Asian Games 2018

Bronze ... silver ... gold? Hong Kong karate expert Lee Ka-wai looking to top the podium at the Jakarta Asian Games

The 29-year-old veteran will stop at nothing to finally grab gold after finishing with silver in Incheon four years ago and bronze in Guangzhou in 2010

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 August, 2018, 9:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 August, 2018, 10:57pm

Hong Kong karate exponent Lee Ka-wai will be hoping to go one better at the Jakarta Asian Games after capturing a silver and bronze at his two previous campaigns.

The Asian Games veteran has never missed out on a medal since making his Games debut in Guangzhou eight years ago. He finished third at the 2010 Games and came close to striking gold when he settled for silver in Incheon four years ago after losing to Saeid Hassanipour, of Iran, in the final.

“If you don’t aim high, you will never achieve the things you set out to achieve,” said the experienced exponent, who turns 30 next week. “You must target gold and have the mindset to go with it and make it to the final.”

Lee, who will take part in the men’s under 75-kg kumite in Jakarta, said he can’t wait to fight on the mat as the karate competition kicks off from August 25-27.

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“I’m raring to go. We have had top-class training partners brought in to Hong Kong to help us prepare for the Asian Games since last month,” said the martial artist. “They gave us tough workouts and they pushed us to the limits as we trained two sessions a day. Physically and mentally, it has been very demanding but it helps sharpen our form.”

Lee was fortunate to have world champion Jordan Thomas train with him. The son of karate legend, William Thomas, Jordan became the first British world champion in 12 years when he won the under-67kg world title in Linz two years ago. He also reached the 2017 World Games final in Wroclaw, Poland. William Thomas is the head coach of the Hong Kong team.

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Meanwhile, Grace Lau Mo-sheung, will also be out for gold medal glory when she takes part in the women’s kata in Jakarta.

The 26 year-old failed to qualify at the 2014 Incheon Games and is eager to make amends for her disappointing past performances.

She has come a long way since Incheon and now occupies the world number five spot in the ranking list. She’s ranked behind medal favourite and world champion Kiyou Shimizu, of Japan, in Jakarta.

“It still hurts when I think of how I managed to fail qualifying for the last Asian Games,” said Lau, who twice beat Shimizu over the last 12 months. “I don’t know if I can compete at the next Games in Hangzhou as I will be 30 by that time so I have to grasp this opportunity.”

Cheng Tsz-man is also out to finally win a medal and he competes in his third Games, aiming to better his fifth place finishes in the men’s kata.

“This will be my second Games but it will be more special as my girlfriend will also compete with me in Jakarta. We want to return home with medals,” he said.

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His girlfriend, Tsang Yee-ting, will take part in the women’s under-50kg kumite, while other Hong Kong team members comprise of Lee Chun-ho (men’s kumite under-60kg), Choi Wan-yu (women’s kumite under-61kg) and Ma Man-sum (women’s kumite under-55kg).