Unlucky draw leaves women eyeing bronze
Luck apparently deserted the Hong Kong women's table-tennis team last night when they were drawn against China, thought 'invincible', in today's semi-final.
After finishing top of their group after three matches without a defeat at the Peking University Gymnasium, the Hong Kong team will now confront Zhang Yining, Guo Yue and Wang Nan, meaning they have little chance of more than a bronze.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong men's table-tennis team face a fight for a bronze medal after losing to Japan yesterday.
It was a heartbreaking day for the trio of Li Ching, Ko Lai-chak and Cheung Yuk as they were thrashed 3-0 by the Japanese team in the final group match at Peking University Gymnasium.
In the women's competition, South Korea and Singapore finished first in the other groups, and meet in the other semi-final. The two winners will compete for the gold and silver medals, while the losers will clash in the bronze playoff.
Despite the bad draw, coach Li Huifen paid tribute to her three charges - Lin Ling, Tie Yana and Lau Sui-fei - after they routed Romania and Germany, both 3-0, on the second day of the group stage yesterday.
'They are ... all approaching their 30s. The Beijing campaign will be their best and last chance for an Olympic medal.'
Hong Kong's men will now play Taiwan in the first round of the bronze-medal playoff today after the draw was made last night. Li Ching, the highest-ranked player, said they would focus on the bronze-medal race.
'There is no point in looking back,' he said.
At the Water Cube, swimmer Stephanie Au Hoi-shun set the fifth Hong Kong record when she came first in her 800-metre freestyle heat.
The 16-year-old student, who shattered her own Hong Kong record in the 200-metre freestyle on Monday night, demolished her mark by almost nine seconds.
All four Hong Kong rowers' races were cancelled yesterday because of bad weather.