic champion Zhang Ning of China on her way to clinching a singles silver medal in Doha.

'There are a lot of things I need to learn before I can win an Olympics berth. It is not going to be easy for a young athlete like me even though I have captured a medal at the Asian Games. I need more international exposure so that I can maintain a good standard at the top level.'

Illustrating the fragility of her progress, Yip suffered early exits in the All England Championships and at another Super Series tournament, the Swiss Open, in consecutive weeks this month.

Yip lost in the opening round of the All England event to Juliane Schenk of Germany and was no match for Yao Jie in the second round of the Swiss Open.

'I beat Yao in the Macau Open last year but failed to repeat my feat in Switzerland. In the All England event, I had been in the lead, but failed to take my chances to close out the match because my tactics were too straightforward,' said Yip. 'Unlike before when I was an unknown, players now know my game and I will have to be strong, mentally and physically, and vary my tactics if I want to win.'