The super six who deserve to be stars
ONE of the highlights of the territory's sporting year takes place on Friday - the Coca-Cola Hongkong Sports Stars Awards night at the Grand Hyatt.
Sports associations had until November 30 to submit their nominations and a two-week voting period for the public was held in January.
Now the winners in the three categories - senior, junior and team - will be known and all will be revealed in five days' time.
There were 43 nominations for the senior award but voters could pick only six, with the overall winner being selected from the leading six.
Without further ado, here are the six who won my vote and why.
Ringo Lo Moon-tong: A sports fan attending an international fencing tournament for the first time cannot fail to be impressed with the courage and skill required to survive in such an intimidating atmosphere. In the Olympic Games in Barcelona, 28-year-oldLo won three bouts to progress to the last 32 in the individual men's foil event. This was a tremendous effort in such an intense, often hostile, environment.
Faheem Khan: The 22-year-old Pakistani squash player had another impressive year, winning the Asian and East Asian championships to be ranked third in Asia behind his illustrious countrymen, Jansher Khan and Jahangir Khan. He was also voted the Hongkong Sports Institute's sportsman of the year.
Chai Po-wa: The 26-year-old table tennis player has finished in the top six in the awards for the past four years, from 1988 to 1991, and this could be her year for overall glory. She came close to winning Hongkong's first Olympic medal on two occasions in Barcelona, reaching the quarter-finals of the women's doubles, with Chan Tan-lui, and of the women's singles. With a bronze medal guaranteed for reaching the semi-finals, the draw was unkind and China blocked any hope of further progress. She won the women's singles titles in the Tokyo and Quebec open championships and helped Hongkong to win the women's team event at the 11th Asian Championships in New Delhi.
Kim Isherwood: After 12 months on the sidelines with injuries, the 34-year-old triathlete returned to the water, bike and roads to finish the year ranked third in the gruelling World Ironman series. Her placings were seventh in Australia, fourth in Japan,ninth in Canada and 19th in the Hawaii World Championships, with a personal best time of nine hours 56 minutes. She broke the Hongkong Ironman record for men and women twice in 1992. For dedication and determination, her efforts were second to none.
Lee Lai-shan: ''San-san'' was the first winner of the individual sports star award last year and stands a strong chance of recording a double. The 22-year-old Cheung Chau-based windsurfer is a fine example to young Hongkong athletes with her commitment tothe cause and her quest for victory. She retained her Asian title in Japan, was second in Kiel Week in her Olympic build-up and finished 11th of 24 countries in Barcelona, with a highest race placing of fourth.
Sam Wong Tak-sum: Another talented windsurfer who ended the year in great style, beating New Zealand's 1988 Olympic gold medallist Bruce Kendall in winning the Asian Championship for the first time in Japan in September. The following month he became the grand champion at the Hongkong Open. He was fourth overall in the European Championships in Norway, an event used as an Olympic selection trial by many countries. In an entry of 44 countries in the Barcelona Games, Wong, 26 at the time, was placed 20th, with a race high finish of sixth.
There were 12 nominations in the team award, with only one vote allowed. Mine went to the Hongkong Rugby Football Union, winners of the Plate at last year's Hongkong Sevens, runners-up to Namibia in the Sicily Sevens and losing finalists to Japan in the Asian Championship in South Korea.
The Sicily Sevens was a qualifying tournament for the first World Cup Sevens and, after two series of round-robin matches, Hongkong beat Czechoslovakia in the quarter-finals to book their place at Murrayfield, Scotland, where the World Sevens will be heldin April. They then beat Spain in the semi-finals before losing for the second time in the tournament to Namibia.
Quite simply, it was the most professional set-up, on and off the field, that I have seen from any team connected with Hongkong sport.
Winning ways of the Crazy Gang BELATED congratulations for winning the Hongkong Saturday cricket league to Little Sai Wan - not everyone's cup of tea, it must be said.
With their rather boisterous approach, Sai Wan have become known as the Crazy Gang - the Wimbledon of Hongkong cricket.
''Yes, I suppose it is quite a wild bunch,'' admitted their captain, Rizwan Farouq.
''They are a very young team by Saturday League standards and sometimes it is difficult to control them on the field. A lot of guys we play against think we are pretty wild and some people have got upset about that.
''Off the field it's different - and everyone was congratulating us up at the Cricket Club last Saturday night.'' So who are the principal members of the Crazy Gang? ''Well, there's Monty Noble - he's Australian so you know how they are,'' added the skipper. ''Then there's Alex Price, who can be a bit temperamental, and then there's . . .'' No more gift goals from Michelotti WHILE Eastern have been dominating the Hongkong football scene this season, the award for the most improved team must surely go to Michelotti.
Last season - their first in the First Division - Michelotti won 19 points from 18 matches and finished eighth of the 10 teams, one place above the relegation zone.
This season they have picked up 22 points from their first 12 league games, stand second behind Eastern and have conceded only eight league goals.
Their goals-against tally last season was an unhealthy 45. In fact their defence was so generous the team were renamed ''Thanksalotti'' by opposing strikers.
ports Person of the Week: Juventus midfielder David Platt, four goals for England in his first game as captain - the 6-0 victory over San Marino.
Sports Quote of the Week: ''The year 2000 will be just the right time to show Europe and the world the new Germany - democratic, united, modest, sympathetic'' - the Mayor of Berlin, Eberhard Diepgen, as the race hots up.