Coleman Wong wants to be Hong Kong’s first tennis Olympian at 2020 Tokyo Games
- The 14-year-old targets junior grand slam trophy to qualify for 2020 Games
- Tennis prodigy heads to Australian Open next week for first major
Coleman Wong Chak-lam’s first ITF World Tour event ended without success in front of home crowds, but his dream to become the first tennis player representing Hong Kong at the Olympics is just beginning as he leaves for the Australian Open Junior Championships next week.
At the Kidsland Men’s 25K (US$25,000) tournament, Wong and his partner Lee Hsin-Han of Taiwan reached the doubles quarter-finals at Victoria Park before losing to Julian Lenz and Benjamin Hassan of Germany 6-3, 6-4 in a rain-interrupted match on Thursday. Lenz was the 2011 junior US Open doubles champion.
Fourteen-year-old prodigy Wong, who is already 1.88 metres tall, must reach the top 30 in the junior world rankings by June 2020 to be considered for a place at the Tokyo Games. The ITF will confirm the qualification later this year.
“My target is to win a junior grand slam title in 2019 to reach the required ranking,” said Wong, who last month became the first Hong Kong player to win the prestigious Orange Bowl, a trophy once held by Roger Federer [under 18].
“One grand slam would get the job almost done and the Australian Junior Open will be my first attempt. After that I will begin a schedule to push my ranking until the qualification ends.”
His coach Tong Ka-po believes Wong has the potential to make the grade despite his age.
“He has massive talent in the sport and has already proved it in the Orange Bowl. Now he has to prove it again in the Australian Junior Open,” said the former Hong Kong women’s No 1.
“He certainly did very well against much more experienced players in this Hong Kong tournament despite the premature exit.
“The pace is much faster and the players are more experienced at senior level but that’s also where he needs to learn before kicking off his Australian Open campaign.”
Wong, now 244 in the junior rankings, will have 10 days to acclimatise to the conditions in Melbourne as his agents IMG look to give him the best preparation for his grand slam debut.
One of the two tier A sports at the Sports Institute that failed to win a medal at the 2018 Asian Games, tennis must secure an Olympic berth at the Tokyo Games or will face the axe from the elite programme.
“Our target is to become the first tennis player to don the Hong Kong colours at the Olympic Games and other matters are not our concern,” Tong said.