Athletes strike gold deep in Tsim Sha Tsui

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 September, 2008, 12:00am
 

The fans may have been screaming as they shopped, but some of China's gold medallists still enjoyed a last-minute spree before they left for Macau yesterday.

The gold medallists tried their best to be normal tourists in boutiques and luxury stores in Tsim Sha Tsui, but onlookers and reporters recognised them despite their casual wear and sunglasses.

'What do you want me to buy,' gymnast Chen Yibing joked when he was asked why he walked empty-handed out of the Louis Vuitton shop in Canton Road. The 23-year-old said he found Hong Kong a nice place, but the trip was marred by the intense media attention.

In the morning, divers Wu Minxia and He Chong skipped a visit to the theme parks in favour of electronic goods at Harbour City shopping mall. The Broadway store said the athletes bought cameras, cellphones and camcorders.

In the afternoon, table tennis world champion Ma Lin visited Louis Vuitton in Canton Road to buy several items, including luggage.

The honour of a visit by the top athletes prompted the Chow Tai Fook jewellery shop to give souvenirs worth more than the amount they spent in the Nathan Road store, which was closed for an hour to provide 10 athletes privacy. 'Business was affected a little bit, but I think it was a special occasion,' Chow Tai Fook director Koo Tong-fat said.

Besides a 10 per cent discount, the store gave away a diamond pendant and a 20-gram Olympic-themed HK$10,000 gold coin for every athlete who visited, including gymnasts Chen, Yang Wei , Xiao Qin, Li Xiaopeng and diver He.

Yang bought a jade bracelet for his mother, diamond earrings for his fiancee Yang Yun, and a jade pendant for her mother. He was also given a pair of gold wedding bracelets.

Women's judo gold medallists Xian Dongmei and Yang Xiuli bought diamond necklaces.

Six store employees and police officers guarded against the pressing crowd at the store entrance while other police controlled about 100 people who pressed their faces against the windows to get a glimpse.

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