Year in review: Hong Kong’s top athletes look ahead to an exciting 2019
- Tiffany Chan hopes to make progress on the LPGA Tour after regaining her card for coming season
- Tokyo 2020 medal hopes put their focus on making it to the next Olympic Games
It is time to look ahead at what 2019 has in store for Hong Kong sport and who better to tell us than the city’s stars?
Here is what they hope for in their careers over the next 12 months.
Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching
Hong Kong’s first ever LPGA Tour player knows 2018 didn’t live up to expectations.
The 25-year-old had to head back to Q-School to retain her card for 2019 after seven consecutive missed cuts during this year’s tour put her behind the eight ball.
“I believe my technical game is there but one thing I noticed on the LPGA Tour is that the girls are just so tough mentally. They never seem to lose concentration, and they almost never allow the negative feeling of a bad shot or a missed opportunity to get to them.”
Chan said her outlook for 2019 is simple, more training before the season kicks off to get in shape, while improving her mental game is her number one priority.
“My rookie season was very tough but I am proud of myself to have been able to come through it, and have the opportunity to compete once again. The LPGA Tour is nothing like I have experienced in my golfing career. I learned a lot this year, especially in areas I need to improve to achieve my 2019 target, making the cut in Majors, and to retain my tour card, without having to go through the Q-series again.”
The first swimmer from Hong Kong to reach the Olympic A qualifying standard, the 21-year-old was a double gold medallist at the 2017 World University Games. She is currently studying at the University of Michigan, where she has impressed in the pool this season despite missing the Asian Games through injury.
“This will be my last year in college, so I definitely want to have a great senior season and do the best I can for my team here in the United States.
“After that, I will become a professional swimmer and really focus on the 2019 World Championships in July, hopefully I can swim some best times and achieve my goals!”
Annie Au Wing-chi
The 29-year-old squash star won women’s team gold at the Asian Games and is ranked 11 in the world.
“Hong Kong squash team has had a successful Asian Games this year and I will look forward to next year with better results in the world tour to improve my world ranking, hopefully I can stay around the top 10 and break into it again.
“I also want to try something new in 2019 other than playing squash to enrich my life and cooking should be one of my new attempts in life.”
The gymnast took Asian Games gold in the men’s vault and became the first Hong Kong athlete to defend a gymnastics title after his victory at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. The 27-year-old has Tokyo in his sights.
“I think 2019 will be a hectic year especially for those who aim at qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games. I will take part in a World Cup series in Slovenia in May before the all-important World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, in October.
“I was the first gymnast from Hong Kong to qualify for the Olympic Games in 2012 but could not make it for the Rio Games four years later due to injuries. Therefore Tokyo 2020 remains the biggest target.”
The Jockey Club chief executive sees reason to look forward to the next 12 months.
“It seems to be a very challenging environment if you look at macroeconomics but I think we have weathered that storm pretty well, so I’m cautiously optimistic that we can continue this from a pure business and turnover perspective.
“If you look back at 2018, it was tremendous year, it was very appropriate for the 40th anniversary of Sha Tin to have four local horses winning the Hong Kong International Races.
“For 2019, what we really look forward to is the further development of the Conghua Training Centre. I think the results so far have been extremely encouraging and we will have these exhibition races [in March]. The next step is then getting more trainers setup there and how we do it.
“Then we have the major renovation plan for Sha Tin, to bring them up to international standards. Between that and Conghua, they are our main focuses for the next year.
“From the sporting point of view, I’m really optimistic we will continue our growth and our status on the international stage.
“To have the best miler in the world in Beauty Generation is something to be proud of and hopefully he can continue his excellent form.”
The 24-year-old cyclist is another of Hong Kong’s Asian Games gold medalists, Leung won the men’s madison with Cheung King-lok. The pair also won World Cup series in Minsk, Belarus.
“For 2019, the focus will definitely be the Asian Championships as one of the qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympic Games. We must score points in the event to foster our qualification hopes in the men’s madison along with my partner Cheung.
“We did well in the same discipline at the 2017 China National Games and the 2018 Asian Games and its time for us to step up to challenge world top class riders. In recent World Cup series we failed to deliver and suffered some setbacks. There were lessons learned and changes have been made for improvement.
“I truly hope 2019 will be a better year, not just winning more races but also to become a better cyclist, better son, better brother, better teammate and a better friend to all my friends.”
Hayley Chan Hei-man
The windsurfer, 27, won silver in Indonesia. She also represented Hong Kong at the London Olympics in 2012.
“This will be an important year for windsurfing as we are competing for Tokyo Olympic Games entrance. There will be major events such as the World Championships for the windsurfers to win the Olympic berth, and hopefully our team can make it and I can be the one representing Hong Kong in the 2020 Olympic Games.”
Cecilia Yeung Man-wai
The high jumper and part-time model holds the Hong Kong record at 1,88 metres. The 24-year-old followed up silver at the 2017 Asian Championships with fifth place at the Asian Games in 2018.
“I want to enjoy high jump as much as possible in every competition in 2019 and reach my full potential when competing.”
Angus Ng Ka-long
Winner of the men’s singles at the 2016 Hong Kong Badminton Open, the 24-year-old is the world number 14.
“It will be an important year for badminton in 2019 as the Olympic qualifiers kick off in May. After representing Hong Kong in the Rio Olympic Games, I hope to secure the ticket to Tokyo as early as possible so that I can start preparation for the event.”
Kaylin Hsieh Sin-yan
The 17-year-old burst on to the fencing scene in 2018. Two silvers at the Youth Olympic Games, team bronze at the Asian Games and another bronze at the Asian Championships.
Hsieh was also World Cadet champion in the epee.
“It has been a crazy year for me in 2018, leaving me not too much to say about 2019.
“ In 2019, I want to keep on improving myself and do the best I can, in high school and in fencing. There is no particular goal in fencing events, just try my best in each one.
As for my studies, I’m doing my third year IB course and will need to finish four subjects in 2019 and two more the following year. Hopefully everything will be fine.”