Hong Kong Rowing Team Win Five Medals at 2017 Asian Rowing Championships!
The Hong Kong Rowing Team concluded a successful week of racing at the 2017 Asian Rowing Championships in Pattaya, Thailand on Friday. Hong Kong crews reached the medal finals in 9 out of the 10 events entered and achieved a medal tally of one gold and four silver medals. A record number of 325 athletes from 22 Asian countries and regions took part in the regatta.
TANG Chiu Mang and LEUNG Chun Shek were the top performers for Hong Kong, taking the gold medal in the men’s lightweight double sculls in a very close-fought battle with Uzbekistan and China. Less than one second separated the three crews as they crossed the line with Hong Kong taking gold on a late surge, Uzbekistan silver and China bronze. TANG and LEUNG are both experienced Olympians, with TANG having stroked the Hong Kong’s double in Rio and LEUNG having held the bow seat of the double in London.
LEE Ka Man won a silver medal in the lightweight women’s single in the 2016 Championships, and was again the strongest medal hope for the women’s team this year. The race turned out to be a repeat of the previous year’s battle with reigning Asian Champion Nazanin of Iran. After a very fast start by the Iranian sculler, LEE was not able to close the gap and had to settle for silver again – with both scullers finishing well ahead of the 3rd placed athlete from Korea.
In the men’s pair, veteran rower LAW Hiu Fung joined up with younger lightweight rower WONG Wai Kin. After an excellent battle with heavier opponents and a strong finishing sprint, the Hong Kong duo took silver behind Uzbekistan and ahead of Korea.
There was a dramatic race in the final of the men’s lightweight fours as four crews sprinted side-by-side in the last 150m of the race. YUEN Yun Lam, WONG Pak Yan, CHAU Yee Ping and CHAN Tik Lun, who had been in 4th place for much of the race charged forward in the last few strokes to pass India and take the silver medal behind China. Meanwhile Uzbekistan, who had held second place for most of the race, lost control of their steering and came out of their lane – allowing India to hold on to the bronze medal.
Hopes were high for another gold medal in the men’s lightweight quad sculls with Hong Kong’s top men’s crew CHIU Hin Chun, TANG Chiu Mang, LEUNG Chun Shek and LIU Kang Yue Kenneth challenging a Chinese crew fresh from the National Games. In the preliminary round, Hong Kong had beaten China by just under 0.5s. In the final however, the Chinese crew drove away strongly into a headwind and the previous days racing in the double and lightweight men’s single took a toll on the HKSAR rowers, who had to settle for silver – well ahead of third placed Thailand.
Credit should also go to the lightweight women’s quad, lightweight women’s double and lightweight men’s single who all narrowly missed medals and finished a creditable 4th place.
Hong Kong was also represented in the Para rowing events by LAM Tin Wing, who finished 4th in the Para PR1 single.
Head Coach, Chris PERRY, commented on his team’s overall performance:-
“As expected in the year before an Asian Games, the standard of racing this year was quite high in many events. It is also a very important opportunity to see which events offer the best medal targets for our crews in 2018. We took a mixture of older experienced athletes and some young U23 rowers who are showing great promise for the future. We were of course very happy to take gold in the men’s lightweight double, as we have a long history of success in this event and it will be the only lightweight boat class for men in Tokyo 2020. The silver medals in the other events, and several close 4th place finishes, show that we are on track but still have plenty of work to do”.
The men’s lightweight quad, and LEE Ka Man in the women’s lightweight single, will now go on to race at the World Championships in Florida at the end of September.
The Hong Kong, China Rowing Association congratulates again to the successful achievements of our rowers and the coaching team!
Hong Kong, China Rowing Association
11 September, 2017