Hong Kong to host Asian windsurfing championships at Stanley Bay
The event will be a warm-up for Asian Games in South Korea
Hong Kong's windsurfers will have the chance to size up their main rivals at next year's Incheon Asian Games when the region's top boardsailors compete in the Asian Championships at Stanley Bay in late November.
The November 26 to December 1 regatta in southern Hong Kong will be the biggest of its kind before the Games in South Korea, with Asian boardsailing powers China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea all confirming their participation.
"The Asian windsurfers will not meet again until the pre-Asian Games regatta in June and therefore the Asian Championships will provide a good opportunity for us to check out our opponents," said Dennis Chau Wai-keung, executive director of the Hong Kong Windsurfing Association.
"We will be entering all our top boardsailors. Conditions in Stanley at this time of the year will be quite tricky."
There will be four classes of competition - the Olympic classes of men's and women's RSX, the men's mistral and the techno 293 for young sailors under the age of 17.
"The mistral class is not very common these days because it is not part of the Olympic programme, so it will be a good opportunity for competitors to test themselves in this class," said Chau.
Hong Kong's Cheng Kwok-fai will be leading the city's challenge in the mistral, while Hayley Chan Hei-man and Michael Cheng Chun-leung will be chasing for honours in Olympic classes for the women's and men's RSX, respectively. The men's RSX team will also include Andy Leung Ho-tsun, Hong Kong's representative at the 2012 London Olympic Games. China will be sending a strong women's RSX fleet headed by newly crowned National Games champion Zheng Manjia.
"Cheng and Leung are the two leading men's RSX windsurfers from Hong Kong, and the Asian Championships will be the first battle between the two for the one spot each country has for the Asian Games," said Chau. "After the Asian Championships, they will compete in three European races to determine who will be picked for Incheon."
Both Cheng and Leung have been in good form recently, with Cheng winning a bronze at the World Cup series event in Qingdao in October.