Hong Kong long jumper Chan Ming-tai confident of qualifying for Rio Olympics

Athlete hopes to add 3 centimetres to his local record of 8.12 metres at inter-city championships to make it to the Games

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 June, 2016, 6:19pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 June, 2016, 6:26pm

All eyes will be on Chan Ming-tai as the long jumper attempts to add three centimetres to his Hong Kong record and qualify for the Rio Olympics at the Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground on Saturday.

The Hong Kong Inter-city Championships, which has attracted a field of more than 100 athletes from throughout Asia, will be the 21-year-old’s penultimate opportunity to qualify for Rio.

Chan set a Hong Kong record of 8.12 metres in May.

“After two successful jumps in Europe early this month, I think I have gathered sufficient momentum to break that benchmark,” said a confident Chan.

“My form is getting better and better and although there will still be the Thailand Open as the last qualifying hope in early July, I would rather get the job done in front of a home crowd. The venue, the weather and many other conditions all favour me here.”

Chan won his event at an international meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, two weeks ago with a leap of 7.92 metres before taking the gold with 7.78 metres at the meeting in Nivelles, Belgium, a week later. He leaped 7.99 metres at the Singapore Open in April.

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“We have little doubt of his ability and if all the right factors happen at the same time, he will be able to make it,” said Simon Yeung Sai-mo, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association. “The long jump is a very competitive discipline and it’s not easy for an athlete from Hong Kong to qualify for the Olympic Games. Chan has set a good example for Hong Kong track and field athletes to pursue their dream at the highest level.”

A second-year student at the University of Hong Kong, Chan has suspended his studies to focus on the Olympic qualification. His 8.12-metre jump puts him 29th in the current qualification rankings where the top 32 long jumpers are eligible for the Rio Games.

“I don’t want to make it through the rankings as my target has always been to achieve the qualifying standard,” said Chan. “In fact, many long jumpers have begun their season in Europe and the 8.12 metres is not secure enough before the qualification closes in mid-July.”

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The two-day international event at Tseung Kwan O features 30 overseas teams with athletes from Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines competing against Hong Kong’s best.

Hong Kong’s sprinters will make a last-ditch effort to reach the Olympic qualification mark in the men’s 4x100 metres relay.

Christy Yiu Kit-ching, who has qualified for the Olympics in the marathon, will compete in the women’s 5,000 metres. She has just returned from a training stint in Yunnan as part of her build-up for Rio.