Tokyo Olympic Games 2020: Hong Kong can medal in more than just cycling, top official says
- Sports Institute chairman targets medals in fencing, karate, badminton
- Lam Tai-fai also thinks podiums within reach for table tennis, windsurfing
Hong Kong’s success at the Asian Games has raised hopes of competing for medals in more sports than just cycling at the Tokyo Olympics, a senior official said.
“We have achieved some very good results at the Asian Games and with the Olympic cycle set to begin, we have to start planning for the Tokyo Games,” said Lam Tai-fai, chairman of the Sports Institute.
“We all reckon track cycling is one of our strongholds, but there are also other sports that have proved they can mount a strong challenge for medals in 2020 Tokyo.”
Lam, who presented HK$458,000 in cash awards on Wednesday to 10 graduates of the Lam Tai Fai College that medalled at the Asian Games, is targeting fencing, karate, badminton, table tennis and windsurfing as realistic medal hopes in Tokyo.
“If the Sports Institute can provide them a comprehensive support system while their respective head coaches can work out quality training programmes in the next two years leading to the Tokyo Olympics, [these sports[ are not without medal chances,” he said.
“The recent Policy Address by the chief executive reiterated support for elite sports development with bigger investment.”
Lam said these sports will not require any additional funding from the government as the increased support will be reflected in the Institute’s annual budget, which reaches almost HK$600 million a year.
The Sports Institute will also be able to provide better support services such as more sports scientists and more sports medicine treatments and staff, including physiotherapists, Lam said.
At the Asian Games, Sarah Lee Wai-sze used a new bike – which cost more than HK$120,000 – to capture two gold medals and one silver.
“Any small improvement can make a difference in the purchase of excellence at the highest level and that’s what we want to do to improve our medal hopes for the Tokyo Games,” he said.
Lam also confirmed plans for a new building facility in the Fo Tan Complex, but said construction would not finish in time to open it for their Tokyo 2020 preparations.
“We have to sit down with the government for the proposed new building,” he said. “We need more facilities to support our athletes such as sports residence, fitness and conditioning rooms, and training venues for some sports.
“But this is long-term and will not be materialised before the Tokyo Olympic Games.”
Meanwhile, 2018 Asian Games double silver medallist Nicholas Choi, who received HK$100,000 from Lam as one of his school’s graduates, said he will still be out of action for a couple of months after tearing one of his three hamstring muscles in the men’s individual foil final.
“I am recovering from the injury but I don’t think I can start again until early next year,” said Choi, who captured both the individual and team foil silver in Jakarta.
“The Tokyo Olympic Games will be our biggest target and hopefully we can qualify as a team which Hong Kong has never done before.”