Hong Kong University student Fong Yee-pui could not believe her eyes when she walked into the Olympic Stadium yesterday morning - 80,000 people already waiting for action on the first day of track and field.
Fong may have been a sideshow to the main events, but she made it through to the first round after finishing second in her 100-metre preliminary.
'It's just sensational,' said 20-year-old Fong. 'I know athletics is a popular event in Great Britain but I did not expect to see a full house of 80,000 in the morning of the first day of competition. It really tells you how big the Olympics are. I also went for the World University Games in Shenzhen last year and although it was a big crowd also, the atmosphere could not compare with this.'
Fong finished in 12.02 seconds, behind Lorene Bazolo of Congo (11.87).
'I was a bit tense because this is my first Olympics,' said Fong. 'I am confident of doing better in my second race, because there will be better sprinters who will push me harder.'
Fong said her main target would be to break Wan Kin-yee's Hong Kong record of 11.73 seconds. She came close in Zhaoqing in mid-April with 11.79, her personal best.
Hong Kong men's 100m record holder, Tsui Chi-ho, watched Fong and soaked in the atmosphere in the athletes' stand.
He said he was happy with his 4x100 metre relay team's form after arriving in England after a poor performance in the Diamond League's Monaco leg two weeks ago. They were invited to take part after setting the fastest time in Asia this year of 38.47 seconds but finished last of the six teams in 39.19.
'We have never had the opportunity to run in a big race like the Diamond League and it was a timely wake-up call for us,' he said. 'Every athlete cherishes the opportunity of being part of the Olympics and we have to take the chance and perform to our best.'