Team spirit reigns

Team spirit reigns

Hong Kong's swimmers are ready to pool their talents for Asian Youth Games glory

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Some members of Hong Kong's swimming team who will compete at next week's Asian Youth Games: (back row, from left) Tam Hoi-lam, Lau Sze-wing, Noel Leung and Sutton Choi; (front row, from left) Amber Kan Tsz-yiu, Andrea Wan Ching-man, Ching Cho-miu and Jamie Yeung Zhen-mei.
Some members of Hong Kong's swimming team who will compete at next week's Asian Youth Games: (back row, from left) Tam Hoi-lam, Lau Sze-wing, Noel Leung and Sutton Choi; (front row, from left) Amber Kan Tsz-yiu, Andrea Wan Ching-man, Ching Cho-miu and Jamie Yeung Zhen-mei.
Photo: Kelvin Kung/SCMP
Hong Kong's 13 teenage swimmers have a lot to live up to when they compete at next week's Asian Youth Games in Nanjing.

At the first Games in Singapore four years ago, Hong Kong's swimmers won 14 out of the total of 18 medals won by the whole team - three gold, six silver and five bronze.

This year the swimming squad of six boys and seven girls includes many rising stars who will be competing at a multisport event for the first time.

However, team coach Zhang Chanying says all members of the squad deserve their places.

Noel Leung Ya-ting is one of Hong Kong's main medal hopes. The 16-year-old Form Four student at Diocesan Girls' School will swim in four individual events - the 50 metres, 100m and 200m freestyle, and 50m butterfly - and the 4 x 100m freestyle and medley relays.

"We've a great team spirit and a good chance to win medals in the two relays," Noel says. "As an individual, I'm confident I'll finish in the top three in the 100m freestyle.

"I'm racing in lots of events in a short space of time, but I've got good stamina, so I'm not worried about getting too tired. I'll give my best in every event."

However, she will have little time to rest during the next six weeks. The Games' five-day swimming competition ends on August 23. The following day, Noel will fly to Dubai to compete in the Fourth Fina World Junior Championships, which run from August 26 to 31.

After that, she will take part in the National Games, in Liaoning province , from August 29 to September 12.

Noel says: "Some countries may choose to focus on the World Junior Championships and will send only reserve swimmers to next week's Games as the events are so close together. But all of the swimmers taking part will be competitive."

Joey Ching Cho-miu has yet to swim for Hong Kong at a multi-sport competition, so she is looking forward to next week's Games. The 16-year-old Form Four student from Good Hope School will compete in only one event, the 50m freestyle.

Her elder brother Cliff Ching Kim-fu, who represented Hong Kong at the All China Secondary Schools Student Games two years ago, has offered her some good advice about swimming in international events, so she is feeling confident about the competition.

"My personal best in the event is 26.84 seconds, but I'm hoping I will beat that at the Games," Joey says.

Sutton Choi Shing-tung, 16 - like Noel, a member of Hong Kong's national swimming team - will race in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke, the 200m individual medley, and also the 4 x 100m medley relay.

The Form Four student at Diocesan Boys' School says: "Five of the six boys in the swimming team are from my school. The other swimmer is Kwong Ka-ho, who studies in Australia.

"It means we all know each other well, and this will help us have a great trip together. I think my best chance of winning an individual medal is in the 200m breaststroke."


Also, see Kevin's previews of Hong Kong's other representatives to the 2013 Asian Youth Games:

- Athletics
- Badminton
- Fencing
- Football
- Girls' rugby
- Golf
- Handball
- Judo
- Rugby
- Squash
- Table tennis
- Tennis

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