Cheng Ching Yin, Ma Kwan Ching Ready for Paris Olympics

The Windsurfing Association of Hong Kong, China (WAHK) has announced that Cheng Ching Yin and Ma Kwan Ching will be competing at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, which will begin this month. The two athletes, together with head coach Chan King Yin, Mr. Chau Ngai Man, President of the WAHK, Mr.Tony Choi Yuk Kwan MH, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Sports Institute, met the media on Thursday (4 July) to share the preparations for the competition.

The Hong Kong windsurfing team is competing in the Olympics for the 11th consecutive time since windsurfing was included in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Ma Kwan Ching, 26, won the silver medal in the women’s iQFOiL category at the Hangzhou Asian Games last year to become the top Asian qualifier for the Olympics, while 24-year-old Cheng Ching Yin secured the men’s ticket at the Last Chance Ragatta in Hyères, France in April, making it nine consecutive Olympic Games for both male and female Hong Kong athletes since the women’s category was introduced at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

In order to familiarise themselves with the geographical environment of the Paris Olympics, the Hong Kong windsurfing team has been training in Marseille since May, where the competition venue is located. Head coach Chan King Yin revealed that the scientific research team from the University of Hong Kong will collect the topography, current and wind direction data in Marseille to analyse and prepare for the races. iQFOiL will replace RS:X as the windsurfing class at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The main difference between the new and old Olympic boards is that iQFOiL is much faster than RS:X, and the requirements for athletes’ speed, physical fitness and weight are also very different. Coach Chan said that the two Olympic representatives have switched to iQFOiL training ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. After a long period of preparation, they are ready for the technical and equipment adjustments. The most important thing now is to adjust their mentality, especially as the final ranking at the Paris Olympics will be determined by the medal race, which uses an elimination system. If the athletes can get into the top 10 from the opening series, “anything is possible”.

Cheng Ching Yin and Ma Kwan Ching are both competing in the Olympics for the first time. They admitted to feeling “both nervous and excited” at the moment. Cheng Ching Yin, who won the bronze medal in the men’s iQFOiL category at the Hangzhou Asian Games last year, hopes to approach the challenge with a calm mind: “I focused too much on the results at the Hangzhou Asian Games last year, which put too much unnecessary pressure on me. The process of qualifying for the Olympic Games is not easy and I need a lot of support from the coaching staff and my teammates to improve my shortcomings. I am also learning how to adjust my mentality and rethink my original intention of getting into windsurfing. I hope to perform at my best in this Olympic, fighting for my dream and the team’s efforts at the same time.

Ma Kwan-ching, who lives in Cheung Chau, is particularly grateful for the support of her family and neighbours in Cheung Chau and vows to turn the pressure into motivation: “For the past six months, we have been in Europe to compete and train with world-class athletes, and I am more confident in my start speed and decision, hoping to use it in the Olympics. Windsurfing has always been a traditional strength of Hong Kong sports. There will definitely be pressure, but it is also an important driving force for us to break through, show our training results on the Olympic stage and bring positive energy to everyone through sportsmanship.”

The Olympic windsurfing competition will start on 28 July with the medal race on 2 August. Ching Ching Yin and coach Cheng Kwok Fai will leave for Marseille on Friday morning (5 July), while Ma Kwan Ching and head coach Chan King Yin will join them later.

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