Gearing up for big meet for big meet
HONG KONG will be represented by only seven athletes in four sports at the inaugural Pacific Ocean Games in Cali, Colombia, next month.
The Pacific Ocean Games is one of the world's growing number of multi-sports meetings and features some of the top sporting nations, including the United States.
It has always been understood that Hong Kong would be represented by a very small team as the territory has been excluded from team events by the Pacific Ocean Games organising committee because of its poor standards.
And the huge expenses involved in sending athletes to Colombia saw the Amateur Sports Federation (ASF) and Olympic Committee (OC) of Hong Kong further limiting the squad only to athletes with a proven international record.
A. de O. Sales, president of the ASF & OC, made sure that athletes worthy of going to Cali are up to the standards of the Pacific countries.
'We cannot miss out on the first Pacific Ocean Games,' said Sales. 'We must have a Hong Kong presence to show that we are an individual entity.' Hong Kong will be represented by two athletes in cycling, judo and swimming while woman hurdler Chan Sau-ying will be the territory's lone flag carrier on the running track.
Chan, who is studying at the University of Southern California, will go directly from the US to Cali where she will be joined by her team manager Tang Lun-loi.
The Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association (HKASA) had originally nominated three swimmers but veteran international Arthur Li Kai-yien pulled out.
HKASA sports executive Michelle Wong said: 'Arthur withdrew for personal reasons so we only have Robyn Lamsam and Mark Kwok going to Cali with coach Chan Yiu-hoi.' Woman freestyle specialist Lamsam, who won two medals at the Asian Games in Hiroshima last October, will take part in six events - 50 m, 100 m, 200 m and 400 m freestyle, 100 m butterfly and 200 m individual medley.
US-based Kwok also faces a tough schedule, having enrolled for the 200 m, 400 m and 1,500 m freestyle events, the 200 m butterfly and the 400 m individual medley.
The two-member cycling team of Asian Championships individual road race bronze medallist Wong Kam-po and Man Wai-chung, has already gone to Colombia earlier in the week to get used to high-altitude racing.
Judo will be represented by Asian Games bronze medallist Wu Ching-hui in the women's under-61 kilogram category and Wat Tze-wan in the men's under-60 kg division.
The Pacific Ocean Games also features baseball, boxing, soccer, artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, wrestling, water-polo, diving, synchronised swimming, roller-skating and volleyball.