National Olympic chief A. de O. Sales has quashed rumours that he would offer Robyn Lamsam a backdoor ticket to the Olympics. Lamsam was not selected for Hong Kong's Atlanta-bound swimming team after she failed to achieve the required qualifying time at April's Asian Championships in Bangkok. However, an anonymously written letter was circulated among the swimming community accusing Sales, who is also president of the Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association (HKASA), of making personal promises to Lamsam's mother, Kim, that the 18-year-old Asian Games bronze medallist would be guaranteed an Olympic place regardless of her qualifying time. Sales, though reserving praise for multiple national record-holder Lamsam, said he played no part in the Olympic selection process. 'The letter has gone to many people, but Robyn cannot represent Hong Kong at the Olympics because she was not nominated by the swimming association,' said Sales. Last month, the HKASA technical committee leader Ronnie Wong sent a letter to members informing them that it intends to stand by its selection policies, indicating that Lamsam would not have a second chance to qualify. Although the HKASA overlooked Lamsam for the squad, Sales, as president of the Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee, has the power to include her in the squad. But Sales said yesterday he never had any intention of interfering with the selections of the HKASA technical committee, which nominated Arthur Li, Mark Kwok and Snowie Pang for next month's Olympics. 'I had no part in the selection of the team,' said Sales. 'There are some very good people in the technical committee and they were left to themselves. 'Robyn knows she cannot go to the Olympics, but I must say that she has handled the situation very well. 'When she failed to qualify, she was the model athlete in the way she accepted it. 'She is a role model to other athletes . . . the perfect sportswoman and perfect lady.' Lamsam, has been one of the territory's most successful swimmers on the international stage in recent years. At 1994's Asian Games in Hiroshima, she won a bronze medal for Hong Kong in the women's 50 metres freestyle. Lamsam finished fourth in the race but was promoted to third place after the Chinese winner was stripped of her gold because of the now-famous drugs scandal. She also anchored Hong Kong to the silver medal in the women's 4 ? 100 metres freestyle relay, again after the Chinese winners were disqualified. Lamsam was one of two high-profile swimmers to miss out on an Olympic place, the other being veteran sprinter Michael Wright. The South African-based Wright has been representing Hong Kong at international level for the past 10 years. Although he attained the required Olympic qualifying time over the last 12 months, selectors felt that his form did not warrant an Atlanta ticket. It will be one of the smallest swimming teams to represent Hong Kong at the Olympics. Meanwhile, rower Michael Tse became the last Hong Kong athlete to qualify for the Olympic Games by finishing second in a qualifying race in Japan on Sunday. Tse, 31, felt both triumph and sadness after his success. He was hardly mentioned as a potential Olympic rower when the Hong Kong team travelled to Toda, Japan last week for the last Atlanta qualifying races. All the hype surrounded the women's lightweight doubles pair of Ho Kim-fai and Fenella Ng. But it was heavyweight single sculler Tse, a fitness coach at the Hong Kong Sports Institute, who came away with a prized Olympic place. Tse, while delighted at his performance in Toda, felt a tinge of sadness that he will be the only Hong Kong rower at the Olympics after Ho and Ng were unable to win an Atlanta place when they were beaten by the Japanese crew on Saturday. 'I do feel sad because the women, as well as the men's fours who didn't qualify, put in a lot of effort in preparation for the qualifiers,' said Tse, who represented the territory at the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima. The men's fours team finished third in their race, just a few metres behind second-placed China. The Japanese rowers dominated the event with all their lightweight crews qualifying for the Olympics. Hong Kong took part in the Barcelona Olympics four years ago when entry was automatic. Tse is the first Hong Kong rower to earn a place in the Olympics through merit. Although a medal is realistically out of his reach in Atlanta, Tse will relish the chance to compete against the world's top rowers. 'My target is to try and beat the Japanese who beat me in the qualifiers,' said Tse, who was at yesterday's luncheon to honour the Institute's scholarship athletes who have gained entry into the Olympic Games. Tse, whose participation in Atlanta was yesterday confirmed by the National Olympic Committee, will be one of only two Asian rowers in the 22-man Olympic heavyweight field.