Hong Kong revels in glorious Games

By LI BINGCUN in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2021-08-13 09:24
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People in a shopping mall in Hong Kong watch a broadcast of fencer Cheung Ka-long competing in the men's team foil competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Aug 1. AFP

Chinese city's record medal haul grabs imagination of local residents, triggers spike in sports participation

Basking in the glow of its most successful ever Olympic Games, Hong Kong hopes its superb Tokyo 2020 campaign can inspire future generations of athletes to shine on the world's biggest stage.

Track cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze's bronze in the women's sprint event last Sunday took the 46-strong Hong Kong team's final medal tally to a record total of six. With one gold, two silver and three bronze medals, the city ranked 49th in the overall standings. Prior to the Tokyo Games, the city had managed only three medals since its debut at the Olympics in 1952.

The 34-year-old Lee, dubbed Hong Kong's "cycling goddess", drew on all her experience to beat Germany's Emma Hinze in the women's sprint, adding to the keirin bronze she won at London 2012.

Earlier on Sunday, Lee saw her chances of gold disappear when she lost to Ukraine's Olena Starikova in the semifinals.

Lee told reporters that with her latest bronze medal, she had realized "half of her dream", and although the result wasn't ideal, she had tried her best and had no regrets.

The veteran athlete also said she had come under "huge pressure" after losing the chance to go for the gold medal. But, with the support of her team, family and fans back home, she overcame the setback.

Hong Kong residents gathered at shopping malls across the city to cheer on Lee in the semifinal and bronze-medal races.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who watched the action live on TV at the Hong Kong Sports Institute, congratulated Lee, describing her as a "Hong Kong legend".

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