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Tse Ying-suet and Cheung Ka-long at the flag presentation ceremony at Government House. Photo: Hong Kong Olympic Committee

Fencer Cheung Ka-long and badminton player Tse Ying-suet to carry Hong Kong flag at Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony

  • Cheung is the first fencer from Hong Kong to win the world junior title while Tse is a mixed doubles silver medallist from the 2018 Asian Games
  • Efforts to improve gender equality sees two flag bearers for the first time in an Olympic Games opening ceremony

Men’s fencer Cheung Ka-long and women’s badminton player Tse Ying-suet were on Thursday named as Hong Kong’s flag bearers for the Tokyo Olympic Games opening ceremony.

At a flag presentation for the Hong Kong Olympic delegation on Thursday at Government House, the were pair chosen from among the 46 athletes travelling to Tokyo, including two reserves – many of whom will march at the opening ceremony inside the Olympic Stadium on July 23.

Cheung, 24, was one of two Hong Kong fencers, along with Vivian Kong Man-wai, who made it to the second round of the Olympic Games in Rio five years ago. One year later, he was crowned Hong Kong’s first world junior fencing champion.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor presents the HKSAR flag to the Hong Kong delegation to the Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo: Hong Kong Olympic Committee

Cheung, who reached his highest world ranking of seventh in the 2018/19 season, is no stranger to the role having the carried the flag for Hong Kong at the 2017 China National Games in Tianjin.

Hong Kong’s Cheung Ka-long claims world junior fencing gold

“This is an honour and recognition of my sporting career,” said Cheung after attending the flag presentation. “I have been chosen for this same duty before and it was a great feeling. I am so happy to have the opportunity again.”

Cheung will take part in the men’s team foil and individual foil competition in the Tokyo Olympics. It is also the first time a fencing team from Hong Kong have qualified for the Olympics. The individual foil event starts on July 26, three days after the opening ceremony.

Shuttler Tse said she was caught by surprise when informed of her flag-carrying duties.

“I am so happy but also very surprised,” said the doubles specialist. “I never thought of being the flag bearer for Hong Kong at the Olympics and, in fact, previously when people asked me about it, I said it would never happen on me.

Hong Kong’s mixed doubles pair reach Dubai final, brighten mood in camp

“It’s great recognition for my hard work and effort over the years and a great honour as an athlete.”

The two flag bearers and chef de mission Pui Kwan-kay. Photo: Hong Kong Olympic Committee

At 29, Tse will be making her third Olympic foray after partnering Poon Lok-yan in the women’s doubles at the two previous Games in London 2012 and Rio 2016. She switched to mixed doubles after Rio and has since formed a formidable team with Tang Chun-man.

The pair won a silver medal at the Jakarta Asian Games in 2018, the same year they captured a bronze medal at the World Championships in Nanjing, China.

It’s the first time two flag bearers, one male and one female, are to march for a single team at an Olympic Games opening ceremony as part of the IOC’s efforts to promote gender equality. 

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Olympic spirit