Olympian Barton Lui hopes to put Sochi disappointment behind him
Hong Kong’s sole Winter Olympian said he wanted to put his disappointment in Sochi behind and focus on his future competitions.
The 20-year-old Barton Lui Pan-to, who returned to Hong Kong on Wednesday, said he did not want to comment further on the lack of a team doctor accompanying him to the competition.
Lui earlier lashed out at his home city’s sports officials for refusing to send a team doctor along with him. He also said the officials gave him little attention.
Returning to the Chek Lap Kok airport on Wednesday, Lui said: “Now that the competition is behind me, I do not want to talk about the past. I will continue to work hard on what an athlete should do.”
“It has been an honour to represent Hong Kong to participate in the Olympics. Now I want to focus on the next competition and I will need the support of you to promote the Winter Olympics.” Lui said at the Chek Lap Kok airport, accompanied by his delegation.
Lui said his earlier comment was meant to express his feeling and should not be seen as a complaint.
The speed skater finished fifth out of six in a qualifier for the men’s 1,500-metre short-track speed race on Sunday. He said he suffered pain from old injuries.
The Sports Federation and Olympic Committee earlier explained that the quota for the seven-strong Hong Kong delegation was full.
Committee secretary-general Pang Chung explained that there was not enough time to arrange a team doctor as it would require an additional application with the organiser. He stressed he had tried his best to offer assistance to the athlete.
The delegation’s chief Ronnie Wong Man-chiu said delegation members had different duties and his was not to visit the athlete during their training. He also said he had to attend meetings every morning in Sochi to make arrangements.
“I know the athlete may need more care, but it may also give them pressure,” Wong said.
The delegation included Sports Federation and Olympic Committee Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, who was not seen at the airport on Wednesday along with the delegation. He could not be reached for comment.
Pang added that the number of members in a delegation was set by the International Olympic Committee, and that he, along with Wong and Fok, were responsible for coordination in Sochi and had to attend meetings with different personnel.
He said one place in the delegation was allocated to the Hong Kong Skate Union and it was up to the union whether it would send a team doctor. Pang said, however, the union gave the place to its chairwoman.
He said he had requested a doctor in an informal discussion with his coach, but he was told that the quota for the seven-strong Hong Kong delegation was full.
Lui, Hong Kong’s first male Winter Olympian, had previously told Commercial Radio that he also felt ignored by sport officials in his delegation. He said, without naming anyone, none of them ever turned up at his training sessions to support support.