China’s top Olympians had Hong Kong fans cheering and gasping as they turned on the style with multi-sport demonstrations on Saturday morning and a jam-packed variety show in the evening. On day two of their goodwill tour of Hong Kong, the Tokyo 2020 Games medallists divided up to parade around two venues, much to the delight of fans bearing handheld China flags. They reunited for an evening variety show at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium. Olympic diving champion Wang Zongyuan kicked things off with perfectly executed dives off the Victoria Park Swimming Pool platform, before gold medal swimmers Yang Junxuan, Tang Muhan and Xie Siyi showcased world-class talents of their own. Just 2km away at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, a group of 11 athletes and coaches – including table tennis players Ma Long and Xu Xin, badminton duo Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping, gymnasts Liu Yang, Zou Jingyuan and Zhu Xueying, and fencer Sun Yiwen – led what turned out to be a multi-sport medley with local professional and aspiring athletes. The full 29-athlete delegation appeared at the variety show for a more intimate look into their personal experiences while also engaging in casual sports-related games with hosts and local athletes. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was among the crowd of almost 2,000. Hong Kong’s Olympic bronze medallist Sarah Lee Wai-sze represented the home-grown talent alongside sprint cyclist champion Zhong Tianshi, while the show climax came when record-breaking sprinter Su Bingtian, a Guangdong native, greeted the audience in Cantonese. Shot-put gold medallist and fan favourite Gong Lijiao brought further laughs with her humorous attempt at introducing herself in heavily accented Cantonese. About 3,400 residents attended events at the two venues on Saturday morning, according to the government. Dozens of police officers were on hand guarding the entrance to the venues as queues formed as early as 8.30am to get a glimpse of the Olympians. Fans Peng Keshu and his wife Hu Jielin, both 29, brought a banner reading “China ‘Dream Team’ diving squad” to support the athletes. “We hope athletes from the mainland will feel the warmth and support of Hong Kong citizens,” Peng said. “I am very excited after seeing their performances, and hope that there will be more demonstrations like this after the pandemic,” Hu added. Twelve-year-old Chan Tsz-ming, from the Hong Kong diving team’s junior squad, said performing with Wang was the first time she had shared the pool with a national team athlete, adding that she too hoped to win silverware of her own some day. “I was very nervous. I was scared that I would make a wrong move or do a bad job, which would be embarrassing,” she said. “Wang is excellent … I really want to participate in large-scale competitions and compete with other national athletes.” Lucy Zhou Yang, 28, and Krystal Liu Qianyue, 28, who moved to the city from Fujian for jobs in the finance industry, said they snapped up tickets as soon as they were up for sale. “We felt very happy, excited and proud of our Olympians. We thought it’d be great to see them in person,” Liu said. Table tennis legend Ma, who garnered by far the loudest cheers at the stadium event, said the Hong Kong women’s bronze medal-winning performance in Tokyo would “bring more success to the city” and “attract more young friends into the sport”. “Here is a phrase for you all: you are bigger than you think,” said Ma, who boasts five Olympic and 12 world championship gold medals in his cabinet. Teammate Xu sent Hong Kong sports fans some words of encouragement amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic restrictions. The two-time Olympic team champion has some fond memories of the city. “For me, Hong Kong was the first city I dreamt of visiting,” Xu said. “I won my first senior championship since the 2009 National Games in this stadium, so I’m very happy to be here. Hong Kong hasn’t had much of a chance to host international competitions due to the pandemic. But I hope that all of its outstanding athletes can continue to pursue their dreams.” Aside from cheers and screams at Ma’s every move, two-time Olympic weightlifting champion Lu Xiaojun’s simple message to Hong Kong athletes itching to resume competition also caused the stadium to erupt. “Our country will become a sports powerhouse in 2035,” Lu boomed. “Fight for the people! Fight for the motherland!” A selection of Hong Kong athletes also joined in, notably fencing icons and fellow Olympians Vivian Kong Man-wai and Cheung Ka-long – the latter of whom won gold himself in Tokyo. “I hope I can learn from Yiwen in future and develop as strong a mindset,” former world number one Kong said of her women’s épée rival and friend Sun. “She always wins the most important points, even when the pressure is on. It’s very difficult to do that, she’s very talented. I’m honoured to be able to share the piste with her every time we meet, and it’s good when we have big international competitions because we can talk and not get too nervous before it.” Olympic weightlifting gold medallist Hou Zhihui also gave insight into the life of an elite-level athlete during the restrictive Covid-19 pandemic. “We have strengthened protection measures except when we’re competing. We must put on masks immediately after each event, but sometimes after doing intense exercises, it’s a bit difficult to breath. In order to adapt, we need to get used to wearing masks,” said Hou, before gymnast Zou added that he and his teammates train six days a week for seven hours across the morning and afternoon. “To become an Olympic champion, firstly you need superb technology and resources, plus you must have an outstanding will to develop all aspects. You also need to be brave and have a healthy heart that is not afraid of hardship.” Elsewhere, five athletes – weightlifters Li Fabin and Chen Lijun, shot putter Gong, javelin thrower Liu Shiying and sprinter Su – met disciplined services members and youth uniformed groups at the Fire and Ambulance Services Academy to share experiences. There was also a car-pulling event with proceeds going to Special Olympics Hong Kong. After the variety show, the delegation visited the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong. The three-day victory lap concludes on Sunday at Polytechnic University with appearances by Ma, Su, Lu, Sun, rower Cui Xiaotong, swimming coach Wang Aimin and others. The visit of the athletes from the track and field, swimming, diving, weightlifting, gymnastics, trampoline, rowing, cycling, canoeing, fencing, badminton and table tennis disciplines comes two months before the start of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. In all, China won 88 medals at the Tokyo Olympics – 38 gold, 32 silver and 18 bronze. That included seven gold and five silver medals in diving, as well as three gold, two silver and one bronze in swimming. The Games also featured the best-ever performance by Hong Kong athletes, who brought home a record six medals. In 2016, a 64-strong Olympic delegation including all 42 Chinese gold medallists visited Hong Kong for a similar demonstration and public meet-and-greet.