HONG KONG embark on a final Commonwealth Games odyssey with each of the 53 athletes aiming to etch their own personal tales of gold, silver and bronze into the territory's sporting annals. After the 10 days of competition in Victoria, Canada, only a precious few may be fortunate enough to walk in the company of legends, while the rest will be tangled in a mixture of emotions ranging from despair to personal satisfaction. It is difficult for the athletes to ignore the history attached to Hong Kong's final Games before reverting to Chinese rule in 1997, for wherever they go, they are reminded by organisers, fellow athletes and the press of their imminent departure from the ''Friendly'' fold. But for the majority of the squad, it is with a sense of purpose, not nostalgia, with which they seek the sporting glories offered by this gathering of, at last count, 62 countries from a once great Empire. For some, specifically the lawn bowlers, the Commonwealth Games has been one of their few chances to perform on an international stage. It brings together the world's strongest bowling nations and is a close second in numbers, though not in quality, to the World Championships. And it would be fitting if the sport that began Hong Kong's Commonwealth Games success story - with a silver at 1954's Empire Games in Vancouver and gold in Edinburgh in 1970 - would close the book spanning 40 years with another golden chapter. The 16-member bowls squad, despite being wracked by personality clashes, represent Hong Kong's best hopes for medals. With the inclusion, for the first time, of visually-impaired male and female singles players, Carlos Antunes and Sunny Tang, the scope for glory is wide. Men's singles player Ken Wallis and his women's counterpart Rosemary McMahon have the ability to rise above the quality field in their competitions, while the women's fours team of Jenny Wallis, Angela Chau, Senina Yau and Lena Yeung Ching will be hoping to emulate the performances of the bronze-winning team from the 1990 Auckland Games. Mark McMahon, singles silver medallist in Auckland, this year partners his father Bill in the pairs, admittedly in the toughest possible group but not without the skills to conquer all. Veteran Rae O'Donnell and Linda Smith fly Hong Kong's flag in the women's pairs while Noel Kennedy skips a potentially world-beating men's fours team of George Souza, Danny Ho and Mel Stewart. Badminton is another Hong Kong sport that has been tinted gold in the Commonwealth Games history. Chan Chi-choi, gold medallist in Auckland with mixed doubles partner Amy Chan, now coaches the team, which may not be as strong as four years ago, but does not lack the will to win. Chung Ho-yuk, Amy's successor, was this week near inconsolable when she lost a match to an unrated Scot - and that was only in training. William Wong Wai-lap and Chan Oi-ni are genuine medal hopes in the men's and women's singles competitions, while Hong Kong are also looking for rewards in the mixed team event. Swimming, along with athletics, is the quintessential sport in any major multi-sport event. And with youngster Katie Lau King-ting, Hong Kong have the means to break their medal duck at any Games. The 15-year-old has the fifth fastest entry time of one minute, 02.38 seconds for the 100 metres women's butterfly. A one-second improvement, along with a carefully-prescribed burst of adrenalin, could see her finish on the winners' rostrum. Robin Lamsam, a veteran at 16, has a multitude of events in which to make her mark, while 28-year-old sprinter Michael Wright is eyeing men's sprint glories. Arthur Li, Snowie Pang and Fenella Ng Gar-loc could also snatch the limelight in the pool. Shooter Gilbert U, a former Commonwealth bronze-medallist, is still grappling with his damaged centre-fire pistol. But it is in his best event, the free pistol, in which he hopes to shoot for gold. He is joined in the quest for shooting medals by Peter Rull Snr, Paul Simpson, Li Hao-jian, Mickey Cheng, Wyman Li and female shooter Yu Lai-har. Sprint hurdler Chan Sau-ying, the girl who cried at the 1990 Beijing Asian Games when she missed out on a bronze, is a woman now and is primed to give Hong Kong their first track and field medal. Distance runner Maggie Chan Man-yee, an adopted daughter of China's famed Ma's Army, and long-jumper Li Chun-nei complete Hong Kong's tiny athletics squad. Hong Kong's cyclists are hoping to wipe away the memories of their abortive 1992 Barcelona Olympics venture with a triumphant return to multi-sport competition. The French training fracas which got them kicked out of the Olympics is firmly behind them as prodigal son Hung Chung-yam, talented youngster Wong Kam-po, Hui Chak-bor and Chan Lung aim to pedal Hong Kong back to the heights of the mid-80s when they were one of Asia's top cycling nations. Finally, the eight diminutive gymnasts hope to be standing tall after their four days of competition, preferably with medals around their necks. The men's team of Lee Tak-ming, Wong Kim-fai, Lok Chung-yuen and Leung Kwok-keung and the women's squad of Nicola Waite, Wong Ka-li, Tina-Anne Pooley and Wut Fung-yin would like nothing better than to give their long-time coach Jim Wilson a glorious farewell in his last year at the reins.