JUDO

First for Hong Kong: two judokas fighting for places at Olympics

Leung Po-sum and Yu Kin-ting hoping to fly the flag in Rio next year

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 December, 2015, 11:51pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 December, 2015, 11:51pm

Despite a lack of support from the authorities, Hong Kong could have two judokas for the first time at an Olympic Games, a senior official says.

Leung Po-sum is almost certain to be in Rio next August, while Yu Kin-ting is well on his way to achieving the required world ranking.

The road to the Olympics is not easy as we are not an elite programme at the Sports Institute where they provide comprehensive support for athletes
Wong Po-kee, HKJA chairman

“The qualification period will close in May next year and Leung should have no problem through her world ranking,” said Hong Kong Judo Association chairman Wong Po-kee.

“Yu also stands a chance, provided he can do well in the remaining events before the qualification ends.

“We have never been able to send two athletes to the Olympic Games since a qualification system was introduced for the Sydney Games in 2000. This is going to be a great result if we can achieve it for Rio.

“The road to the Olympics is not easy as we are not an elite programme at the Sports Institute where they provide comprehensive support for athletes to strive for qualification places.

“We have to rely on a small amount of funding. We hope the authorities can do more to help the non-elite sports.”

There are six major competitions – two opens in Africa, two grand prix events in Europe, one grand prix in Kazakhstan and the Asian Championships – and Wong said Leung (women’s under-67kg) and Yu (men’s under-60kg) would compete in all events.

“You can tell from the places that we need to spend huge amounts on travelling and related expenses, but if we don’t go they won’t be able to make it as they need ranking points,” Wong said.

Leung, 25, is almost certain to qualify through the continental quota with a 62nd place. The top 14 women and 22 men in each of the 14 Olympic categories automatically qualify, while there is also a continental quota for 20 judokas across both sexes and all categories from Asia.

With each country sending only one judoka in one category, Leung should have no problem making it in her category, while Yu, ranked 38th, needs more ranking points.

“Leung is very keen to represent Hong Kong in Rio as she has been training full-time for the past two years,” said Wong. “Yu is still a university student and that’s why he can spare time for training.”