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HK's Medal ambition in four to five events
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Hong Kong's medal ambition at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games lies in several marginal events and some that China has dominated for a long time.

As part of Hong Kong's 34-member delegation to the August 8-24 Games in Beijing, women's badminton star Wang Chen is hoping to claim the first gold medal for Hong Kong since 1996.

Female windsurfer Lee Lai-shan clinched the first-ever and the only Olympic gold for Hong Kong so far at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Wang Chen advanced to the top four of the women's singles at the 2004 Athens Olympics, but was beaten by Zhang Ning of China in the semifinal.

Wang maintained a good form in recent years as she clinched the gold medal at the 2006 Doha Asiad and a silver medal at the 2007 world championships.

She will launch a strong challenge to China Team which includes world No. 1 Xie Xingfang and Olympic defending champion Zhang Ning.

"This will be my last Olympics. I wish I could finish my badminton career with an Olympic medal," said Wang who recovered from a finger strain recently.

Besides badminton, Hong Kong's athletes will compete in 11 sports at Beijing, and the best medal prospects are expected to be in the table tennis, sailing, cycling and triathlon.

Lee Lai-shan, whose victory at the Atlanta Olympics helped add a glorious chapter to the region's 44-year Olympic history, predicts a haul of four or five medals at Beijing.

"Hong Kong is going to host the equestrian events of the Beijing Games, and I think the Hong Kong athletes could strive for medals in four or five events," Lee said.

"We have good players in four or five events and they all have the chance to stand on the podium. I think Hong Kong will harvest more medals at the Beijing Olympics," she added.

Table tennis duo Li Jing/Gao Lize is another medal hope for Hong Kong in the Games. They claimed the silver medal in the men's doubles for Hong Kong at the Athens Olympics, and that was the only Olympic medal for Hong Kong since 1996.

The two paddlers, who also won the Doha Asiad men's doubles gold, will take part in the men's singles and the men's team event in Beijing.

"It is a pity that there is no men's doubles event in Beijing, so we have to make some changes," said Li. "We hope we could enter the final four of the men's team."

Two-time Asian champion Wong Kam-po will spearhead the Hong Kong cycling team, and is aiming at an Olympic gold to complete his collection of cycling trophies.

The 35-year-old Wong, an elite in road race, was crowned in the Doha Asiad, the Asian championships and the 2007 world championships. However, he turned to men's track events before the Beijing Olympics after a long discussion with his coach Shen Jinkang.

"You have only one opponent in track events, so it is a little bit easier than in the road events," explained Shen. "Wong will perfectly suit for the Games."

The Hong Kong delegation also includes sailor Chan King-yin, who finished first in the men's Mistral light class at the 2006 Asian Games.

(Xinhua News Agency July 22, 2008)


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