HK duo play waiting game before heading off for final training

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 July, 2008, 12:00am

Hong Kong's windsurfers are playing a waiting game until they can start final training sessions in Qingdao.

Chan King-yin and Vicky Chan Wai-kei are due to leave with coaches Rene Appel and Cheung Kwok-bun on Friday for the sailing venue for their final preparations.

'There is no point going if they cannot train there because of the water conditions,' said Dennis Chau Wai-keung, of the Hong Kong Windsurfing Association. 'We have good training facilities in Hong Kong and it won't affect them too much if they cannot go to Qingdao.'

Chau said they had received inquiries from overseas windsurfers regarding training in Hong Kong. Former Olympic gold medallist Barbara Kendall, of New Zealand, is already in Stanley fine-tuning her form before the Games.

Mother-of-two Kendall, an arch-rival of Hong Kong heroine Lee Lai-shan, will be competing in her fifth Games at the age of 40. She won gold at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, silver in 1996 in Atlanta (behind San San), and a bronze in 2000 in Sydney. She finished fifth at Athens four years ago. Chau said if the conditions in Qingdao did not improve in time, they would only send the two windsurfers a week before the Olympic marina and the Olympic village opens on July 28.

But Appel and Cheung are keen to get to Qingdao to study sea currents.

'It is important to do this exercise with timing in mind because it will be one month before the Olympic Games by the end of this week and the conditions will be very similar,' said Chau.

Former Hong Kong team coach Sam Wong Tak-sum expects the conditions in Qingdao to improve soon.

'It is not the first time Qingdao has faced such a problem,' said Wong. 'The green algae will disappear once the sea water temperature has increased. At the moment, the sea water is still cold, but I heard it will change soon.'