The excitement of summer: Tokyo Olympics

July 21, 2021 12:05
Fencer Cheung Ka-long and badminton player Tse Ying-suet will be flag bearers at the opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympics on Friday. Photo:/RTHK/

Forty-six young athletes. Thirteen sporting events. How many of them would bring medals back for Hong Kong?

Hopes are high that the 28 star women and 18 men would provide some much-needed excitement in the delayed Tokyo Olympics this summer when many Hong Kong people switch on their television to cheer for their sports heroes.

Hong Kong first competed at the Olympic Games in 1952 in Helsinki. This time, Hong Kong is going to participate in 13 sports including Aquatics (including Marathon Swimming), Athletics, Badminton, Cycling (Road & Track), Equestrian, Fencing, Golf, Gymnastic, Karatedo, Rowing, Sailing (including Windsurfing), Table Tennis and Triathlon.

Among the 46 tournaments, 14 of which marked the first time for Hong Kong’s participation. These include Men's Vault, Table Tennis Mixed Doubles, Equestrian Triathlon, Men's Marathon Swimming, Men's Foil Team Competition, Women's Epee Team Competition, Women's 20km Race Walking and Men's 110m Hurdles.

Swimmer Siobhan Haughey, who holds the most Hong Kong records in the team, will participate in six races, including three for individual freestyle and three for group freestyle. Her best record of 1 minute 54.89 seconds in 200-meter freestyle ranked her No.5 globally.

All eyes of course will be on the amazing Sarah Lee, who won a bronze medal in London Olympics in 2012 and is the only team member with a medal in professional track cycling. She once had a 20-month winning streak in Sprint until February 2020.

Then the two Ka-longs – Angus Ng Ka-long in badminton and Cheung Ka-long in fencing. Both are among the most popular Hong Kong athletes, measured by their Instagram followers. Ng had 21,000 fans, more than double that of Cheung, one of the two flag bearers at the opening ceremony on Friday along with badminton player Tse Ying-suet.

No athlete has more followers than swimmer Stephanie Au Hoi-shun (130,000), the fourth time Olympian and the flag bearer for Rio Olympics in 2016.

Other popular athletes include fencers Moonie Chu Ka-mong (85,000) and Vivian Kong Man-wai (30,000), and karateka Grace Lau Mo-sheung (27,000). Meanwhile, Sarah Lee has 37,000 Facebook followers but only 2,300 Instagram followers.

Winner of gold medal will get HK$5 million, up from HK$3 million while silver and bronze will get HK$2.5 million and HK$1.25 million.

Well it is still worth less than a Grand Central one-bedroom unit for the winner of vaccination lucky draw, but we certainly hope there will be more young athletes winning in Tokyo Olympics.
Let’s give them a big cheer!

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EJ Insight writer