Fears that former Chinese junior champion Wang Chen could be barred from representing Hong Kong at the Sydney Olympics have led local badminton officials to plump for lesser-ranked Koon Wai-chee. If International Badminton Federation rankings were what counted, Wang, who is one spot ahead of home-grown Koon, would have been the obvious choice. But this was overlooked by the Hong Kong Badminton Association as they gave the second women's singles spot for the 2000 Olympics to Koon. This was due to fears they might fall foul of Hong Kong's Sports Federation and Olympic Committee who have said they will bar any athlete who does not meet eligibility requirements. 'We will go through the list of qualified athletes with a fine-toothed comb. If any athlete is found not eligible, he or she will not be going to Sydney,' said Con Conway, SFOC vice-president. 'It was going to be a very difficult decision. I don't know if Wang would have qualified under the Olympic requirements. But I will abide by the decision made by the association,' said Hong Kong coach Chan Chi-choi. Unlike the Asian Games, where eligibility standards require athletes to be locally born or of Asian parentage, the Olympics are a bit more relaxed. 'There is a residency rule which differs from sport to sport and is set by the international federations. It can be one year but it is usually three years. However, an athlete should not have represented another country in an event which is run by the world body,' explained Conway. It is believed that Wang could have been disqualified under this ruling as she represented China on the international stage as a junior player. According to Chan, the 24-year-old Wang, who has been in Hong Kong for the past year, is able to represent the SAR internationally under IBF rules. Wang, ranked 28th in the world, was a top-ranked junior in China and last represented the mainland at the Uber Cup qualifying round in 1998. Koon will join top female player Ling Wan-ting on the flight to Sydney. They will both play in the singles event. 'Whatever the decision, one of them was going to be disappointed. It is tough as we only had two berths to fill,' added Chan. At present 28 athletes have qualified in seven sports - athletics, badminton, cycling, rowing, swimming, table tennis and windsurfing - for Sydney. If everyone is found to be eligible, it will be the largest squad to represent Hong Kong at the Olympics. According to Conway, the team will be finalised by mid-June. 'We have to do it within the next couple of weeks.'