• Gold medallist Cheung Ka-long will be part of team that competes in multi-sport event in Chengdu this summer
  • The city's next athletics meet in April will be the last chance for some hopefuls to qualify for the squad

Hong Kong will send a star-studded squad to the World University Games this summer in Chengdu, with Olympic gold medallist Cheung Ka-long in the team.

The 25-year-old fencer, who was admitted to the physical education and recreation management programme at Baptist University last August, is expected to lead a team of more than 170 to China between July 28 and August 8.

One official said the presence of "so many Olympians" was down to the Games being postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The city's athletes are expected to compete in 12 of the 18 sports being held in Chengdu, with men's and women's volleyball being the only teams representing Hong Kong.

"With the one-year delay, we believe we will send the largest contingent ever, and hopefully we will win more medals," said a source, adding 103 athletes were initially chosen last year.

Other Olympians expected to compete include women's table tennis bronze medallists Doo Hoi-kem and Minnie Soo Wai-yam, plus fencers Kaylin Hsieh Sin-yan and foilist Ryan Choi Chun-yin. Tennis star Coleman Wong Chak-lam will also take part.

Mabel Mak, chairwoman of the University Sports Federation of Hong Kong, said the squad would be finalised next month. With time still left to reach the qualifying standard, some athletes were hoping to improve their marks at the Citizen Athletic Association at Wan Chai Sports Ground on Saturday.

Leung Kwan-yi showed her determination in the women's 100m, finishing first in 11.81 seconds to equal her personal best, with 17-year-old Li Tsx-to second in 11.94 seconds.

Leung, 22, said she was pleased with her recent performances, but hoped to improve in two weeks at the Hong Kong Athletics Series 3 event at the same venue.

"World University Games is my first goal, and I believe I have already achieved it," said Leung, who broke the 12-second barrier for the first time in last month's Series 1 and is now ranked third in the local rankings.

Only the city's top two sprinters will qualify for the Asian Games, and Leung said she was targeting a time of 11.70 seconds.

In the men's 100m, 16-year-old Chan Yat-lok broke his own under-18 record by finishing first in 10.40 seconds, with Ho Wai-lun second in 10.48.

High jumper Sharon Wong Yuen-nam, who graduated from university last year, is one final chance to qualify for the multi-sport event in mainland China.

The 24-year-old cleared 1.65m and 1.73m on her first try, but fell just short of her 1.81m target after three jumps.

"I was so close, I felt so fit today, I know I can make it if they give me two more jumps," said the full-time teacher, whose personal best is 1.79m. "I have one more chance and I know I can do it."

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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

Copyright (c) 2023. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

2023-03-18T10:21:58Z dg43tfdfdgfd