GANGNAM STYLE WELCOME FOR HONG KONG DELEGATION AT INCHEON ATHLETES’ VILLAGE
(Incheon, 18 September, 2014) – Hong Kong’s Asian Games squad led by Chef de Mission Karl C. KWOK was officially welcomed into the Athletes’ Village by its Mayor Elisa LEE who urged athletes to “forge a strong friendship” with the people of Incheon.
A colourful and brief Flag-Raising Ceremony involving circus clowns and a K-Pop Boy group which break-danced and moved Gangnam Style began the proceedings as athletes and spectators basked in warm afternoon sunshine.
Mayor LEE then welcomed host nation South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Macau,China, Oman, Cambodia and Hong Kong, China to the Athletes’ Village which will host more than 14,000 athletes and officials from 45 countries over the next 16-days of competition.
“We hope you can share your culture and forge a strong friendship while you are here,” Mayor LEE said.
Hong Kong have sent its largest squad to the Asian Games - 472 athletes – but only a handful turned up at the Flag-raising Ceremony with Cycling, Squash, Shooting and Sailing represented.
“Most of the other athletes who are here are training,” said PANG Chung, Hon. Secretary General of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China who also participated in the Ceremony. “Our Men’s Football team is actually playing a match and if they win they will have a high chance to qualify for the last 16.”
Hong Kong was due to meet Afghanistan in their second game in the preliminary round-robin competition. Having pulled off a superb 1-1 draw against favourites Uzbekistan earlier, coach KIM Pan-gon’s team are on the verge of making it into the last 16.
“We decided that we would send more team sports this time than in the past as we have been told in the past that we don’t support team sports enough,” said Hong Kong Delegation head Karl KWOK.
Hong Kong will be represented in 9 team sports including Volleyball, Rugby, Cricket, Hockey, Handball, Football, Basketball, Baseball and Water Polo. Most sports has also sent women’s teams.
“As long as they met the standards we set, we allowed them to come along. The government has been good enough to increase our subvention and with that financial help, we are fielding our largest-ever squad at the Asian Games,” KWOK added.
It will however fall to an athlete from an individual sport to carry the Bauhinia Flag at the Opening Ceremony on Friday night – Windsurfer CHENG Kwok-fai being given the honour. “I feel honored to have been nominated by the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China to be the flag bearer at the opening ceremony at the 17th Asian Games and to represent the Hong Kong SAR at this important event. This is my second time to participate in the Asian Games and my first time to become the flag bearer. I have been training full time for 14 years and look forward to this unique experience. I know everyone in HKG is supporting us and I also wish the Hong Kong team athletes all the best and can assure everyone we will all fight hard to achieve our targets.” CHENG said.
KWOK said he was happy with the facilities provided by the Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee and was looking forward to a successful Games.
KWOK also exchanged gifts and souvenirs with Mayor LEE at the end of the Ceremony.