My heart and mind are set for the Tokyo Olympics, says Hayley Chan
- Boardsailor wants another crack at the Games and is focused on qualifying
- She indicates her good form by winning the Hong Kong Open in Cheung Chau
Having surprisingly missed out on the Rio Olympics two years ago, windsurfer Hayley Chan Hei-man says she’s setting her sights on Tokyo after finding the commitment to train and compete at the highest level again.
Two years ago, she was beaten by unheralded teammate Sonia Lo Sin-lam in the selection process for the 2016 Rio campaign but this time, Chan won’t be making the same mistake again as she indicated she was back in form by winning the 2018 Haiton International Hong Kong Open in Cheung Chau on Sunday.
“I am now considered a veteran in the sport that’s why I have to rethink if I still have the desire to continue for two more years in order to qualify for the Tokyo Games,” said the 27-year-old Chan, who represented Hong Kong at the 2012 London Games where she finished 12th.
Watch: Hayley Chan speaks to the Post on her hopes of qualifying for Tokyo
“And taking a long break from the [Jakarta] Asian Games [where she won silver], I have made up my mind in setting my sights on the Tokyo Olympics as I still love the sport after all these years. There’s still room for improvement according to my coach. My family, the Sports Institute and the Windsurfing Association are all supporting me on this decision.”
Chan only resumed training last week after her Jakarta exploits but proved she had not lost her form as she won the women’s RSX in Cheung Chau. She also received a winner’s cheque for HK$50,000.
Chan showed she’s the best female sailor in town by beating a strong Hong Kong field that included Ngai Wai-yan, Ma Kwan-ching and Sandy Choi Wing-chi.
“They are tough opponents and they all want to beat me,” said Chan. “I will probably have to face these young girls in the next two years to earn my ticket to Tokyo.”
Hong Kong missed the first Tokyo Olympic qualification at the World Championships in Denmark this summer because it clashed with the Asian Games.
But head coach Chan King-yin is confident Hong Kong will secure its Olympic ticket – a quota of one man and one woman for each team – at the second qualification event, the 2019 Windsurfing World Championships in Lake Garda, Italy next September.
“We certainly have the quality to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. I won’t worry about this too much,” said the coach. “But since there is only one male and one female athlete from each team making it to the Tokyo Games, there will be some tough battles ahead among our boardsailors to win the internal selection which may be even more difficult than securing the Olympic qualification.”
The coach has planned a hectic training and competition 2019 schedule as the Hong Kong sailors gear towards the Tokyo Games. This includes competition in the World Cup series, a training camp and Olympic test event at the 2020 Olympic venue in Enoshima and the World Championships.
The men’s Olympic berth will be hotly contested by Michael Cheng Chun-leung, the 2016 Rio Games representative, Lee Chun-ting and Kikabhoy Rafeek. Cheng managed second place in the men’s RSX at the Hong Kong Open after losing to Lee Tae-hoon of South Korea, while Lee finished third.