Carried by the wind: Hong Kong windsurfers targeting top 10 finishes in Rio, says coach
Sonia Lo Sin-lam and Michael Cheng Chun-leung kick off their RS:X campaigns on Monday (midnight Tuesday Hong Kong time), with coach Chan King-yin giving both his athletes – and the weather forecast – the nod of approval
Hong Kong’s windsurfers have been in Rio for two months acclimatising to the waters of ill-repute in Guanabara Bay.
They say the state of the pollution in the water – and crime on land – have been grossly exaggerated, and have loved their time in the city, with training hikes up and down the city’s mountains and surfing at Copacabana on their off days.
Relive the action involving Hong Kong athletes on Day 2 at the Rio Olympics
Sonia Lo Sin-lam and Michael Cheng Chun-leung kick off their RS:X campaigns on Monday (midnight Tuesday Hong Kong time), with coach Chan King-yin giving both his athletes – and the weather forecast – the nod of approval.
“They can make it to the medal races [top 10] – this is our target,” said Chan. “If they perform well over the first two days, who knows?”
WATCH: Golden moments on Day 2 at Rio Olympics
The course is inside the bay, in front of the Pao de Acucar beach. Chan says wind conditions: “a south east sea breeze, light railing to planing RS:X conditions” should favour his two.
“In the past couple of months, Michael stepped up to compete closely with most of the top guys and winning some of the practice races in the Olympic venue. If he can perform well in the first two race days, everything can happen,” said Cheng’s coach Yu Wing Ho.
Lo suffered a painful shoulder injury in April when a sudden gust dragged her sail but says she is now feeling physically perfect.
“Now it feels 100 per cent fully recovered, so I’m really happy about that and can really 100 per cent join in in training and practice races.
“I really want to know if I can really reach [the elite] level. I want to be top 10, get into the medal race, see how it goes and maybe get a higher position.”
Lo has been training with London Olympic medallists and coach Chan added: “She is competitive in the women’s fleet, all she has to do is following her rhythm of racing as usual, everything will be good.”