Beijing heroes to take part in East Asian Games
Guo Jingjing, China's most celebrated diver with four Olympic gold medals, will join a star-studded mainland team when the East Asian Games are staged in Hong Kong later this year.
A top mainland swimming official yesterday promised China would be sending all their top divers to Hong Kong for December's Games.
'We are in full support of Hong Kong's East Asian Games,' said Li Hua, director of the China Swimming Administrative Centre. 'This will be the first time Hong Kong is hosting a multi-sport games and we will be sending all our best divers here to show our support.'
Li is in town with all his top charges, including Guo and 10 other Beijing gold medallists, for fund-raising activities to benefit the Chinese Athletes Educational Foundation. Half the money raised will also help fund the East Asian Games.
Li, however, admitted it would be difficult to name the individual divers for the Games at this stage.
'We still have some major competitions ahead of us this year, such as the National Games which will be held two months before the East Asian Games, and therefore we can only name the squad shortly before December,' he said.
China's divers dominated the Beijing Olympics, winning seven out of a possible eight gold medals. Guo captured two of those gold medals adding to the two she won in Athens in 2004, making her one of the most successful divers in Olympic history. China's Fu Mingxia and American Greg Louganis are the only other divers with four Olympic gold medals.
Guo, though, will have the opportunity to leave those two in her wake when she competes at the 2012 London Games.
Although her relationship with Hong Kong businessman Kenneth Fok Kai-kong is always under the public spotlight on the mainland and in Hong Kong, Guo said her private life would not affect her preparations for the London Games.
'I love the sport very much and have been committed to it for many years,' she said ahead of a fund-rasing dinner at the Island Shangri-La last night.
'My sporting career will not be affected by my private life as I would be so proud to represent my country at the London Olympic Games.'
Guo and her teammates, including three-metre synchronised springboard partner Wu Minxia, will perform at Kowloon Park Indoor Swimming Pool tomorrow as part of the fund-raising activities. And the diving queen said she would have no difficulty performing the kind of manoeuvres that won her Olympic gold despite rejoining the squad only a short time ago.
'The team resumed training after the Olympic Games and are now going through a winter training camp,' said Guo.
'As a veteran member of the squad, I was allowed more time to recover after the Beijing Games.'
All 1,700 tickets for the performance have already been sold, according to organisers.