Sprinter Leung Ki-ho has been forced to give up his place in the men's 4x100 metres relay team for the World University Games this summer due to official intransigence - and two other regular members of the team are likely to follow suit.
The biennial event, which will take place in Kazan, capital of Tatarstan in Russia, in July, clashes with the Asian championships, and the Hong Kong University Sports Federation gave the runner little option, even though Leung won a bronze medal at the Shenzhen version of the student Games two years ago.
"They told us we had to leave with the entire Hong Kong delegation on July 5, but unfortunately we would still be in New Delhi for the Asian championships at that time," said Leung, who showed a glimpse of his top form yesterday, winning the 200 metres at the Xtep Hong Kong League round two at Wan Chai Sports Ground in 21.35 seconds. "We asked for a delay of our trip to Kazan, but the answer was, 'no'."
The 4x100 metre relay in Kazan will not start until July 11, which means Leung could compete in both events, because the Asian championships end on July 7.
"If we arrive in Kazan on July 8, we would only miss the individual 100 metres, which is scheduled be held the day before, but could certainly start in the relay, which is the event where we won a bronze medal two years ago," he said.
"The Asian championships is the biggest regional event, which will also help our sport stay in the Sports Institute as an elite programme if we can achieve good results. Therefore this is a priority for us."
Leung said two other relay team medal winners in Shenzhen - Ho Man-lok and Lai Chun-ho - as well as London Games Olympian Fong Yee-pui (women's 100 metres), would also opt for the Asian championships. The University Sports Federation has yet to announce the delegation for the Kazan Games.