Many of Hong Kong’s young athletes took a massive step towards the Rio Olympics last week after stunning some top seeds at qualifying tournaments.
Badminton star Angus Ng Ka-long stunned China’s world number one Chen Long in the quarter-finals of the Singapore Open – the last superseries tournament before the qualification process closes at the end of the month. The 21-year-old won in straight sets, 21-14, 21-18, last Friday.
“He will certainly gain precious ranking points from this result leading towards Olympic qualification,” said head coach Tim He Yiming. “But more importantly, the victory over a top player such as Chen, coupled with his win over Lin Dan, will give a young player like him a lot of confidence for the Olympic Games and beyond.”
In November, Ng knocked out two-time Olympic champion Lin from the Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open.
Although Ng lost to South Korea’s Son Wan-ho 20-22,16-21 in the semi-finals, he is in a good position to qualify for the Rio Olympics.
Ng is 14th in the qualification rankings. Nations can enter a maximum of two players each in the men’s and women’s singles, if both are ranked in the world’s top 16.
Two other Hong Kong men’s singles player – Hu Yun and Wei Nan – who are 13th and 17th respectively in the rankings – are also chasing Rio Olympic tickets.
There are only two grand prix gold tournaments left before the Summer Games begin in August – the China Masters in Jiangsu and the Asian Championships in Hubei.
He said Ng has great potential but needs more international exposure to establish himself as a top player.
“He still needs to overcome inconsistency but this is a common problem among young players,” the coach said.
“But young players also have an advantage in that they fear nobody and always attack with great speed regardless of who their opponents are. This is probably how Ng beat both Lin Dan and Chen Long.”
In table tennis, Hong Kong’s 19-year-old Doo Hoi-kem downed world number one Liu Shiwen at the Asian qualifiers in Hong Kong. Doo scored a convincing 4-2 win over Liu at Queen Elizabeth Stadium last Wednesday.
“I never expected to beat her,” admitted Doo, who was thrashed 0-4 when they last met in the 2015 Asian Cup.
“She [Liu] is the world number one and she is from world powerhouse China, who we never come close to beating.
“My coach told me before the match even if you are going to lose, you have to lose in great style by putting up a close fight.”
But Doo’s fairytale run ended in the semi-finals after a 1-4 defeat by China’s Li Xiaoxia last Thursday.
Despite the defeat, Doo, ranked No 25 in the world, is still in with a chance of booking her ticket to Rio. The top 22 male and female players on the world rankings can go through to the single event at the Rio Olympics.