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Adam Mak Sai-ting made history for Hong Kong at junior level and will now target the seniors - only three days after finishing quarantine. Photo: FINA TV

Hong Kong quarantine leaves just 3 days’ prep for history-making swimmer Adam Mak as he eyes worlds spot

  • City’s first world junior medallist since Siobhan Haughey will rush back to pool after quarantine, just in time for Age Group Short Course Swimming Competition
  • The competition offers a chance to qualify for the short-course World Championships at senior level
Teenager Adam Mak Sai-ting’s first appointment on arrival back in Hong Kong after this month’s historic exploits in the pool was to be locked in quarantine, but his second could open significant doors.
It has been 10 days since Mak, 16, finished third in the 200 metres breaststroke at the Fina World Junior Swimming Championships in Peru – his city’s first-ever world junior medal in a boys’ category and first for any Hongkonger since Siobhan Haughey nine years ago.

His reward on getting home was to head straight to his quarantine hotel, in line with Hong Kong’s requirement for incoming travellers, for three days there then four more of medical surveillance at home.

Once allowed back to the pool, he will have just three days at most to prepare for his next challenge: qualifying for the short-course World Championships at senior level, at the Age Group Short Course Swimming Competition at Victoria Park this Saturday.

Adam Mak won bronze at the Fina World Junior Swimming Championships this month. Photo: Hong Kong Swimming Coaches Association

Mak, though, is on a high after the success achieved in Lima.

“This was my first time competing outside Hong Kong,” he told the Post. “I was not expecting to win any medals at the junior worlds.

“I was more than happy with my fourth-place finish in the 100m breaststroke, then over the moon to win the medal in my favourite event [200m breaststroke]. It’s very encouraging for me and showed that the team’s efforts had paid off.”

The St Joseph’s College fifth-form student was coy about comparisons to a certain other Hong Kong swimmer.

Haughey, now a world short-course champion, world record-holder and double Olympic silver medallist, embarked on her journey to the top after winning junior worlds gold and bronze in the 100m and 200m freestyle respectively in 2013.

“I don’t think much about [emulating Haughey] – I just keep the same mindset as before, 100 per cent focused on training,” Mak said. “The most important thing is to give my all in both training and competition.”

His top priority for now is to target the short-course worlds in Melbourne in December, for which this Saturday’s competition in Hong Kong serves as a qualifier.

The one-day meet features only six events, and Mak has entered four of them: the sole breaststroke race, over 50m, along with the 100m butterfly, 200m individual medley and 400m freestyle.

Mak finished tenth in the semi-finals of the 50m breaststroke at the junior worlds, just missing a place in the final.

Also swimming in the 50m breaststroke – but in an older age group – will be 19-year-old Benson Wong, who last month improved his own Hong Kong record in Mak’s favoured 200m.

In action too will be Cindy Cheung Sum-yuet, who finished sixth in the 200m backstroke at the junior worlds.