Hong Kong only fielded four delegates at the Beijing 2022 Games opening ceremony despite sending a record number of athletes in its Winter Olympics history – much to flag-bearer Sidney Chu’s disappointment. The 22-year-old short-track speed skater was winged by mini Hong Kong flag-waving chef de mission Karl Kwok Chi-leung, Skiing Association of Hong Kong chairman Edmond Yue Kwok-yin and Hong Kong Skating Union chairman Yip Siu-yin at a rapturous Beijing National Stadium on Friday. Alpine ski teammates Audrey King, Adrian Yung Hau-tsuen and head coach Marko Rudic were unable to attend the event after women’s slalom entrant King tested positive for Covid-19 last weekend, while “close contacts” Yung and Rudic were likewise subjected to precautionary measures. Hong Kong has a total of 13 delegates in Beijing, including athletes, coaches, physiotherapists, national Olympic committee (NOC) representatives and headquarters officials. “This is the largest delegation in Hong Kong history, but it didn’t seem like it at the opening ceremony,” said Chu, who became an overnight hit on Chinese social media. “We have two skiers and one short-track speedskating athlete – the first time we are able to [enter] more than one winter sports at a single Games. “So I do feel like it’s a shame that they weren’t able to go. It would have been a really good opportunity to show the world. Even though the emphasis was on me, I really hoped the spotlight was on the three of us together, because as Olympians we have worked tirelessly to get here.” Chef de mission Kwok, who comes full circle having assumed the deputy chef de mission role at the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008, explained the lack of presence at the ceremony. “There was a limit on team members other than participating athletes in every Olympic Games march-in,” he said, describing his return to the Bird’s Nest as “both emotional and nostalgic” and felt “tremendous national pride” that Beijing became the first city ever to host a Summer and Winter Games. “The [International Olympic Committee] has strict regulations on arrangements at the opening ceremony, and as a participating NOC we have to follow them. “Under the regulations, persons under ‘close contact’ monitoring are now allowed to attend. Hence, both skiers and their coaches were out. Some delegation members were attending the ceremony in spectator stands, while others could not attend due to operational commitments and other engagements.” King, 19, opens the city’s account in the women’s slalom on February 9, while Chu will compete in the men’s 500m short-track event on February 11, and Yung, 17, the men’s giant slalom and slalom on February 13 and 16, respectively.