Hong Kong table tennis coach Hui Jun quits

Former world mixed doubles champ decides not to renew contract after a decade at helm

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 March, 2013, 6:41am

Hong Kong's table tennis team is seeking a head coach after Hui Jun decided not to extend his contract when it expires at the end of this month.

A former world mixed doubles champion from the mainland, Hui joined the China national team as a coach in the late 1980s after retiring from playing. He has been coaching in Hong Kong since 1998 and took up the head coaching job at the Sports Institute in 2002.

Over the past decade, Hong Kong achieved their best Olympic result in the sport when Ko Lai-chak and Li Ching won a silver medal in the men's doubles at Athens 2004, while the women's team won two silver medals at the 2004 and 2006 World Championships.

An advertisement has been posted for the top job, which carries a maximum salary package of HK$1.6 million.

Hui's wife, Li Huifen, who is the Hong Kong women's team's coach, said yesterday the decision to leave had been made, without giving further details. "We will let you know our plans very soon," she said.

We will let you know our plans very soon

Chan Kong-wah, a table tennis coach at the Sports Institute, is one of the favourites for the position, but the former Hong Kong team member refused to comment yesterday.

Hong Kong's table tennis team have been a major force at the world's highest level, but are in transition since the world governing body introduced a ban on players aged over 21 representing an adopted country at world title events in 2008.

In the past, Hong Kong have been reliant on players from the mainland to achieve results, but this has to change.

One of the major responsibilities of the new head coach will be to nurture local talent to fill the gap following the retirement of men Ko and Li, and women Lin Ling and Zhang Rui.

Some hope for the future was provided over the weekend as Minnie Soo Wai-yam won the under-15 women's singles at the Italian Open.

Hong Kong also took a silver medal in the girls' team event after a close defeat to Japan, and the boys' team finished with a bronze medal.