1989 ONE of the greatest entertainers in international sport brought his humour, his athleticism and his panache to the Marlboro Championships tennis tournament at Victoria Park. The great and gifted Frenchman Yannick Noah, French Open champion in 1983, was making a tentative return to the circuit after injury and had the Centre Court crowd spell-bound with his antics. Although beaten - by American Dan Goldie - Noah won over a new army of admirers. In between some dazzling strokeplay, Noah joked with the crowd, answered a spectator's mobile phone and scolded the umpire for his lack of a sense of humour. After losing the first set 7-6 and falling behind 4-1 in the second, Noah produced an amazing comeback . . . by simply switching the names round on the scoreboard. Even the umpire saw that one. 1990 OF all the Hong Kong Sevens tournaments, surely this year was the best. Hong Kong, coached by schoolteacher Jim Rowark, were magnificent in winning the Plate, producing skill, flair, aggression and courage in equal quantities. Led by Ian Strange, who was forced out of the final against Japan by a bruising, bloody tackle from the American Eagles' Barry Williams in the semi-final, Hong Kong were slick and stylish. Stuart Krohn, Gary Cross, David Bulbeck, Craig Pain, Ian Calder, Gary Acheson and Ian Shaw ran riot in the final. (Chris Wynne-Potts was the ninth and final member of the squad). But the 1990 Sevens will always be remembered for one rather special try, producing roars of approval from a packed house which must have drowned out any Alan Tam concert. Seeing their early 10-0 lead being whittled away by Fiji in a pulsating final, New Zealand pressed forward in the second half looking to regain control. With little space to work in, Fiji's impish general, Waisale Serevi, palmed a pass over his head to centre Noa Nadruku, who stunned the All Blacks by passing the ball between his legs to winger Tomasi Cama. The noise from the stands was deafening as Cama out-kicked All Black full-back John Gallagher to the line for surely the greatest try of all time in the Hong Kong Sevens. 1991 THE second Salem Open tennis tournament - Hong Kong's only official ranking event on the ATP Tour - brought living legend John McEnroe to Victoria Park. McEnroe did not last long, however, and was sent packing in the first round by fellow American Todd Witsken. McEnroe, whose rage for perfection had delighted and, at the same time, disappointed his admirers throughout his career, was in decline . . . a sad and sorry spectacle indeed. Still, there were flashes of his genius, of his remarkable touch and of his elegant strokeplay to make it a moment to remember. 1992 THE Hong Kong Sevens came in 1976; then followed the Hong Kong Sixes, a festival of cricket which propelled the homely Kowloon Cricket Club on to the centre of the international stage. The inaugural Sixes, played in October, 1992, were an outstanding success, won by world champions Pakistan and not a bottle top in sight (on the field at any rate). On the first day of the two-day tournament, Hong Kong grabbed the headlines by beating an ageing Aussie team (remember Ross Greer's spectacular, diving, one-handed catch) and then conquering Pakistan in an incredibly tense final over, bowled by Waqar Younis and dispatched by Steve Atkinson, a schoolteacher from County Durham. ''Can you imagine telling the folks back home that you needed to hit a four off the last ball of the match bowled by Waqar Younis to beat Pakistan? They'd think you were dreaming,'' Atkinson said. The Sixes were up and running and, after just two editions at the KCC, will now be played at the new Hong Kong Stadium. 1993 SUNDAY, May 16, a rainy day in Shanghai, where Hong Kong are competing in the first East Asian Games. All eyes are on Ho Kim-fai, a former schoolteacher who had given up her job to concentrate on rowing. Coached by her husband, Chris Perry, Ho had reached the final of the women's lightweight single sculls and was favourite to win the gold medal after an impressive display in her heat. China, inevitably, had also made it to the final . . . and a large crowd gathered on the banks of the river to cheer on their competitor, Hu Xinfen. While many Hong Kong athletes wilt under the mental pressure of meeting the Motherland, Ho held firm and glided to a glorious victory. After her golden success, Ho explained the benefits of sports psychology - and Perry encouraged all full-time athletes in Hong Kong to use the service. For all the Hong Kong contingent at the Shanghai Aquatic Sports Centre that day, it was an emotional time indeed - standing in the drizzle on the banks of the river, listening to the national anthem and seeing the Hong Kong flag flying proudly at the top of the pole . . . with China looking up. 1994 ON May 11, the Hong Kong Stadium came alive with 40,000 people generating a marvellous atmosphere as Hong Kong champions Eastern battled against one of Europe's most attractive club sides, Sampdoria from Genoa. The match ended in a 4-1 victory for the Italians, with two of the goals being scored by their England captain, David Platt. A further 5,000 people were turned away from the stadium as football fever returned to Hong Kong, promising an exciting future after such a troubled start for the new venture.