Hong Kong reaches its own Mount Olympus
The following is issued on behalf of the 2009 East Asian Games (Hong Kong) Ltd:
Hong Kong - glorious Hong Kong - reached its own Mount Olympus last night (December 12) with a treasure trove of ingots raked in after wins on the ground and on water.
Never before, in the 16-year history of the regional sporting extravaganza, has Hong Kong won so many. When the penultimate day of the Fifth East Asian Games dawned, Hong Kong had already amassed 11 gold.
And as the day progressed - a day when 50 top accolades were offered - Hong Kong's harvest reached a decent and unbelievable pile of 23 gold, 28 silver and 47 bronze.
Suddenly, the Hong Kong public seemed to have discovered the existence of the Games - thanks to the football team reaching the final - they came in droves to pack the stands for Hong Kong's date with football destiny.
And it was the miracle of So Kon Po… Hong Kong titans in red (Chinese luck may have played a part) held their ground in the first half as Japan showed their passing skills and theatrical footwork and got a goal in the 21 minutes, thanks to a goal-mouth shot by Taisuke Muramatsu (No. 7) after a corner.
Into the dressing room and a word of encouragement later, Hong Kong returned with guns blazing and Chan Siu-ki nodded in at the 47 minutes. He too was wearing a No. 7 jersey.
Nothing could separate the two sides as they went into an extra 30 minutes of tortuous shots, mis-shots and near misses.
When the Vietnamese referee blew his whistle, all hearts were in the mouths of each and every spectator as the penalties were taken.
Nine shots were taken (Hong Kong 4 Japan 2, with three unconverted) and the shouts of all Hong Kong could be heard from Sheung Wan to Sheung Shui.
This was truly Hong Kong's day… winning a cherished and most precious football gold…on the field of miracle.
In the play-off for the third place, it took a penalty showdown to settle the hard-fought match. Perhaps the colour of the day (red) did help and the Koreans pocketed the bronze.
In cycling it was a one-two-three for the Hong Kong boys. Tang Wang-yip (gold), Yeung Ying-hon (silver) and Kwok Ho-ting (bronze). The front two completing the Chong San Road to Ma On Shan circulatory route in 3:47.26 with Kwok a minute 53 seconds behind.
In squash, the "made in Hong Kong" stamp was all over the three finals – the men's, the women's and mixed doubles.
Switching over to the waters off Stanley Main Beach, Hong Kong walked on water (actually the board of their wind-surf) to three of the four gold, two silver and two bronze at stake. Cheng Kwok-fai, Leung Ho-tsun and Ms Chan Wai-kei basked in golden glory while Makoto Tomizawa took the men's RS:X race.
And what about judo? Yu Kin-ting (in the men's 55kg grade) thrashed out a gold in a domain controlled by the men's of Japan and Korea. In the women's turn at the mat, the five golds were shared by China and Japan, with the odd one out belonging to Korea.
In wushu, China and Hong Kong had equal share of the six gold in the taolu class for men and women. Today the seven gold will be for the shanshou grade of wushu.
But the miracle did not spill out onto the King's Park Hockey Ground. After the flick-off right to play for the bronze, the Hong Kong distaff team got a Japanese lesson – losing 14-0. The gold went to Korea who beat a Chinese side 4-1.
It was also the day that big brother China smiled at its own accomplishment, just short of a double century – a 197 medals haul. Their envious collection of 95 gold, 63 silver and 39 bronze was way ahead of second place Japan.
In rowing it was a clean sweep for China winning seven gold: Women - single sculls; double sculls; lightweight double sculls. Men – single sculls; double sculls; lightweight quadruple sculls and the men's four.
In aquatics diving, the Chinese stranglehold continued, with the 3m springboard for women, the 1m springboard for men and the synchronized 10m platform for women adding to the tally.
Korea's women triple jumper Jung Hye Kyung was the spoiler in the China-Japan domination party out on the track and fields of Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground.
The other 11 athletics gold went to : Men – 100m China; 1,500m Japan; 10,000m Japan; pole vault Japan; discus throw Japan; 400m hurdles Japan; high jump Japan. Women – 100m China; 1,500m China; 400m hurdles Japan; and hammer throw China.
In bowling – masters men: Korea gold and, silver and Japan bronze. Masters women: Korea gold, silver and bronze.
Ends/Sunday, December 13, 2009