Sleepless swimmers shine in Baotou

Sleepless swimmers shine in Baotou

Kent Cheung leads the way with gold in 200m freestyle as HK's young stars shrug off tiredness to claim medals at the Games


Hong Kong's swimmers, including gold medallist Kent Cheung (front centre), celebrate their medal-winning successes with coaches on Monday
Hong Kong's swimmers, including gold medallist Kent Cheung (front centre), celebrate their medal-winning successes with coaches on Monday
Photo: Kevin Kung
Hong Kong's swimmers shrugged off tiredness after sleeping only a few hours to excel in the pool at the All China Secondary Schools Students' Games in Inner Mongolia. Their superb show came after an unscheduled overnight stopover left them travelling for nearly 24 hours to the competition in Baotao.

On Monday, boys' team captain Kent Cheung Kin-tat won gold in the 200m freestyle, soon after helping teammates Damien Ma Chi-wang, Cliff Ching Kim-fu and Anson Chan Tsz-ho secure a bronze medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay. Kent won his third medal, a silver, after finishing second in the 100m freestyle yesterday.

The girls also impressed on Monday, with Heather Cheng Hei-tung clinching silver in the 100m backstroke (GroupA), Wong Yee-ching winning bronze in the 100m butterfly and the girls' 4x100m freestyle relay team of Yee-ching, Heather, Rachel Leung Ya-yuan and Cheng Yuen-yue also taking bronze. Rachel claimed silver in the girls' 100m freestyle yesterday.

The swimming team had managed only a few hours' sleep before the competition began on Sunday after their connecting flight from Beijing to Baotou was initially delayed - then cancelled altogether - because of bad weather.

They were forced to wake up early to take a special morning flight, and then had to attend Saturday evening's opening ceremony. They finally got to sleep after midnight, but managed only a few more hours' sleep before rising early to start their swimming events the next morning.

Kent, who finished his A-level exams in April, was delighted with his performance after he stopped training to concentrate on his studies. "I stopped training for half a year and started again only in May when I finished my exams," he said. "Today's time is not my personal best, but it's my recent best."

Rachel, of Diocesan Girls' School - the captain of the girls' team - said the medal successes were inspired partly by the earlier disappointment of seeing Yee-ching miss out on a medal in the girls' 200m individual medley, when she finished fourth, and Anson also finishing fourth in the boys' 400m freestyle final. Rachel said: "They were so close to medals and it inspired the whole team to work harder. We know we are very close to winning a medal in most events. We are giving our all for Hong Kong."

Yee-ching tipped the girls to win gold in the 4x100m medley relay today. "We're strong in all four styles while other teams may not have a full team of outstanding swimmers in each style," she said.

The Hong Kong swimmers are competing for more medals today. Visit this page for live results.



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