Hong Kong young guns rescue triathlon as bronze medal in Japan win secures elite status at Sports Institute
Mixed relay team of Hilda Choi, Eric Wong, Camden Richter and Oscar Coggins clinch third at Asian Championships in Japan
Triathlon is set to receive million dollars of support as they return to the Sports Institute tier A programme, just over one year after they were axed from the elite ranks.
They had to thank their youthful mixed relay team, who completed the requirements by finishing with a bronze medal at the Asian Championships in Japan last week.
The team comprised Hilda Choi Yan-yin, Eric Wong Hui-wai, Camden Richter and Oscar Coggins – all between 16 and 22 years of age.
The sport has obtained an average of 9.25 points from four international results in the scoring table, meeting the nine-point benchmark requirement to become a top-tier programme.
“We are delighted to have achieved our goal of exceeding the nine-point benchmark for a tier A elite sport,” said Triathlon Association president Fenella Ng Gar-loc.
“Based on the results over this past year, we fully expect triathlon to regain it’s tier A status next year.
“Re-entering tier A will not only be a real boost for our athletes but also for the sport of triathlon as a whole.”
The review period by the Sports Institute ends this year ahead of a new support cycle starting in April next year. The government’s Sports Commission will announce the number of elite sports in March.
There are now 17 tier-A sports at the institute and the number will increase to 18 should triathlon receive approval, which, according to a Sports Commission member, would simply be a formality.
“I can’t see any reason why triathlon cannot be accepted as a tier A sport as long as they have achieved the required benchmark,” said the member.
Tier A sports can enjoy a full range of support at the Fo Tan elite training centre, including coaching, facilities, local and overseas training, sports science and sports medicine support as well as elite training grants for their athletes.
Triathlon coach Patrick Kelly said they could now look forward to the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“I’m pleased with the progress of the team and all of us will continue to strive for the better,” Kelly said. “The Hong Kong team has been consistently working hard to become more internationally competitive. Progress takes time and effort, and the team are getting there.”