Asian Games: Hong Kong wins vault gold in Indonesia as Shek Wai-hung makes it two in two days
Shek Wai-hung defends the Asian Games title he first won in Incheon four years ago
Hong Kong’s Shek Wai-hung took Hong Kong’s gold medal tally to two on Friday when he defended his Asian Games title in the men’s vault.
The 26-year-old scored 14.612 to beat South Korea’s Kim Han-sol and Indonesia’s Agus Prayoko into silver and bronze respectively.
The win takes the SAR’s overall tally to 18 including the two gold, four silver and 12 bronze medals.
Shek’s win comes hot on the heels of rider Jacqueline Siu Wing-ying’s equestrian triumph yesterday, Hong Kong’s first ever gold in the discipline.
After his win, Shek’s first thought were of relief that he had saved the sport’s funding as part of he elite programme at the Hong Kong Sports Institute.
“There was pressure there because if we failed to medal, we wouldn’t have been able to stay at the Sports Institute as an elite sport,” Shek said. “We faced the same problem four years ago and I managed to save our status. I’m so happy I was able to do it again for my sport four years later.”
Hong Kong Gymnastics chairman Cheung Siu-yin was among the first to congratulate Shek saying: “It’s not easy to win two gold medals in a row at the Asian Games. He beat the Korea’s 2012 Olympic champion in Incheon and in Jakarta, he beat another South Korean, who was a bronze medallist at the 2017 World Championships, into second place.
“Shek has now proved he is one of the best in men’s vault. Shek has been hit by injuries over the last two years and that’s why he could not qualify for the Rio Olympics. He is lucky to have fully recovered this year and started his preparation for Jakarta. Now his sights will be set firmly on the Tokyo Games.”
Shek’s thoughts immediately switch to the Tokyo Games too with the Olympic cycle set to get underway shortly.
“The most disappointing thing was failing to make it to the Rio Games after my victory in Inchoen,” Shek said. “It was mainly because of a shoulder injury and I had to work hard to resume my best this year in the build-up to the Asian Games.
“The new Olympic cycle is coming and my biggest target will be securing a berth in Tokyo and trying to prove myself on a bigger stage.”
Shek’s effort may not be the final gold of the day for Hong Kong. The men’s foil fencing team go for gold against South Korea at 8pm (Hong Kong time), and Hong Kong swimmers will compete in four finals at the pool tonight.
The 26-year-old Shek claimed gold in Incheon four years ago, improving on a sixth-place finish in 2010. He also won gold at the Asian Gymnastics Championships in Hiroshima, Japan in 2015.