HK quartet chase times good enough to earn tickets to London

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 July, 2011, 12:00am

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A four-member Hong Kong squad leave for the world titles in Shanghai today with the target of qualifying for next year's London Olympics.

Headed by Hannah Wilson, who won two gold medals at the 2009 World University Games, the squad features three other Hong Kong record holders, Claudia Lau Yin-yan, Sze Hang-yu and David Wong Kai-wai.

Wilson will compete in four events, the 50-metre and 100m freestyle and 50m and 100m butterfly.

'I have been preparing for the worlds since April and my form is pretty good now,' Wilson, 23, said. She returned last week from the United States where she is in her final year at the University of California at Berkeley. 'I will not go to the World University Games this time so that I can give my all in the world championships in order to achieve the Olympic qualifying standard.'

The University Games will be held in Shenzhen in August, but Wilson has opted to peak for the world championships hoping the competition can push her to better results.

'While reaching the qualifying standards will be my prime target, I also hope to get into the semi-finals in Shanghai,' she said.

Her best hopes of achieving the Olympics qualification time are in the two 100m events, which she won at the World University Games in Belgrade two years ago.

'Her two winning times [there] are better than the Olympic qualifying standard and, of course, she has the ability to do it again,' coach Chan Yiu-hoi said.

Fina, the world swimming governing body, has set 54.57 seconds as the qualifying time for the 100m freestyle and 58.70 for the 100m butterfly. Wilson clocked 54.35 and 58.24 respectively in Belgrade.

'Fina have also set a slower Olympic selection time for swimmers to enter the London Games, but there is no guarantee if an athlete can manage only this standard,' coach Chan said.

'We have swimmers who have reached the selection time, but of course they want to make the qualifying time.'

Both Sze and Lau have made the selection time in several events.

Chan said Sze had an excellent chance in the 200m freestyle, in which she set a Hong Kong record of 2:00.26 at the Malaysia Open competition in May.