Hong Kong to send a record seven badminton players to Rio Olympics after funding and resources boost

Promising Angus Ng Ka-long, ranked 11th in the world for men’s singles, will head the city’s contingent for the Games

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 May, 2016, 8:44pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 May, 2016, 10:29am

A record seven shuttlers from Hong Kong, including the women’s doubles pair who have been idle since December, have made it to the Rio Olympics.

This is the result of persistent hard work over a long period of time
Hong Kong coach Tim He Yiming

Qualification was achieved over a one-year period ending last Sunday, but the latest world ranking list posted yesterday determined the final allocation in all five disciplines.

Hong Kong coach Tim He Yiming attributed the increased number of players for the Games to a lift in standards and more resources being poured into the sport locally.

“This is the result of persistent hard work over a long period of time,” said a relieved He. “We have received more support in different areas during the Olympic cycle but it is also the players who have responded positively to work their way through.”

Hong Kong sent five shuttlers to the 1992 Barcelona Games when badminton ws first introduced to the Olympic programme.

World powerhouses China, who won five gold medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, booked a full quota of 16 players across five events. Two-time men’s singles defending champion Lin Dan and compatriot Chen Long, the world number one, will head a strong contingent.

Heading the Hong Kong list is promising Angus Ng Ka-long, a former world junior champion in the doubles. Ng, who turns 22 next month, scored victories over mainlanders Lin and Chen during the qualification period.

Ng is ranked 11th in the men’s singles, followed by teammate Hu Yun, the No 14 Wei Nan, the 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist and 17th in the world, missed out on a place for Rio because two Hong Kong players were already ranked in the world top 16.

In the women’s singles, veteran Yip Pui-yin will make her third Olympic appearance after Beijing and London. The 28-year-old had strong showings in the latter stages of the qualifying period, edging teammate Cheung Ngan-yi in the rankings.

In the mixed doubles, Lee Chun-hei and Chau Hoi-wah, who won the Superseries Australia Open last year, easily made it to the Olympics with their world ranking of 12.

But it was the inclusion of women’s doubles pair Tse Ying-suet and Poon Lok-yan, ranked 22 in the world, that cheered the coach. The pair were among four Hong Kong players at the London Games, but Poon injured a knee ligament at the Macau Open in December and has not played since.

“They are the last two players to confirm their qualification but it is good news that they can go,” said He. “Poon is recovering well and we expect her to start playing again next month, but she also needs to overcome her injury mentally.”

South Korea will send 14 players to Rio, followed by Indonesia and Denmark with 10 and nine respectively. Malaysia have eight with seven each for Hong Kong, Japan and India.