Rio grand: Hong Kong contingent dodge typhoon, arrive for Games weary but in good spirits

Athletes and officials prepare for traditional flag-raising ceremony at Olympic Village

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 August, 2016, 9:28am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 August, 2016, 1:51pm

Hong Kong’s main delegation arrived in Rio on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning HK time) tired and weary after a day’s journey halfway around the world but relieved to have just missed getting caught by Typhoon Nida.

Vivien Lau Fung Chiang-chu, vice-president of the Hong Kong Olympic Committee (SF&OC), said the athletes and officials were in good spirits despite long flights either side of a six-hour layover in London.

“Of course, we’re all very tired. It’s been a long journey and we’re happy to have arrived in Rio,” said Lau. “Everyone is looking forward to performing well at the Olympics.

“We’re also happy that we left just before the typhoon really hit Hong Kong.”

Many of Hong Kong’s 38-strong squad of athletes were already in Rio, having arrived early in order to acclimatise but officials fear that the distances travelled and time difference in Brazil may have an impact on performance.

“It’s not often Hong Kong athletes compete in this part of the world,” said Ronnie Wong Man-chiu, secretary general of the SF&OC. “Rio is 11 hours behind Hong Kong and that could make a difference compared to previous Olympics.

“Some have come to Rio in order to get used to the environment but most would only have a few days to acclimatise.”

The first time the whole squad will stand together will be on Thursday during the flag-raising ceremony for the Hong Kong team at the Rio athletes’ village.

Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah is expected to visit the Hong Kong athletes on Wednesday as well as attend the flag-raising ceremony.

Also on Wednesday is the draw for the table tennis competition, with Hong Kong having high hopes of winning a medal in the team events.

Said Vivien Lau: “A lot of it depends on the draw. If they can get a favourable draw then they have a good chance of at least reaching the semi-finals, which would guarantee a bronze medal.”

Also eyeing medals are cycling, led by London bronze medallist Sarah Lee Wai-sze, and badminton, particularly in the mixed doubles competition.