Asian Games 2018

Asian Games: Indonesian fans told to drop ‘China’ when shouting support for Hong Kong in badminton final

The Hong Kong pair of Tang and Tse settle for silver after losing in the badminton mixed doubles final to China’s Zheng and Huang

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 August, 2018, 11:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2018, 4:05am

The arena was half-full as Hong Kong’s silver medallists, Tang Chun-man and Tse Ying-suet, prepared for their Asian Games badminton mixed doubles final against eventual winners Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong, of China, on Monday.

With no home players to support, two female Indonesian fans decided to back Tang and Tse. “Hong Kong, China! Hong Kong, China! Hong Kong China!” they screamed, using the city’s official name for sporting events.

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Just then, a Hongkonger sitting one row below in the stands turned around and said to them: “You only need to say ‘Hong Kong’. You don’t need the ‘China’.”

“Hong Kong is controlled by China, so you have to say ‘Hong Kong, China’,” said another Indonesian fan behind them – to which one of the women replied: “But he said it’s just ‘Hong Kong’.”

Before Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, one of the biggest sticking points in sporting negotiations was the territory's name after the handover. Hong Kong officials wanted it to stay as “Hong Kong” but China insisted on “Hong Kong, China”.

At least the two fans did not have to chant for long. Within 30 minutes, the final was over as Zheng and Huang steamrollered a tired Hong Kong pair 21-13, 21-16.

The previous night, Tang and Tse were involved in an epic battle with China’s Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping in the semi-finals, winning 22-20, 19-21, 23-21 in 75 draining minutes. And it clearly took its toll on them in the final.

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“We played three long games in our semi-final and that really took a lot out of us, so we were not really able to play our best in the final,” said Tse.

It was another good run in a major tournament for Tang and Tse, who finished third at the world championships in Nanjing before the Asian Games.

Tse burst into tears while talking to the media when the subject of her family was brought up. She tried to stop herself from crying but at one point turned away from the media and sobbed, before quickly regaining control of her emotions.

When asked why she cried, Tse said: “When you are winning everybody is supporting you but when success is limited, then you only have your family and your loved ones.

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“So, I’m just very grateful for my family and my boyfriend, who are there for me no matter how I perform.”

The mixed doubles pair are the only ones who won a medal for Hong Kong in the badminton competition.