HK Olympians with different backgrounds reflect diversity, shed light on national identity
Hong Kong sending 3 athletes to Beijing Winter Games
Published: Jan 26, 2022 12:18 AM
Sidney Chu Photo: Xinhua

Sidney Chu Photo: Xinhua

Different accents and training backgrounds highlighted the diversity of the Hong Kong Special ­Administrative Region (­HKSAR) as an international city that is expected to be a bridge of ice sports exchanges in Asia, Ski ­Association of Hong Kong Chairman Edmond Yue told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on ­Tuesday when he referred to the different experiences of three Hong Kong athletes to participate in the Winter Olympics 2022, and said that they are Hong Kong youth who are also Chinese. 

The HKSAR is sending its largest-ever athlete delegation to the Winter Olympics, which is composed of two alpine skiers - Audrey King and Adrian Yung Hau-tsuen - one short-track speed skater Sidney Chu. Yue told the Global Times that King and Yung will fly from Bosnia to Beijing and arrive on January 30, then join the Chinese national team for training ahead of the Games.  

"Since we knew in 2015 that the Winter Olympics 2022 would be held in Beijing, we were very ­excited, hoping that our athletes could join this great event, and it was not an easy road for them to qualify for the Games," Yue said, ­noting that especially for alpine skiing, Hong Kong athletes sacrificed their personal life and studies to train in Europe - for example, in Bosnia. 

Yue said he has witnessed much progress that Hong Kong athletes have made in alpine skiing in recent years, and the International Ski Federation attached much importance to Hong Kong, hoping it could become a link in Asia where the future growth of ski sports would be. 

Alpine skier Arabella Ng Caroline Yili finished 56th in her Winter Olympics debut, but made history for Hong Kong in Pyeongchang in 2018. Yue said that Yung is now in good status, and does not want give him a lot of pressure while the aim is 30th.

Malaysian-­born Yung is set to become the first men's skier to represent Hong Kong at the Winter Olympics, and he moved to the UK when he was in ­elementary school and followed the training with the British team, according to media reports. A video of Chu, with a Northeast China accent, went viral on Chinese social media as many netizens were surprised that this Hong Kong athlete talked like a local resident from Northeast China's Jilin Province. 

"No matter where they train and where they study, they are all Hong Kong people and are Chinese people," Yue said, noting that such diversity also shows that Hong Kong is an international city. 

Many netizens remembered at Tokyo 2020 that athletes from both the Chinese mainland and the HKSAR posed for photos together after the awards ceremony for the table tennis women's team event. Hong Kong paddlers held a regional flag featuring the bauhinia flower lower than paddlers from the national team holding a five-star national flag, which was widely applauded by netizens.

"I'll take a chance at the Winter Olympics this time to take a photo of Hong Kong athletes with those from the Chinese national team, posing for another picture like the one taken in Tokyo," Yue said.

With the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics ­expected to encourage 300 million people in China to participate in winter sports, it is also an occasion to boost sports exchanges between Hong Kong and the mainland, the chairman said. 

"For example, a future growth of ice sports in northeastern regions in China will also boost other industries such as tourism, transport and the hotel industry, which will also be a boon to the local economy," he said. 

Sports exchanges will also serve as a bridge for the mainland and Hong Kong, helping the further integration of the city into the Greater Bay Area, Yue noted.