Asian Games 2018: who are Hong Kong’s best medal hopes and how many golds can they win?
The city’s record squad should be able to land a bumper crop of medals in Indonesia, but who represents the best chances?
Hong Kong has sent a record delegation including 586 athletes to compete in Indonesia at the 2018 Asian Games. That number represents the seventh biggest squad of the 45 nations participating at the August 18 to September 2 quadrennial.
With a squad list longer than the likes of Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia – all countries that have significantly larger populations than Hong Kong – comes an inevitable (and reasonable) expectation that Hong Kong will be able to improve on its record haul of 42 medals that they achieved four years ago in Incheon and which earned them 13th in the medal table.
The massive squad means there’s plenty of opportunity for the Hong Kong Sports Federation & Olympic Committee (SF&OC) to build on its tally of six golds, 12 silvers and 24 bronze medals from South Korea.
While nobody in an official capacity has publicly indicated a target haul this time around, it’s justified to expect an improvement on Hong Kong’s highest ever medal table finish of 10th, which they reached in 1986, as well as their best gold medal haul of eight from Guangzhou in 2010.
Add the record prize money on offer to athletes who make the podium, and there’s plenty of reason to expect a solid haul.
So who are the SAR’s stand-out gold medal chances?
There are a number of former medallists among Hong Kong’s squad. Indeed, three of the seven individual medal winners from four years ago will compete again this time around. But Hong Kong’s medal hopes have been handed a massive boost by the inclusion of men’s and women’s rugby sevens at this year’s games.
Hong Kong are regional heavyweights, and with only Japan and China as realistic threats, they will be very disappointed not to make the podium at the very least.
Whittling our final list down to five was a difficult job, but here are the five athletes we think have the strongest chance of striking gold: