THERE was no fanfare or fond farewell for Hong Kong, the team joining the Commonwealth Games for the last time, but there a tumultuous welcome for South Africa, the team back in the fold after 36 years. The throng of black and white athletes and officials proudly waving their new nation's new brightly-coloured flag earned the second biggest cheer from 30,000 spectators for yesterday's opening ceremony in Victoria, Canada. The most fervent applause, of course, was reserved for the hosts. Announcer Marc Carpentier pleaded with the crowd prior to the march past that teams be greeted with equal adulation, but he ended up being partly responsible for the fluctuations in affection. He gave no postscript to Hong Kong's last Games, no fare-thee-well for the tiny territory soon to be swallowed up by the planet's most populous nation, whose own athletes are giants on the world arena. Instead they made an uneventful march around the track before taking their seats in the stands. It was only later in the evening, when the ceremony was shown on television, that Hong Kong's last appearance with their Commonwealth compatriots was acknowledged.