Gold medal but no cigar for Chan Ming-tai as he fails to qualify for Rio in latest attempt

The 21-year-old long jumper leaps 8.11m, well short of the Olympic qualifying mark at the Inter-City Championships as he beats athletes from across Asia

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 June, 2016, 10:03pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 June, 2016, 10:05pm

Long jumper Chan Ming-tai has not given up hope on making it to the Rio Olympic Games despite failing to improve his Hong Kong record at the Inter-City Athletics Championships on Saturday.

Having jumped a record 8.12 metres at last month’s Hong Kong Championships, hopes were high for the talented 21-year-old to improve on that mark by three centimetres at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground – and qualify for Rio.

He managed 8.11m – good enough to beat overseas competitors from South Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia –but not good enough to meet the Olympic qualifying mark of 8.15m.

“It’s a bit disappointing although I would say 8.11 wasn’t too far off,” said Chan, who suspended his university studies in his attempt to achieve the Olympic qualification mark.

“I had chances of achieving the benchmark after making 8.11 metres on my second jump, but unfortunately I failed to maintain the momentum and I was a bit tense today. My final jump was good but I fouled.

“Perhaps the pressure on me is increasing as the qualification is closing. I must put this setback behind and focus on my last chance for Rio at the Thailand Open next month. Hopefully I can make it.”

Perhaps the pressure on me is increasing as the qualification is closing
Chan Ming-tai

Kim Sang-su of South Korea was second on 7.72 metres, while the bronze medal went to fellow countryman, Hwang Hyeon-tae who jumped 7.58 metres.

Even if Chan fails to achieve the required mark in Bangkok, he still has a chance of representing Hong Kong in Rio. His 8.12 metre record still ranks 29th in qualifying with the top 32 athletes going directly to Rio. If his ranking is outside the top 32 when the qualification closes in mid July, Hong Kong can still send one male athlete to Rio via a wild card.

“The two last conditions are not ideal as my target is still to make the mark in Bangkok,” he said. “It can still happen as mentally and technically I am prepared. All I need to do is to grab the right moment when it comes.”

Hong Kong will also be sending Chan Ka-chun in the men’s 400 metres and 400 metres hurdle to Bangkok, along with Lai Chun-ho and Ng Ka-fung in the men’s 100 metres in last ditch efforts of reaching the qualification mark.

Simon Yeung Sai-mo, vice chairman of the Amateur Athletic Association, said if none of the men’s athletes achieve the mark after Bangkok, they will have to make a decision on the wild card.

“Normally IAAF won’t accept wild cards in the jumping events because competition takes a lot more time, especially if many countries chose it,” said Yeung. “But if we decide to nominate Chan’s event, we will need special dispensation from the Olympic technical delegate. And we will only discuss this after the Bangkok event because if someone from Hong Kong can qualify, there will be no wild card for us.”