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Hong Kong No 1 Chiu Hin-chun won three gold medals in the Hong Kong Rowing Championships at Shek Mun. Photo: Shirley Chui

Asian Rowing Championships: Hong Kong’s Chiu targeting single scull success in Thailand after Worlds disappointment

  • Chiu Hin-chun will compete in the lightweight singles and is riding high after winning 3 golds at Hong Kong competition
  • The 28-year-old is hoping to shake off a disappointing performance at the World Championships where he finished 25th overall in the men’s doubles

A poor performance at the World Rowing Championships had Hong Kong’s Chiu Hin-chun doubting himself, but he heads into the Asian version with confidence soaring and is determined to win a medal in the single scull.

The 28-year-old took three golds at the recent rowing championships in Hong Kong, successfully defending his open singles title, and was undefeated in both the quadruple scull and the newly added small boat event.

His next challenge comes at the Asian Rowing Championships in Thailand in three weeks, and Chiu, who won silver in the lightweight singles at the 2018 Asian Games, said the time had come to prove he could still compete at a higher level.

“The results in Hong Kong came at the perfect time, right before a big test in the Asian Championships,” he said. “I had a frustrating result in the World Championships [in September], which made me question myself a little.”

In the Czech Republic in September, Chiu teamed up with fellow Hongkonger Chan Chi-fung, who holds multiple indoor rowing world records, in the lightweight men’s doubles, where they finished fifth in their heat, last in the repechage, and came 25th overall at the World Championships.

The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club pulls ahead in the men’s fours final at the Hong Kong Rowing Championships in Sha Tin. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

The “real disappointment” was amplified by the fact the pair had spent six months preparing for the competition in mainland China with new coach Kenny Wu Juning.

“We’ve trained very hard every day, much harder than before on doubles and quads, and the outcome was far from expectation,” Chui said

Under Wu, who coached China’s Huang Wenyi to a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics, 20 of Hong Kong’s best rowers moved their training base to the mainland in early February because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We learned a lot from coach Wu’s training method,” Chui said. “But I believe the main reason for our disappointing performance was a lack of international competition for more than two years, our competition level is not up to par, and I want to demonstrate our class at the Asian Championships.”

Winne Hung (left) and Chiu Hin-chun will both represent Hong Kong in Thailand later this month. Photo: Shirley chui

With one gold and two silver medals, in doubles and quads, at previous Asian Championships under his belt, Chiu will compete in the lightweight singles at the regional event, which starts on November 30, and is out to bag himself a medal in the singles.

“I’ve already set aside the [Asian] Games medal, and expect a younger set of opponents against me,” he said. “I will do my best to get up to the podium.”

In the women’s event, Tokyo Olympian Winne Hung Wing-yan, will compete in the women’s lightweight doubles alongside Wong Sheung-yee. Hung also had a good Hong Kong Championships, winning two gold medals in the women’s coxed eight and the small boat event.