An Olympic medal is not beyond me, says Shek

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2012, 12:00am

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Gymnast Shek Wai-hung believes an Olympic medal is not beyond his reach when he competes in London this summer. But first he will have to perfect a routine that can compare with the best in the world.

'What I need to do is to increase the difficulty level of one of my two routines to seven so that I can challenge for an Olympic medal,' said Shek, whose confidence was boosted at last week's Pacific Rim championships in Seattle, Washington, where he won the vault event.

'I have to add a 180-degree twist before landing, which I have only tried in practice but not in competition. I will go to China for a two-month training camp and hope to try the new routine at the national championships in Shanghai in May.'

Shek, speaking at yesterday's unveiling of the Hong Kong delegation's Olympic uniform, sponsored for the first time by luxury brand Kent & Curwen, knows there is plenty of work still to do.

'I will need to practise the routine thousands of times, but that is just the physical side of it,' said Shek, 20. 'To win a medal at the Olympics, you have to be strong mentally also and I am working on that.'

Shek and Angel Wong Hiu-ying are the first ever Hong Kong gymnasts to qualify for the Olympic Games after their performances at the test event in London in January.

Honorary secretary of the Hong Kong Olympic Committee Pang Chung expects the city will have 30 athletes in London. 'Athletes in some sports are still trying to qualify for the Games, so 30 is just an estimate,' Pang said. 'But it is more difficult than ever to qualify for the Olympics.'

Hong Kong sent 34 athletes to the Beijing Games four years ago, with windsurfer Chan King-yin coming closest to a medal with his six-place finish.

Meanwhile, four fencers and one judoka are on the brink of qualifying for London.

Lam Hin-chung (men's sabre) and Nicholas Choi (foil) look to be high enough in the world rankings to make the Games, although the International Fencing Federation will make an announcement only next week. 'We also have another two fencers who are competing in this week's World Cup and are likely to make it, also through their rankings,' said Wong Tsan, vice-president of the fencing association.

In judo, Cheung Chi-yip (under-73kg) is likely to qualify. That would make him the first judoka to qualify for the Olympics since Wu Ching-hui in 1996 in Atlanta.