The Hong Kong Olympic Committee has promised to be more transparent in its selection of athletes for major games after being accused by the Legislative Council’s Public Accounts Committee of applying double standards when choosing squad members. At a public hearing following up on the Audit’s Report No 74 released in April, committee members slammed the Olympic Committee on their selection of swimmers for the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games. Committee member Lam Cheuk-ting was flabbergasted one of the swimmers had broken his leg three months before the Games but still kept his place on the team despite needing major surgery. He came home with disappointing results in Jakarta. Another swimmer was denied a place on the team despite encouraging form and showing promise. And there was also a case where another athlete who met only unspecified criteria before obtaining the green light to compete in Jakarta. “They [seem] to have a different set of standards when choosing [their] swimmers,” said Lam. “Those who come from a big swimming club are given preference and this is not fair. They are using public money to send athletes to the Games and they must be held accountable for their decision.” Another member, Shiu Ka-fai, also questioned the rationale of sending an athlete who had undergone surgery before the Games. “The athlete’s result in Jakarta proved he was not competitive enough,” he said. “If he was not able to regain his best form in time [after surgery], the selection committee should have given his place to another athlete.” The swimmer in question competed in the men’s 50-metre breaststroke, coming in 29th out of 36 competitors in Jakarta, and finishing almost three seconds slower than his personal best. Olympic Committee secretary general Ronnie Wong Man-chiu, who was also chairman of the selection committee at the time of the Jakarta Games, said they were not informed about the swimmer’s injury at the time. “After the hearing, we asked the swimming head coach at the Sports Institute about the case and he said the swimmer could recover in time for the 2018 Games with expert consultations and through medical specialists,” he said. “In future, we would request teams report athletes’ injuries once they have been selected for the Games and see if it will affect their participation.” Wong agreed there could be room for improvement and promised there would be more transparency in their selection criteria in future. “We will lay down the selection criteria clearly and inform all the stakeholders involved so they can have a clear picture of how we are going to select the athletes,” he said. However, the official rejected Lam’s suggestion of staging a one-off selection event for choosing swimmers for major Games because it would be difficult to gather Hong Kong swimmers for one competition as many of them are studying overseas.