Local juniors win bronze medals

Kevin Kung
Kevin Kung |

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(From left) Lam Siu-hang, Natalie Lam and Karen Doo
Hong Kong's table tennis juniors won three bronze medals at the Asian Youth Games on Monday.

Karen Doo Hoi-kem and Natalie Lam Yee-lok both competed in the women's singles semi-finals. In the best-of-seven-games matches, they lost to players from the mainland. Zhu Chaohui beat Karen 4-1, while Liu Gaoyang crushed Natalie 4-0. Karen and Natalie were both awarded bronze medals as the Games had no match for third place.

"I didn't have high hopes for myself at the Games," said Natalie, 17, a Form Five student at Holy Family Canossian College. "Still, I managed to progress through the group stage as well as two matches in the knockout stage. I did my best in the semi-final, but I failed to score crucial points."

Karen, 16, who trains full-time at the Hong Kong Sports Institute, said she could have done much better in her semi-final game.

"I played against Zhu before and I beat her," she said. "I thought I could beat her again but my nerves let me down."

Meanwhile, Lam Siu-hang, 17, earned a bronze in the men's singles after losing 1-4 to China's Liang Jingkun. Lam, a full-time player, had a close call in the quarter-finals. He was three games ahead against South Korea's Kim Minhyeok, who rallied to level the score at 3-3.

"Coach Ko Lai-chak told me to stay relaxed in the deciding seventh game," Lam recalled. "He wanted me to play the way I did in the very first game of the match. I am glad I managed to win the game and the match in the end."

Tony Yu Kwok-leung, chairman of the Hong Kong Table Tennis Association, was happy with all three players' performance. "Our players did amazingly well at the Games," Yu said. "Out of a total of eight medals, they got three. I hope they'll maintain their form for other major tournaments."

The table tennis players arrived back home yesterday, but they will be back in action soon. They will take part in the Asian Junior Championships which will be held in Doha, Qatar, from August 30 to September 3.