Hong Kong team has concerns about student games

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 April, 2011, 12:00am


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Hong Kong's leading young swimmers face a dilemma this year with the two top events of their sporting calendar starting on the same day.

The All China Secondary School Students Games will be held in Baotou , Inner Mongolia from July 16-22 while the international Fina World Championships will be hosted by Shanghai from July 16-31.

Qualification for the World Championships, which is held every two years, is much harder than for the student games. Those who meet the criteria will naturally prefer to enter this major international event.

The list of swimmers representing Hong Kong at the student games will be released by the end of the Easter holidays. Some local swimmers will not qualify for this competition because they were born before the cut-off date of September 1, 1992. However, others may pull out from the event on their coach's advice.

According to a Hong Kong swimmer who did not want to be named, coaches told them they are concerned about food safety at the China schools games. One risk facing swimmers is accidental exposure to chemicals like Clenbuterol in mainland pork, which has happened before.

Testing positive for Clenbuterol and other substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency could end the career of a young swimmer, even if the chemical was innocently ingested in a meal before the event.

The Hong Kong team coaches could not be reached for comment. The Hong Kong Schools Sports Federation said all athletes, including swimmers, were well-protected from prohibited substances. Officers went to host cities to vet accommodation and catering, the federation said. Teams will stay and take meals at an approved hotel for the entire games.