Champion swimmer Kenneth To dies at 26

March 20, 2019 17:13
A file picture shows Kenneth To during the China National Games in Tianjin in September 2017. The Hong Kong swimming champion passed away on Tuesday in the United States where he had been training. Photo: CNSA

Kenneth To King-him, a top swimmer who held 17 Hong Kong records in the sport, has died in the United States at the age of 26.

In a statement on its website, the Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association said To passed away Tuesday morning.

Saying it is “deeply saddened by the loss”, the association noted that To was the Hong Kong record holder of different swimming events.

The young man represented Hong Kong in international events and “won glory" for the city, it said, as it extended condolences to To’s family.

To went to the United States in January and had been having a training program in Florida, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

He is said to have fainted in the changing room after a practice session. The athlete was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead as emergency treatment failed to work.

According to a statement from the Hong Kong Sports Institute, To had been undertaking a three-month training program with the Gator Swim Club of the University of Florida.

To’s death is a huge loss to Hong Kong’s sports sector, the institute said, adding that it is ready to provide any necessary assistance to the swimmer's family.

To was born in Hong Kong in 1992, and emigrated to Australia with his family when he was two. He later moved back to Hong Kong with his girlfriend, and joined the HKSAR swimming team in 2017.

In a statement, Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah expressed his deep sorrow over the passing of To.

To represented Hong Kong and “had repeatedly achieved extraordinary results in multiple swimming events,” Lau noted.

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