Lai's sensational sprint is ruled out
Sprinter Lai Chun-ho ran an astonishing 10.19 seconds in yesterday's 100 metres final at the Xtep Hong Kong League, but then discovered that the result, a Hong Kong record which would also have qualified him for the London Olympic Games this summer, would not be recognised because the wind speed at Wan Chai Sports Ground was recorded at four metres per second.
The maximum wind-aided result is two metres per second. The conditions, however, returned to an acceptable level just five minutes later when Leung Hau-sze won the women's 100 metres in 11.91 seconds.
'It is very fast, isn't it?' said 23-year-old Lai, who was named Hong Kong Athlete of the Year last Thursday. 'There is no disappointment because wind speed is something out of your control. I had a good race, my movement was good, especially approaching the finish, and I can feel my form is getting better and better. I am very confident of making the Olympic standard.'
The minimum mark to qualify for the Olympics is 10.24 seconds. The Hong Kong's 100m record stands at 10.28 seconds, set by Tsui Chi-ho in 2010. Tsui, one of the eight finalists yesterday, pulled out of the race after 30 metres suffering from leg cramps. Up-and-coming Ng Ka-fung was second with a time equalling the Hong Kong record, but that also did not count. Third place went to Tang Yik-chun, who clocked 10.59.
Lai will leave for Zhuhai tomorrow for a training camp with the 4x100m relay team in preparation of an invitation meet in Zhaoqing, Guangdong, which takes place in two weeks.
The relay team have also set sights on booking a ticket to the London Games. The quartet of Lai, Tsui, Ng and Tang, who won a silver medal at last year's Asian championships in Kobe, Japan, are confident they can reach the minimum standard of under 39 seconds. The Hong Kong record, set by the quartet at last year's Asia Grand Prix in Jiaxing, stands at 39.24.
'The relay is also our prime target for the Olympic Games and the team certainly have the quality,' said Simon Yeung Sai-mo, senior vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association. 'The Asian championships medal proves that and they have been making good individual progress since then. And now, the training camp will focus on making them work as a relay unit.'
There will be seven races for the sprinters to reach the standard before qualification closes in mid-July, and includes three rounds of the Asia Grand Prix in Thailand in May, followed by the Diamond League in Shanghai and an invitation meet in Hong Kong in late June.