Chan Ming-tai betters his Hong Kong long jump record to boost Olympic hopes
The local number one leaps 8.12 metres, only three centimetres short of the Rio qualifying mark
Promising long jumper Chan Ming-tai took a massive leap towards the Rio Olympic Games on Saturday after bettering his Hong Kong record with an effort of 8.12 metres – just three centimetres short of the qualifying mark.
It was the second time in two weeks Chan broke his own record after a leap of 7.99 metres in the Singapore Open last week.
“After the Singapore event, I knew I could jump better and was expecting something slightly over eight metres. The new record is really a surprise,” said the 21-year-old after his outstanding performance at the annual Hong Kong Championships at Wan Chai Sports Ground.
“Of course there is room for improvement on my technical aspects and I want to reach the qualifying mark as soon as possible.”
Chan’s effort puts him in world’s top 25. With the world’s leading 32 long jumpers qualifying for the Olympics, the Hong Kong athlete has virtually secured a ticket to Rio.
“Each country is allowed a maximum three long jumpers in Rio and after deducting athletes from the same country in the rankings, Chan should have qualified,” said Simon Yeung, vice chairman of the Amateur Athletic Association. “To play it safe, it would be better to make the 8.15 metres before the qualification closes in mid July.
“We have formed a special jumping squad to help Chan with support from the Sports Institute and we are confident he can reach the mark.”
Chan will compete in the Taiwan Open in two weeks’ time before flying to Europe for two competitions early next month. He will have another chance at home in the Asia Inter-city Championships at the Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground in late June, with the Thailand Open in July his last chance to reach the mark.
Only two years ago, Chan set the Hong Kong record of 7.70 metres in Taiwan. He then smashed his own mark at the Incheon Asian Games when he jumped 7.73 metres to finish fifth.
He raised the distance to 7.89 metres at the World University Games last year before his 7.99 metres in Singapore. He has already suspended his studies at the University of Hong Kong in order to fulfil his Olympic dream.
The Hong Kong Championships, meanwhile, will continue at the Wan Chai venue on Sunday, the highlights being Chan Ka-chun in the men’s 400 metres and Lui Lai-yiu in the women’s 100 metre hurdles.