Lo over the moon after landing wild-card invite to Olympic party

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 May, 2004, 12:00am

Cynthia Lo Ka-kay has still not got over the shock of getting her ticket to Athens. The 22-year-old is the only local athlete - of the 33 who qualified - going to the Games on a special invitation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

'I just can't believe that I was picked above others who have been shooting for a much longer time than I have. I'm surprised I got a chance,' Lo said yesterday.

Lo, a 22-year-old statistics major from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, will take part in the women's air pistol 40 shots event at the Games from August 13-29.

She has been on cloud nine, and relishing the prospect of taking part in her first Olympic Games, ever since the Hong Kong Shooting Association informed her last month that the IOC had given the SAR a wild-card entry for shooting - and that they had nominated her.

'There are others who are much older and more experienced than me. So I was surprised when I heard that I would be the one to represent Hong Kong in shooting,' said Lo, who has been shooting only for the past four years. 'I will try my best.'

All the other athletes, in the nine other sports, have qualified for the Olympics through hard work. Lucky Lo will join them because of the IOC's decision to offer Hong Kong a wild card.

Shooting officials said they had picked Lo because she was a natural talent. 'We nominated her because she is young and she has the natural talent to become a good shooter.

'She has only been shooting for four years, but is promising,' said Billy Leung, secretary of the Hong Kong Shooting Association.

Lo added: 'I took up shooting because you seldom get the chance to touch a gun in Hong Kong. This is a very special sport and you need to be very mature to be able to handle a gun. It has also given me more confidence.'

Her highest score in the air pistol event is 374 - well short of the world record of 393, which is held by a mainland Chinese shooter.

A realistic Lo won't set her sights that high amid tough competition at the Olympics although officials hope she will be able to beat the Hong Kong record of 382 held by Ellen Young.

'I don't want to put pressure on myself and say that I will break this mark or that mark. I just want to go there and do my best and enjoy myself,' said Lo.