Hong Kong swimmer Sze Hang-yu fast approaching 30, but is still targeting more medals at 2018 Asian Games
After an impressive display at the Asian Indoor Games, she will be in action at the Fina World Cup Hong Kong leg this weekend
Veteran swimmer Sze Hang-yu will hang in there until the 2018 Asian Games despite the fact that she will reach 30 next year.
On the eve of the Hong Kong leg of swimming’s World Cup, which begins at Victoria Park swimming pool on Saturday, Sze remains enthusiastic as she was 17 years ago when she first joined the Hong Kong team.
“I love the sport but of course I am still competitive in the team and can make contributions,” said Sze, who bagged more medals for her trophy cabinet at the Asian Indoor Games this month.
“I would be very happy if some younger swimmers could come up and take over my position in the team. After all, my presence can always give them a target to strive for and beat.”
Sze was instrumental in the two relay gold medals that Hong Kong won at the Indoor Games in Turkmenistan last week, as they beat rivals China in both the women’s 4x50-metre medley and 4x100m medley. She also won an individual silver in the 100m freestyle.
“I have now set sights on the Asian Games in Indonesia and the three women’s relays can all be medal targets,” said Sze.
“It’s difficult to predict if I would quit after the Asian Games, though my presence surely will become less and less until I call it a day.”
Chen Jianhong, head swim coach at the Sports Institute, said Sze had set a shining example for up-and-comers in his squad.
“She still has the heart after all these years and most of all she is very competitive,” said Chen. “It’s not easy to do that at such age, although I would say she can still compete a few more years.
“I am happy to know she still wants to compete for a place in the relays at the 2018 Asian Games.”
Sze said she now takes more time for recovery between races than in her younger days and is only entering two events at the World Cup despite home pool advantage – the 100m free and 100m butterfly.
The man to watch in the two-day event will be South African Chad le Clos, a double silver medallist in the 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle at the Rio Olympics and 200m butterfly world champion in July.
Le Clos, a three-time overall champion of the World Cup series in 2011, 2013 and 2014, is also leading the 2017 series after the first three legs in Moscow, Berlin and Eindhoven.
Kenneth To King-him, now representing Hong Kong, was the overall winner in 2012 when swimming for Australia.
In the women’s event, Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, five-time overall defending champion since 2012, will also feature in Hong Kong.
The overall men’s and women’s champion can each walk away with a US$150,000 winner’s cheque.