Rowdy home crowd put me off my game, says HK fencer

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 August, 2008, 12:00am

A Hong Kong fencer yesterday said her performance at the Olympics was hugely affected by mainland fans who made too much noise.

Chow Tsz-ki - who lost to the mainland's Bao Yinging 15-5 on August 9 in the women's individual sabre early elimination round - said the home crowd were so loud that she could not even hear the referee or her coach.

'I knew there would be loud cheers, but I didn't expected that it would be so loud,' she said, adding that she complained to the referee about five times. 'It affected me a lot. I couldn't hear the referee order us to begin fencing. I knew we had begun only when I saw the other fencer was moving. It made me nervous at the time and I was upset after the match,' she said.

Chow, who also fenced at the Athens Games and two Asian Games, said she had never heard such loud cheering during competition. She even heard a French fencer being booed as she tried to tie her shoelaces. 'They even booed the referee who, properly, gave a non-mainland fencer one point.'

Coach Andras Decsi and Timothy Fok Tsun-ting chairman of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, pointed out that both fencers faced the same problem.

'The other fencer was also disturbed by the spectators,' Decsi said.

Mr Fok said it might be a good idea if there were announcements asking the audience to be quiet.