Long jumper Chan Ming-tai’s motto is: “Never give up.” Chan said he is still hopeful of making it to the Rio Olympic Games despite failing to improve his Hong Kong record at the Inter-City Athletics Championships on Saturday.
Chan had jumped a record 8.12 metres at last month’s Hong Kong Championships. So hopes were high for the talented 21-year-old to improve on that mark by three centimetres at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground – and qualify for Rio.
He managed 8.11m – good enough to beat overseas competitors from South Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia – but not good enough to meet the Olympic qualifying mark of 8.15m.
“It’s a bit disappointing although I would say 8.11 wasn’t too far off,” said Chan, who suspended his university studies in his attempt to achieve the Olympic qualification mark.
“I had chances of achieving the benchmark after making 8.11 metres on my second jump, but unfortunately I failed to maintain the momentum and I was a bit tense today. My final jump was good but I fouled.
“Perhaps the pressure on me is increasing as the qualification is closing. I must put this setback behind and focus on my last chance for Rio at the Thailand Open next month. Hopefully I can make it.”
Kim Sang-su of South Korea was second on 7.72m, while the bronze medal went to fellow countryman, Hwang Hyeon-tae, who jumped 7.58m.
Even if Chan fails to achieve the required mark in Bangkok, he still has a chance of representing Hong Kong in Rio. His 8.12m record still ranks 29th in qualifying with the top 32 athletes going directly to Rio. If his ranking is outside the top 32 when the qualification closes in mid-July, Hong Kong can still send one male athlete to Rio via a wild card.
“The two last conditions are not ideal as my target is still to make the mark in Bangkok,” he said. “It can still happen, as mentally and technically, I am prepared. All I need to do is to grab the right moment when it comes.”