The tickets for this weekend’s visit from China’s Olympic gold medallists sold out in hours yesterday. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying also confirmed today that the tour will also include Chinese swimming sensation and media darling Fu Yuanhui, the bronze medallist in the Women’s 100m Backstroke in Rio.
Organisers made the exception after the swimmer Fu rose to fame with a theatrical post-race interview. Following her 100-metre backstroke final on August 8, the 20-year-old swimmer only learned that she had taken third in the race after speaking to a reporter.
All 5,700 tickets were snapped up by 1pm on Monday. Another 900 tickets were set aside for groups subsidised by the government.
Olympic fans picked up 2,400 tickets for a gala show, 2,400 for a table tennis demonstration at Queen Elizabeth Stadium and another 1,800 tickets for a diving display. Each person was allowed to buy a maximum of two tickets for two out of the three events scheduled for Sunday, at HK$20 each.
But scalpers quickly got in on the act, with some of the tickets found to have been sold online for as much as 1,000 yuan (HK$1,165). The Leisure and Cultural Services Department said it had noted the touting and would hand the case to the relevant authorities according to the evidence available.
In addition to the main events, the Olympic medallists will also take part in meet-and-greets with youngsters in Ma On Shan, and local athletes at the Hong Kong Sports Institute.
With high tensions between Hong Kong and the mainland in the wake of rising calls for independence in the city, and it was not known whether the visit would be disrupted or security would be enhanced.
The trip, about a week before Legislative Council elections on September 4, is seen by the pro-democracy camp to ease tensions in the city and boost support for pro-establishment candidates.