Hong Kong men's table tennis team: (from left) Leung Chu-yan, Cheung Yuk, coach Chan Kong-wah, Ko Lai-chak, Li Ching and head coach Hui Jun. Mental strength will be the decisive factor for the team's success, the coach said.
With the Olympic Games just days away, Hong Kong table tennis teams are upbeat about their performance after the players had a period of closed-door training session in Guangzhou.
Speaking about the chances to win medals, tennis coach for men's team Chan Kong-wah stated that the players have technical prowess and are at the peak of their fitness. Mental strength will be a decisive factor in the matches.
"We're aiming for more medals after our breakthrough in the Athens Olympics," said Chan. "The players are under greater pressure than last time, but they're determined to overcome any obstacles in the matches."
Silver medalist in the 2004 Olympics Li Ching is also confident of the men's team, as the players have matured since the last Olympics and are united in their competitive spirits.
"I believe we have a winning edge over most other teams," Li remarked. "As for the men's singles, I hope to stay calm during the matches and maintain my lead at critical moments."
The team will focus on their final preparation and warm up in the competition venue after they arrive in Beijing on Aug 8, said Ko Lai-chak, second runner-up in men's singles in the 18th Asian Table Tennis Cahmpionships last year.
"The lighting in the stadium is rather bright and it will take some time for us to adjust," Ko pinpointed. "My goal is to exceed my own standards, which should land me good results."
Hong Kong women's table tennis team: (from left) Yu Kwok-see, Lau Sui-fei, Lin Ling, Tie Yana, and coach Li Huifen. The team hopes to win at least one medal at the upcoming Olympic Games. Photos by Nicole Wong
The women's team will arrive in Beijing on Aug 4 for final training with their mainland peers, which should boost the players' techniques and mental state, said coach Li Huifen.
"We hope to have our breakthrough and win at least one medal in this Olympics," Li stressed. "Besides Asian countries like Singapore, European teams like Switzerland are also very strong rivals."
Lau Sui-fei believed the women's team has a good chance of winning, as the players, supported by the team's sports psychologists, have geared up after the closed-door training session in Guangzhou.
"We trained for five hours a day on the mainland," Lau recalled. "After we arrive in Beijing, we'll step up our practice and discuss strategies for the competition, as we hope to win a medal in that category."
First-time Olympics representative Tie Ya-na is both edgy and excited about the upcoming competition, as she is aware of the expectations of the Hong Kong people for the table tennis team.
"I feel that most Hong Kong people want us to win Olympics medals, and I hope to do my best in the Games," Tie said.
(By Nicole Wong)
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