35 Hong Kong athletes to compete in 13 events at 2024 Paris Olympics

2 days ago 9

Thirty-five Hong Kong athletes will compete in 13 sporting events across France this summer at the Paris Olympics.

 GovHK.A flag presentation ceremony that reveals the Hong Kong delegation of 35 athletes to the Paris Olympics is held on July 9, 2024. Photo: GovHK.

The list was revealed at a flag presentation ceremony on Tuesday, when acting chief executive Eric Chan also announced the cash incentive awarded to gold medallists would rise to HK$6 million – up 20 per cent from the amount offered at the Tokyo Olympics three years ago.

Hong Kong won one gold, two silvers, and three bronze medals at the Tokyo games in 2021, a record for the city. Authorities have since poured resources into promoting sporting developments, including expediting the construction of facilities and launching award schemes.

“The Paris Olympics will be held from July 26 to August 11. I believe all Hong Kong residents including myself have been excited about our athletes reaching new heights in various Olympic events,” Chan said in Cantonese during the ceremony.

The city’s 35 athletes – 16 men and 19 women – are set to depart for the French capital in groups on July 20 and 22. The number is less than the 46-strong team sent to Tokyo, and the 38 that went to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in 2016.

Edgar Cheung Foil Fencing Asian Games 2023Hong Kong fencer Edgar Cheung in the men’s foil individual event at the Hangzhou Asian Games on September 24, 2023. File photo: Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China.

Edgar Cheung, 27, who won Hong Kong’s second-ever Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, will compete in the men’s individual foil event in Paris, alongside three other fencers in the team. The city’s first gold went to windsurfer Lee Lai-shan in Atlanta, in the US, in 1996.

See also: How YouTube meditation vids helped Hong Kong’s Edgar Cheung become Olympic fencing champion

Siobhan Haughey, 26, who won two silver medals in Japan, will race in five individual swimming competitions, including her main event the 200-metre freestyle. With seven in the swimming squad, it is the largest in the city’s Olympic delegation.

Of those travelling to the Paris Games, 21 are first-time Olympians. Among them, 21-year-old Lo Wai-fung will become the first Taekwondo athlete from the city to compete in the Olympics since the sport was included in 2000.

Siobhan HaugheySiobhan Haughey wins silver at the Tokyo Olympics. File photo: Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China.

Lo told reporters that he felt a “sense of mission for representing the city’s 100,000-odd Taekwondo lovers,” adding that he aimed to compete for a medal in Paris, according to local media reports.

Sprinter Felix Diu, 24, also a first-time Olympian, will compete in the men’s 100-metre thanks to a universality spot that allows entries below qualification threshold.

Hong Kong’s athletes will also compete in badminton, table tennis, cycling, surfing, sailing, rowing, judo, triathlon, and gymnastics.

Air conditioning

Officiating the ceremony on Tuesday in place of Chief Executive John Lee, who was in Sichuan province in mainland China overseeing panda talks, Chan said the government would send 45 air conditioning units to the Olympic Village to help its athletes prepare for the event in comfort.

Accommodation at the Paris Olympics was designed without air-conditioning to be more eco-friendly, but organisers have allowed delegations to order cooling units at their own expense after pushback from athletes.

Chan said the units would be delivered under the coordination by the government, China’s liaison office in Hong Kong, and the city’s Olympic Committee.

 Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China.Edgar Cheung (right) carries the flag of Hong Kong in the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23, 2021. File Photo: Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China.

However, it remained unclear who would carry the flag at the opening ceremony on July 26.

Edgar Yang, the honorary secretary general of the city’s Sports Federation and Olympic Committee, said the Olympics Games were different from the Asian Games, where the committee had a larger pool of athletes to choose from.

He added the committee had to consider the competition schedule and ensure the athlete who carried the flag would have enough time to rest and recover.

“We believe it would become clear by the 17th or 18th [of July],” Yang told reporters in Cantonese, according to local media reports.

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