DESPITE THE FARCICAL disqualification, Hong Kong youth team head coach Cao Yunong hopes Hong Kong schoolboy champion Casey Tse Ka-chun's valuable experience at the World Table Tennis Championships will help guide him to the Olympics next year. Cao thinks Ka-chun, 17, can go to the 2004 Athens Olympics with more training, but admits study commitments make it a tough target. 'He has the criteria. However, as study is still his first priority and he has to prepare for his A-level exams next year, his training might not be enough,' he said. The 17-year-old's international debut promised to turn into a memorable saga of giant-killing acts, but it all suddenly turned sour when his coaches - Hui Jun and Chan Kong-wah - failed to comprehend the competition format and Ka-chun missed a crucial knock-out match. But coach Cao said this kind of mishap would make the Hong Kong International School student more resilient. 'His main target in the championships was to learn, and to train with the elite athletes and boost himself to a higher level,' said Cao, who was hired from the mainland two years ago. 'We like to nurture good players from the youth squad. If he can focus on the training, his development will be promising.' Cao said this was also the problem hindering table-tennis development in Hong Kong. 'The Hong Kong environment is special. All young people make studying their priority. This is where most of their efforts and energies are spent - they have to deal with that pressure,' he said. 'It's not easy for them to train at the same time.' But it doesn't have to be this way. It certainly isn't in the United States, Australia and Britain, where precocious talent is given special assistance. Cao thinks a more systematic training programme and recognition of the athletes' achievements will improve the situation in Hong Kong. 'This is not something that can be changed in a short period. It needs the co-operation of different sectors and the government.'